1.         Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany) (C 1156)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2006-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Four-lane bridge construction project in the core zone of the World Heritage property

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Halting of the bridge project

Corrective measures identified

a) Discussions with all stakeholders to find alternative solutions so as to ensure the safeguarding of the outstanding universal value of the property;

b) Review without delay the projects in the core zone taking into account the results of the visual impact study.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

a) Discussion with stakeholders from July 2006 to February 2008;

b) Review of projects in the core zone: ongoing until a solution is found.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1156/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1156/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

September 2006: World Heritage Centre mission to the Cultural Committee of the German Parliament,; November 2006: World Heritage Centre mission to the Court in Bautzen February 2008: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reinforced monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Four-lane bridge construction project in the core zone of the World Heritage property

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1156/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

Application of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism at the property since 2007 (31 COM 7A.32)

At the request of the State Party and the city authorities a Reinforced Monitoring Mission to the Dresden Elbe Valley was carried out on 4 and 5 February 2008. The mission was organized, in consultation with the authorities of the State Party, in the context of the decisions taken by the World Heritage Committee over the past two years regarding the possible adverse impact of a proposed bridge on the river Elbe on the outstanding universal value of the property (see Decisions 30 COM 7B.77 and 31 COM 7A.27). The proposed bridge was to be constructed within the core zone of the World Heritage property, near the so-called Waldschlösschen area.

The mission noted that construction works on the Waldschlösschen Bridge had already started, following the basic design of the original project which had been granted building permission by the Regional Council, and which had been presented for evaluation to UNESCO, except for some modifications. On 5 February 2008, excavations were ongoing to lay the foundations of the bridge, while existing sewerage pipes buried under ground were being diverted. At the same time, works were underway on the northern bank of the Elbe to realise the section of the tunnel which is supposed to link the bridge with the Bautzner Street. According to the architect, the foundations of the bridge should be completed by June 2008. In this regard, the mission considers that the modifications made to the original design of the bridge, while testifying to a genuine attempt to make it less intrusive, do not change the fundamental concept of the proposed construction that is its overall shape, size, function and location. In other words, given the scale at which the impact of the bridge on the World Heritage property of the Dresden Elbe Valley would have to be assessed (i.e. that of the landscape), the solution which is now being implemented does not seem to alter significantly the terms of the question debated by the World Heritage Committee already at its 30th and 31st sessions in 2006 and 2007.

The mission came to the following conclusions:

a) The solution of the Elbe crossing which is being implemented would, when completed, have a considerable negative and irreversible impact on the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property. This would result from an encroachment upon the integrity of the cultural landscape whose harmonious and picturesque combination of urban and natural features has been carefully preserved over the centuries-long history of the City of Dresden.

b) The implementation of an alternative solution based on a tunnel, which was discussed with the Dresden authorities during the mission, would appear to have a considerably smaller impact on the Elbe Valley cultural landscape. For such an alternative, an impact assessment would be required in order to fully understand the visual, technical and environmental implications of the project. The mission recommended that the ongoing construction of the foundation pillars be stopped in order not to prejudge the possibility of the choice of an alternative solution.

c) Concerning an alternative bridge design, the mission noted that the required new planning procedure for a different bridge would have the same negative financial and timing consequences as a tunnel, while the result in terms of negative impact on the integrity and outstanding universal value on the World Heritage property would very likely be comparable to those of the present bridge.

The detailed mission report (see https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2008) was provided to the State Party authorities for comments and the Reinforced Monitoring Report was transmitted to the Members of the World Heritage Committee (see https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2008). 

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.26

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 7B.77 and 31 COM 7A.27 adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively, and in particular its concern that the construction project of the Waldschlösschen Bridge would irreversibly damage the values and integrity of the property in accordance with Paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines,

3. Notes with satisfaction that the State Party invited a Reinforced Monitoring mission to review the bridge construction project and any alternative solutions;

4. Also notes the report provided by the Reinforced Monitoring mission of February 2008 confirming that the current bridge project would irreversibly damage the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property;

5. Regrets the fact that the authorities, having allowed the construction works to proceed, have seriously compromised the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6. Expresses its deep concern that the work planned will irreversibly damage the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property;

7. Strongly requests the State Party to immediately halt the current construction works and restore the property to its former state of conservation;

8. Strongly urges the State Party to reconsider the alternative tunnel option;


9. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism to the property and requests the State Party to provide progress reports as relevant;

10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by             1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including a progress report on the implementation of the issues above-mentioned, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009 ;

11. Further decides to retain the Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany) on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with the deletion of this property from the World Heritage List at its 33rd session in 2009, if the planned works on the bridge continue and the damage already caused is not reversed.