World Heritage Site Elbe

As part of their project The Living Elbe, the German Environmental Aid Organisation (DUH) and the Hamburg publishers Gruner and Jahr are striving to have parts of the Elbe recognised by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. In 1998 and 1999 the project partners, supported by the German Ministry for Environmental Affairs, organised a travelling exhibition which visited many towns in Germany and Czechia to inform local people of the UNESCO requirements. Hundreds of signatures were collected in favour of a World Heritage Site. To accompany the exhibition a picture book Living Elbe was produced, which presents the vision of the UNESCO Elbe World Heritage Site in impressive pictures and texts.


In 1998 a feasibility study commissioned by the Federal Department for the Protection of the Environment was carried out by the German Environmental Aid Organisation (DUH). In 2003 the project partners organised a symposium in Hamburg with the title The Elbe UNESCO World Heritage Site a chance for economic and ecological development in the Elbe region. At the symposium a charter for the sustainable development of the region was drawn up and has since been signed by many people.


In July 2004 the Elbe water meadows in Dresden were recognised as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This was an important victory for the Living Elbe project. The Elbe Valley in Dresden now enjoys the highest possible international protection for its excellent cultural possessions and the ecologically important water meadows. Yet another region has been placed under the international protection of the UNESCO alongside the Elbe Biosphere Nature Reserve, the Gardens of Dessau-Wörlitz, the Bauhaus Sites in Dessau and the Luther Memorial Sites. Other regions of the Elbe also have World Heritage potential: Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland, the tidal mudflats (both natural heritage areas) or the Alte Land (a cultivated area).


The German Environmental Aid Organisation (DUH), Gruner & Jahr and their partners will continue to push forward with their efforts for the protection of this unique river landscape.