Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Germany
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Input of excess energy
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Renewable energy facilities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Noise pollution and traffic increase;
  • Potential impacts of the Rhine crossing project;
  • Lack of a Master Plan for the sustainable development of the property.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

February 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS advisory mission; December 2012: ICOMOS advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 8 August 2012, the State Party invited an ICOMOS advisory mission to evaluate the operation of a cable car in the city of Koblenz, located in the World Heritage property. As proposed by ICOMOS, the scope of the advisory mission was broadened to also address other development issues related to the property. It took place on 13 and 14 December 2012 and the report was transmitted to the State Party on 6 February 2013.

On 1 February 2013 and 7 March 2013, in response to Decision 35 COM 7B.93 (UNESCO, 2011) and recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.87 (Brasilia, 2010), the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre its “World Heritage Master Plan – Challenges and Visions for Future Development of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley” (Masterplan Welterbe Oberes Mittelrheintal – Herausforderungen und Visionen für die zukünftige Entwicklung), which is intended to set out how the property might develop in a sustainable way while sustaining its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

On 28 March 2013, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report in response to the ICOMOS advisory mission. A supplementary brief report specifically addressing the “World Heritage Master Plan” document was prepared by the technical advisory mission on 26 February 2013. These advisory mission reports are available online at the following Web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1066/documents.

a)  Master Plan for the property

The State Party describes the “World Heritage Master Plan” document as an informal plan and political declaration of intent that relies on self-regulation and voluntary commitment by the respective stakeholders. In the Plan the present condition of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and the World Heritage property is described and analyzed, current strengths and weaknesses are pinpointed, future challenges identified, and ten visions for the future presented. The spatial analysis referenced by the World Heritage Committee in 2011 is included. A key objective of the Plan is “to clarify the prospects for the future development of the unique cultural landscape between Bingen am Rhein/Rüdesheim am Rhein and Koblenz.”

The Master Plan is not binding, but the State Party reported that there is a pledge by participants to turn the jointly identified objectives into binding specifications (formal law) and to independently implement appropriate projects and measures. The drafting of an integrated regional “implementation concept” for the Master Plan was mandated on 21 January 2013. Based on this implementation concept, it is intended to reach consensus and agreement on short-, medium- and long-term projects designed to develop the World Heritage property. The State Party draws attention to the “powerlessness” of the federal state regarding competence for planning, which lies with the relevant municipal authorities.

The advisory mission concluded that a Master Plan is needed, as the current Management Plan has proven inadequate. The process of elaboration of the Master Plan has been exemplary, according to the mission: it has taken a broadly participatory, “bottom-up” approach. Moreover, its primary value may be in the highly democratic approach taken.

The mission however considered that the Master Plan is generic, since only two of its ten “visions for the future” are specific to the property: the wish to lessen the noise caused by the railway; and the goal to create “a sense of identity and responsibility for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Area”. The mission also noted that the Master Plan would need to include a procedure for future revision to clarify the time-bound actions. Furthermore, it has been considered imperative that the implementation concept be part of the Master Plan.

The mission concluded that it is essential to clearly define in the Master Plan the World Heritage property’s importance, and especially the Plan’s position in balancing the various interests. Furthermore, procedures need to be clarified and decision-making authority defined. Clarification is also needed regarding the mutual responsibilities of the two federal states; the relationship between the Master Plan and the encircling planning regions; the ambiguity in the Plan between the World Heritage property and the larger geographical entity of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley; and terminology.

b)  New bridge across the Rhine River

The State Party confirmed on 1 February 2013 that the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate has decided to give up the plan to build a bridge across the Rhine River in the vicinity of St Goar and St Goarshausen for the remaining legislative period, which is due to end in 2016. Instead, an extended ferry service is being implemented on a probationary basis until 2016.

The mission concluded that, while the bridge project has been stopped, it could be reactivated in a changing political constellation. It therefore considered appropriate, before the problem reappears in some years, for the Master Plan to give clear advice about an acceptable form of a crossing (ferry, tunnel, bridge), based on the impact on the OUV, authenticity and integrity of the property.

c)  Cable car transportation system installed between the town of Koblenz and the fortress

The State Party stated that the purported negative impact of the temporary cable car system on the OUV, authenticity and integrity of the 65-km-long property is inconclusive, inconsistent and inadequately demonstrated. It also noted that the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate reserves the right to extend the cable car’s operation by two years, to 30 June 2016. Moreover, the State Party has requested that the temporary cable car system be allowed to remain in operation until 30 June 2026 if agreed to by the World Heritage Committee in order to allow authorities to pursue a long-term solution for barrier-free, energy-efficient access to the fortress with reduced visual impact on the cultural landscape.

The mission concluded that the cable car system constructed over the Rhine River for the 2011 National Garden Show is not compatible with the OUV of the property and harms its authenticity and integrity. The mission recommended that the cable car system be dismantled, as promised by the Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Culture in its letter to the Director of the World Heritage Centre dated 3 April 2008, and that this dismantling respect the agreed deadlines; that is, to begin in autumn 2013 and end in spring 2014.

d)  Large-scale hotel buildings contemplated for the Loreley Plateau, and the summer bobsleigh track

The State Party reported that it has requested authorities to postpone all further procedures concerning the planned hotel development on the Loreley Plateau pending a decision by the World Heritage Committee, and has advised authorities that the ICOMOS advisory mission report’s comments serve as the basis for any redevelopment.

The mission concluded that the project for three hotels on the Loreley Plateau is not compatible with the OUV of the property; in particular, the six-star hotel due to its position on the edge of the plateau and its dimensions. It would seriously alter the cultural landscape and damage its authenticity and integrity. The mission recommended stopping all associated public planning measures and informing the private investor that this project should not be implemented in its current form. However, the mission believed that a project for a smaller hotel may be possible if it complies with the development plan for the plateau that is currently being prepared, particularly regarding location, size and architectural quality.

The mission likewise concluded that the summer bobsleigh track on the Loreley Plateau is not compatible with the OUV of the property, since it would considerably alter the cultural landscape and negatively impact its authenticity and integrity. The mission therefore recommended refusing the final permit for the bobsleigh track, ensuring that the parts already installed are dismantled, and returning the site to its previous state.

e)  Alternative energy production installations such as wind turbines and pump storage stations

The State Party reported that a draft partial update of the federal state development plan on wind energy specifies that wind turbines will not be allowed within the boundaries of the property. They could be allowed within the buffer zone; however, only where the property’s OUV would not be impaired, based on a sightlines study due to be completed in May 2013. A moratorium exists in the meantime. According to the State Party’s report, the authority responsible for the pump-storage hydroelectric plant has been informed that World Heritage considerations must be taken into account and that the federal state will inform the World Heritage Centre on developments.

The mission concluded that, while no definite projects for energy production installations are pending within the property or its buffer zone, the evolution of such projects can nevertheless be dynamic and should therefore be closely monitored, and the World Heritage Centre be informed if such projects are proposed. The mission also recommended completing the sightlines study, with the goal of ensuring that no wind turbines are visible from the property, and submitting it to the World Heritage Committee for consideration.

f)  Noise from the railway

The mission confirmed that noise from the railway heavily affects the quality of life of inhabitants and the experience of visitors to the property. The mission recommended that efforts to reduce noise in the most effective and sensitive way be reinforced. The mission cautioned against sporadic measures leading to unsightly solutions such as noise-protection walls. It suggested that short-term solutions – including improvements to the technical infrastructure, noise-reduction of vehicles, and further organisational measures – be realised while also developing a long-term solution such as another rail transport corridor.

Concerning noise from the railway, the State Party reported that the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate calls on UNESCO and ICOMOS to continue supporting its efforts to induce the federal government and the national railway company to take responsibility for and within the World Heritage property. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in developing the “World Heritage Master Plan” document, and in particular the exemplary participatory process used in its elaboration. They recommend that the Committee request the State Party to refine the Master Plan to clearly define the World Heritage property’s importance, and the Plan’s position in balancing the various interests; to complete the “implementation concept”; to include a procedure for future revision; and to clarify procedures, authorities, responsibilities, ambiguities and terminology. Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend to the Committee to request that the Master Plan provides for a clear definition of an acceptable form of river crossing (ferry, tunnel, bridge), based on the impact on the OUV, authenticity and integrity of the property.

 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are of the view that the cable car transportation system between the town of Koblenz and the fortress, the large-scale hotel buildings contemplated for the Loreley Plateau, and the summer bobsleigh track on the Loreley Plateau are not compatible with the OUV of the property, and would negatively impact its authenticity and integrity. They also stress that the cable car system and bobsleigh track should be dismantled, and approval be denied for the large-scale hotel buildings. They however suggest to the Committee to recommend that viable possibilities for a smaller-scale redevelopment of the Loreley Plateau be discussed by the State Party, the Advisory Bodies and all stakeholders. They also recommend the Committee to request the State Party to closely monitor the situation related to alternative energy production installations such as wind turbines and pump storage stations, and complete the related sightlines study and submit it to the World Heritage Committee; and encourage the State Party to reinforce efforts to reduce the noise from the railway in the most effective and sensitive way.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7B.75
Upper Middle Rhine Valley (Germany) (C 1066)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.87, 35 COM 7B.93 and 35 COM 8E , adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) sessions respectively,

3.  Notes the State Party’s decision not to pursue the plan to construct a bridge across the Rhine River in the vicinity of St Goar and St Goarshausen for the remaining legislative period, which is due to end in 2016, and to implement an extended ferry service on a trial basis until 2016 instead;

4.  Also notes the recommendations of the ICOMOS advisory mission carried out to the property in December 2012;

5.  Welcomes the progress made in developing the “World Heritage Master Plan” document, and in particular the exemplary participatory process used in its elaboration, and requests the State Party to refine the Master Plan in order to:

a)  clearly define the World Heritage property’s importance, and the Master Plan’s position in balancing the various interests,

b)  complete the “implementation concept”, and include a procedure for future revision,

c)  clarify procedures, authorities, responsibilities, and terminology, and

d)  provide for a clear definition of an acceptable form of river crossing (ferry, tunnel, bridge), based on the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6.  Recommends that the State Party:

a)  dismantle the cable car system between the town of Koblenz and the fortress Ehrenbreitstein by 30 June 2026 at the latest,

b)  refuse the final permit for the bobsleigh track on the Loreley Plateau, dismantle the bobsleigh track, and rehabilitate the site to its previous state,

c)  deny approval for the large-scale hotel buildings contemplated for the Loreley Plateau;

7.  Encourages the State Party to consider viable solutions for a smaller-scale redevelopment of the Loreley Plateau in consultation with the Advisory Bodies and all stakeholders;

8.  Also requests the State Party to closely monitor the situation related to alternative energy production installations such as wind turbines and pump storage stations, complete the related sightlines study, and submit this study to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;

9.  Also encourages the State Party to reinforce efforts to reduce the noise from the railway in the most effective and sensible way;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Draft Decision:  37 COM 7B.75

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.87, 35 COM 7B.93 and 35 COM 8E, adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 35th (UNESCO, 2011) sessions respectively,

3.  Notes the State Party’s decision not to pursue the plan to construct a bridge across the Rhine River in the vicinity of St Goar and St Goarshausen for the remaining legislative period, which is due to end in 2016, and to implement an extended ferry service on a trial basis until 2016 instead;

4.  Also notes the recommendations of the ICOMOS advisory mission carried out to the property in December 2012;

5.  Welcomes the progress made in developing the “World Heritage Master Plan” document, and in particular the exemplary participatory process used in its elaboration, and requests the State Party to refine the Master Plan in order to:

a)  clearly define the World Heritage property’s importance, and the Master Plan’s position in balancing the various interests,

b)  complete the “implementation concept”, and include a procedure for future revision,

c)  clarify procedures, authorities, responsibilities, and terminology, and

d)  provide for a clear definition of an acceptable form of river crossing (ferry, tunnel, bridge), based on the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6.  Recommends that the State Party:

a)  dismantle, as previously agreed, the cable car system between the town of Koblenz and the fortress Ehrenbreitstein,

b)  refuse the final permit for the bobsleigh track on the Loreley Plateau, dismantle the bobsleigh track, and rehabilitate the site to its previous state,

c)  deny approval for the large-scale hotel buildings contemplated for the Loreley Plateau;

7.  Encourages the State Party to consider viable solutions for a smaller-scale redevelopment of the Loreley Plateau in consultation with the Advisory Bodies and all stakeholders;

8.  Also requests the State Party to closely monitor the situation related to alternative energy production installations such as wind turbines and pump storage stations, complete the related sightlines study, and submit this study to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;

9.  Also encourages the State Party to reinforce efforts to reduce the noise from the railway in the most effective and sensible way;

10.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

 

Report year: 2013
Germany
Date of Inscription: 2002
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 37COM (2013)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


top