World Heritage


Emblem of World HeritageThe first time UNESCO came to the rescue of a unique monument was when Egypt decided to build the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. The international action that followed did not only save the Abu Simbel temple complex, but triggered projects to save Borobudur, Venice and Moenjodaro.


The United States organized a White House conference in 1965 on the creation of a World Heritage Trust. This trust should seek international cooperation to protect "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature presented similar proposals in 1968. Both proposals were presented at the United Nations Conference of Human Environment that was held in Stockholm in 1972.


Both proposals were combined and finally the General Conference of UNESCO adopted The Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 16 November 1972.


Compilation of elements from World Heritage sitesIn June 2009 890 properties were inscribed on the list. These include 689 cultural, 176 natural and 25 mixed properties in 148 countries. Before a property can be added to the list, a vigorous scrutiny takes place. A site has to be of outstanding universal value and meet one of ten selection criteria. Each of the 186 States Parties can submit a proposal to include a site on the list. The sites are grouped in five geographical regions, based on the location of the nominating country. This means for instance that the site of Willemstad (Netherlands Antilles) is classified as belonging to the region Europe and North America, since it is considered part of the Netherlands.


The emblem of World Heritage was designed by the Belgian artist Michel Olyff, who also designed the emblem for International Book Year 1972. The emblem represents the interdependence of the world's natural and cultural diversity. The central square symbolizes the results of human skill and inspiration and the circle celebrates the gifts of nature. The emblem is round, like the world, a symbol of global protection for the heritage of all human kind.





The official World Heritage website from UNESCO.



Stamp catalogue - Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage


Tunisia                               14 September 1984



Stamp catalogue - World Heritage sites


Stamps depicting individual World Heritage sites can be found by choosing the country in which the site is located.







Netherlands (including Netherlands Antilles)


Portugal (including Azores)




Solomon Islands



United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Pitcairn Islands)









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last revised: 30 March 2010