Home #WHERETONEXT Europe Germany’s new additions to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Germany’s new additions to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Darmstadt: St. Mary Magdalene
Darmstadt: St. Mary Magdalene, Photo: GNTB/ Francesco Carovillano

The international recognition of Germany as the number 1 cultural travel destination in Europe receives a further impetus from the latest decisions of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The health resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen, along with eight other locations, have also been awarded the World Heritage title as “Major Spa Cities in Europe.”

Artists’ Colony Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt

The Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony, founded in 1899 by the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, was one of the most important centers of modern art and architecture in Europe and the world from the turn of the century until the beginning of the First World War. Young architects and artists were able to cultivate their ideas in this field of experimentation and build a bridge from Art Nouveau to New Objectivity, which ultimately became a major source of inspiration for the Bauhaus movement.

The Wedding Tower designed by the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, today a landmark of the city of Darmstadt and an excellent vantage point over the entire Rhine-Main plain, is part of the collection. In the central studio building, works by the former 23 members of the artist colony are presented in a permanent exhibit. Eye-catchers in the extensive park with grove and numerous sculptures are also the Russian chapel and the lily pool. In the surrounding residential area, the artists’ villas give an impression of the spirit of optimism at the beginning of the 20th century.

Important Spa towns in Europe

Health resorts around mineral springs have far more than a medical significance in Europe: The spa culture experienced its pinnacle between 1700 and the 1930s. During that time, urban ensembles were created that provided the architectural framework for recreation, culture and social life. Eleven European locations in seven countries make up the transnational project ‘Important spa towns in Europe’, which has now been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Germany, the health resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen have been added to the list.

The current GNTB campaign German.Spa.Tradition. focuses on the more than 350 rated spa and medicinal baths in Germany, their cultural tradition and the health-promoting applications and wellbeing offers. In 2019 pre-Covid-19, Germany recorded 8.4 million international overnight stays in health resorts which comprised nine percent of the total incoming volume. As a result of the pandemic, interest in wellbeing and health vacations has increased significantly.