1.         Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (Netherlands) (C 1349)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2010

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Advertising policy;

b) Charter of good building conduct with commercial sector;

c) Examination of building permits and conservation objectives;

d) Tall buildings control;

e) Development projects;

f) Data concerning the number of inhabitants and surface. 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 27 January 2011, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report addressing the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee made at its 34th session, at the time of inscription.

a) Advertising

The State Party reports that a more austere policy on advertising on scaffolding wraps was introduced on 1 October 2009 and came fully into effect in July 2010. The new rules ban this form of advertising around Dam Square and, since 1 September 2010, on canal and square-facing elevations at corner junctions, but allows up to 50% of surface area coverage elsewhere (down from 100%), with the remaining area of the wraps illustrating the underlying building façade. Along with other restrictions, the State Party indicates that the number of scaffold wrap adverts has been reduced by almost 50% over the two years since the policy was introduced.

The State Party also reports that a new policy on façade advertising was introduced on 27 November 2008 and, by 1 January 2011, grants amounting to a total of 217,989 EUR have been given by the district council to assist entrepreneurs and owners in dealing with undesirable façade advertising and ensuring compliance with the rules. Inspections are carried out to ensure compliance with the rules and, if necessary, to take enforcement action where default is found.

b) Charter of Good Conduct

The State Party considers that the suggestion to create a charter of good conduct between the city and the commercial sector, defining what is allowed and what is not with regard to the treatment of buildings, is already addressed by the Amsterdam Central Borough through existing regulations, land use plans, and policy documents for buildings, including the General Municipal Ordinance and the Manual on the Development and Redevelopment of the Public Space, as well as through local consultations and meetings with a wide range of interested parties.

c) Building permits and conservation objectives

The State Party indicates that the Amsterdam Central Borough confirms that conservation objectives are, and will, remain paramount when applications for building permits are examined.

d) Tall buildings

The State Party reports that the publication “High-rise construction in Amsterdam” was scheduled for adoption by the Amsterdam Council on 16 February 2011 as a section of the (draft) Structural Concept 2040.

In addition, the State Party reports that in January 2010 the Municipal Executive decided to add a special guideline on high-rises, as a separate policy document, to the new (draft) Structural Concept 2040 for Amsterdam where a High-Rise Impact Report is now compulsory for building initiatives above 30 metres in height. This is mandatory in the World Heritage Site and its buffer zone, in a 2km extra buffer zone outside the Singelgracht, and in the National and Municipal Protected Cityscapes under consideration outside the city centre.

e) Development projects

The State Party indicates that the Amsterdam Central Borough will inform the World Heritage Committee of any development project within the property, its buffer zone and surroundings.

f) Surface area of the property and buffer zone

The requested information on the surface area of the property and its buffer zone has been provided by the State Party in a report sent on 16 December 2010.

g) Other issues

The World Heritage Centre has been informed by the civil society about the decision of the authorities to remove a painted electricity sub-station at Johnny Jordaanplein and has asked the State Party for comments in August 2010. In January 2011 the State Party confirmed that the decision has been taken within the framework of necessary restructuring of a street where the substation stands and following proper consultation with local residents. The substation will be relocated in an existing building on Elandsgracht Street. According to the State Party, the relocation will restore views along the canals.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the development of control initiatives as additional safety mechanisms to keep open sightlines to and from the city centre.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recognise the work done for exercising a tighter control over advertising on scaffold wraps and building facades, and take note of the emerging achievements on the latter. But they are of the opinion that, albeit temporary, continuing to allow up to 50% of the surface area of some scaffold wraps to be covered by adverts is still much too large, that this will still excessively dominate the cityscape where deployed and that this significantly detracts from the more sensible intention of offering a virtual representation of the underlying structure whilst accommodating basic health and safety needs during work in progress. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also note the decision to remove the painted electricity sub-station at Johnny Jordaanplein, and to relocate it from the Historic Area of Willemstadcate to an existing building on Elandsgracht Street.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.100

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 8B.30, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Urges the State Party to give further consideration to the revised policy that continues to allow up to 50% of surface area advertising on some scaffold wraps, with a view to stopping the practice and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed;

4. Acknowledges the steps and initiatives being taken to continue to keep open sightlines to and from the city centre against the intrusion of tall buildings;

5. Also requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Committee about any development project within the property, its buffer zone and surroundings, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Welcomes the decision to remove the painted electricity sub-station at Johnny Jordaanplei, and to relocate it in an existing building on Elandsgracht Street.