Decision : 39 COM 8B.25
Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus, Germany
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC-15/39.COM/8B and WHC-15/39.COM/INF.8B1,
- Inscribes Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus, Germany, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criterion (iv);
- Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus district are two densely built central urban areas in the German port city of Hamburg. Speicherstadt, originally developed on a 1.1-km-long group of narrow islands in the Elbe River between 1885 and 1927 (and partly rebuilt from 1949 to 1967), is one of the largest unified historic port warehouse complexes in the world. The adjacent Kontorhaus district is a cohesive, densely built area featuring eight mainly very large office complexes that were built from the 1920s to the 1950s to house businesses engaged in port-related activities. Together, these neighbouring districts represent an outstanding example of a combined warehouse-office district associated with a port city. Speicherstadt, the “city of warehouses,” includes 15 very large warehouse blocks that are inventively historicist in appearance but advanced in their technical installations and equipment, as well as six ancillary buildings and a connecting network of streets, canals and bridges. Anchored by the iconic Chilehaus, the Kontorhaus district’s massive office buildings stand out for their early Modernist brick-clad architecture and their unity of function. The Chilehaus, Messberghof, Sprinkenhof, Mohlenhof, Montanhof, former Post Office Building at Niedernstrasse 10, Kontorhaus Burchardstrasse 19-21 and Miramar-Haus attest to architectural and city-planning concepts that were emerging in the early 20th century. The effects engendered by the rapid growth of international trade at the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century are illustrated by the outstanding examples of buildings and ensembles that are found in these two functionally complementary districts.
Criterion (iv): Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus contains outstanding examples of the types of buildings and ensembles that epitomize the consequences of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their high-quality designs and functional construction, in the guise of historicism and Modernism, respectively, make this an exceptional ensemble of maritime warehouses and Modernist office buildings.
Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district contain all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the buildings, spaces, structures, and waterways that epitomize the consequences of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that illustrate the property’s high-quality designs and functional construction. The 26.08-ha property is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey the property’s significance, and it does not suffer from adverse effects of development or neglect.
Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus district is substantially authentic in its location and setting, its forms and designs, and its materials and substances. The maritime location is unchanged, though considerable changes have been made to the adjacent urban setting. Speicherstadt was significantly damaged during the Second World War, but this has not reduced the ability to understand the value of the property. The forms and designs of the property as a whole, as well as its materials and substances, have largely been maintained. The function of the Kontorhaus district has also been maintained. The links between the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and its attributes are therefore truthfully expressed, and the attributes fully convey the value of the property.
Protection and management requirements
The property, which is owned by a combination of public and private interests, is within an area listed in the Hamburg Conservation Registry. Speicherstadt was listed under the Hamburg Heritage Protection Act in 1991 and the Kontorhaus district was listed under the Act in 1983 and 2003. The Act, by means of a 2012 amendment, includes a duty to comply with the World Heritage Convention. The competent authority for compliance with the Act is the Department for Heritage Preservation at the Regional Ministry of Culture in Hamburg, which is advised by a Heritage Council of experts, citizens, and institutions. A Management Plan aimed at safeguarding the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity, and integrity of the property, and protecting its buffer zone, entered into force in 2013.
The long-term and sustainable safeguarding of Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district will require preserving the historic buildings, the characteristic overall impact of the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus ensembles, and their typical appearance within the townscape; maintaining or improving the quality of life of the residents of Hamburg by safeguarding a unique testimony to Hamburg’s cultural and historical development, which played a key role in establishing its identity; and raising awareness and disseminating information.
- Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
- Extending in the future the boundaries of the buffer zone in the Cremon-Insel area to become an integral component of the State Party’s commitment to ensure the protection, conservation, and management of the property, and to be officially included in the property’s overall management system;
- Expanding the management system to include risk preparedness and visitor/tourism plans that ensure the attributes that support the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity, and integrity are sustained;
- Revising the key indicators of the state of conservation to better relate to the attributes that convey Outstanding Universal Value, and developing and implementing a monitoring system to determine whether the goals set are being achieved;
- Carrying out heritage impact assessments in Speicherstadt before any alterations are approved and implemented, in accordance with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties.