1.         Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (Austria) (C 786)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (i)(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/786/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/786/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

March 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/786/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

In 2005, it was communicated to the World Heritage Committee that the responsible planning authority of the City of Vienna decided to stop the high-rise project of Kometgründe-Meidling, and to support the development of the area through smaller scale projects. In March 2006, a joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission reviewed the state of conservation of the property. The State Party had also provided a letter to the World Heritage Centre on 16 June 2006 which stated that “based on the discussions during the joint UNESCO / ICOMOS mission, the project has been revised in the meantime (beginning of June 2006). Following the ideas of the investors, the project will now be built at a much lower height (maximum 60 metres).” The World Heritage Committee noted with appreciation the decision by the Vienna authorities to stop the high-rise Kometgründe-Meidling project, as well as the results of the joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission in March 2006.

However, the State Party by letter of 29 May 2007 presented contradictory information about the height of the new structure; it notes on the one hand that the new project (main structure 60 meters) was presented to the 30th session of the Committee in July 2006 and refers to a project folder including “all the details of the current state of the project which showed that the main structure (60m) has three additional levels on top”. The letter also noted that “the presented project was taken note of by the members of the World Heritage Committee without any objections”, without specifying which project height was understood to be under consideration. The same letter noted that the structure was further raised in autumn 2006 to 73 m “for proportion and artistic reasons”.

By the end of 2007, the World Heritage Centre was informed by private citizens and NGOs that the project height was set at 73 to 78 m.

In response to queries from the World Heritage Centre, the State Party noted by letter of 1 February 2008, that it had “not made any changes regarding the height of buildings in the “Kometgründe” project in Vienna’s district of Meidling since spring 2007, which means that the absolute building height of 73 metres, as outlined in the letter by UNESCO of 10 January 2008, will remain valid.” By letter of 7 Febuary 2008, ICOMOS Austria reminded the State Party that the World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Mission in March 2006 agreed on an “outmost height” of 60 meters. The letter noted that while “the building would also appear clearly with this height”, that nevertheless “this would be within a tolerable scale”.

This letter also noted that in order to evaluate the visual impact of a building with a height greater than 60 m, it would be necessary to refer to the visualisations produced in March 2006. This should be possible with little technical effort as basic data is already available.

ICOMOS strongly believes that the integrity and authenticity of a baroque complex such as the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn which dominates its surroundings with view axes and was laid out on the basis of certain symmetry are seriously affected by modern interventions in the form of high-rise buildings. Therefore, by exceeding the agreed height of 60 metres, this structure threatens the outstanding universal value of the property.

Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS strongly believe that the height of the planned new structure, as proposed by the State Party, exceeds the height of 60 metres reported by the State Party to the World Heritage Committee in 2006, and therefore, that the State Party has not upheld the commitment it made to the World Heritage Committee in 2006, to limit the height of this building. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS believe that the State Party should be requested to halt the project, until such time as impact visualisation tests to measure the impact of the proposed new structure on the World Heritage property and its outstanding universal value, can be arranged, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, and the results of these tests have been reported back to the World Heritage Committee. 

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.83

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Expresses its deep concern that the project plans for the new Kometgründe-Meidling structure suggest that its height exceeds the 60 metres which the State Party had agreed to maintain in June 2006;

4. Requests the State Party to halt the project immediately and to submit as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS visual studies in order to review the potential impacts of the proposed structure (73 - 78 m) on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit a report to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009, on its efforts to respond to the issues above, including the results of the visual impact assessment, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8B.75

The World Heritage Committee,

Decides that Decision 32 COM 8B.75 will be discussed at its 33rd session in 2009.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 11A.2 and 31 COM 11A.2, adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively,

3. Recalls that, as decided at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) by Decision 31 COM 11A.2, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

4. Congratulates States Parties in the European Region and the States Parties of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia on the excellent work accomplished in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List,

5. Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and sizes provided by the following States Parties in the European and Arab Regions in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D:

6. Requests the European and Arab States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in 2005, 2006 and 2007 within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all requested clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2008 at the latest.