Decision : 32 COM 8B.31
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Fortifications of Vauban (FRANCE)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Fortifications of Vauban, France, with the exception of Le Palais and Bazoches, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (i), (ii), and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The work of Vauban constitutes a major contribution to universal military architecture. It crystallises earlier strategic theories into a rational system of fortifications based on a concrete relationship to territory. It bears witness to the evolution of European fortification in the 17th century and produced models used all over the world up to the mid-19th century, thereby illustrating a significant period of history.

Criterion (i): Vauban's work bears witness to the peak of classic bastioned fortification, typical of western military architecture of modern times.

Criterion (ii): Vauban played a major role in the history of fortification. The imitation of his standard-models of military buildings in Europe and on the American continent, the dissemination in Russian and Turkish of his theoretical thinking along with the use of the forms of his fortification as a model for fortresses in the Far East, bear witness to the universality of his work.

Criterion (iv): Vauban's work illustrates a significant period of human history. It is a work of the mind applied to military strategy, architecture and construction, civil engineering, and economic and social organisation.

The property guarantees integrity and authenticity, and reflect the various facets of Vauban's work. Their legal protection is satisfactory; the administration by the State and the local authorities provides satisfactory guarantees and responses regarding the natural and tourism risks involved. Pooling experience in the areas of restoration and enhancement of the properties within the Network of Major Vauban Sites has already begun.

4. Recommends that the State Party develop collaboration between the properties notably through the Network of Major Vauban Sites, by exchanging best practices in the areas of maintenance, restoration, use and conservation;

5. Further recommends that the State Party consider the possibility of extending the property to include sites such as:

  • a) the Lille citadel, considered as the most representative of this type;
  • b) a stronghold fully reflecting the reorganisation of an existing fortification and the use of water for defence, such as Le Quesnoy;
  • c) other sites to include examples of the fortifications under the influence of Vauban, as a transnational serial nomination.
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: France
Year: 2008
Decision Code: 32 COM 8B.31