World Heritage
Project versus World Heritage status

The project of „Waldschlößchenbrücke“ is absolutely incompatible with the purpose of the World Heritage Site Convention.

According to paragraph 1 of the World Heritage Convention, as a cultural landscape, the Dresden Elbe valley is part of the heritage of mankind. It conforms to the criteria (i) to (iv). After the bombing of WWII the area was recovered or, with persevering commitment conserved, and it incarnates a concentration of beauty. Dresden has to be contemplated from the Elbe meadows. After the destruction, only here one can feel the often cited „triad of city, hills and river“.

Whereas the planned Elbe crossing was mentioned in the World Heritage application documents only briefly as posing a slight interference to the residential and natural scenery, two preliminary reports by ICOMOS have warned against serious interference with the characteristic local scenery and against the endangerment of the often-praised „distant effect of city and river“ through construction of this traffic facility.

The independent Visual Impact Study, presented by „Rheinisch-Westfaelische Hochschule Aachen“ in March 2006 (8 MB), confirms the incompatibility of the project, „Waldschloesschenbruecke“, with the integrity of Dresden‘s World Heritage.

Unique Landscape

The planned construction site for the new bridge project is located to cut across the core and development zone of the World Heritage area. It is three kilometres upstream from the city centre, the city‘s most impressive part of the River Elbe Valley for which the World Heritage Award had been granted in the first place.

At the soft bow of the river, the floodplain stands vis-à-vis the Elbe hills, the view down the river is of the city centre and upstream is of a receding mountainous terrain. The popular „Waldschloesschen view“ is one of those precious few outlooks which give one an idea of the location of the city within the landscape. On the one hand, it is characterized by generous space, and on the other hand, measured by its human scale.

Without any doubt, the view from the lookout pavilion over the fluvial topography and the towers of historic Dresden is among the gems of this landscape. Artful urban architecture, landscape and river unite into a fascinating overall picture.

However, the view to the east, over the great river bow with forests, vines, castles and country houses in the Loschwitz- Pillnitz Elbe hills, is unique. Looking directly to the south, the view is bordered by the well-greened quarter, „Johannstadt“. Behind this scene, gentle ridges lead the eye up to the picturesque peaks of the „Erzgebirge“, with its 900 m high mountains.

Yet another picture arises from the opposite Elbe bank. Here it is a direct perspective to the Elbe hills rising immediately behind the river, with their various vine terraces and carefully inserted architectural monuments. Towards the city centre, the Elbe hills scenery gradually recedes, blending into a horizon of green seams, mansions and towers. From here, the girth of the valley can be deeply felt as an invitation to use this area of unspoiled nature for recreation.

Not only artists and architects appreciate the value of the landscape views at the „Waldschloesschen“, but also the citizens of Dresden have discovered its inestimable value. On November 9th, 1900, Dresden City Council passed a local building law, which for the „Waldschloesschen“ meadows determines a building ban in perpetuity.

In the constitution of the city of Dresden in 1996 the Elbe hills, inclusive the „Waldschloesschen“ area, classified as historical monuments, were put under protection as follows: „in European cities unique and not reproducible artistic town planning situation in its relevance forming the cityscape“. Object of the protection is the appearance of the Elbe hills: „the protection conduces to the conservation of landscape situation“.

Thus, the widest part of the Elbe floodplains, which is located under the „Waldschloesschen“, is still frequented every day by thousands of promenaders, cyclists, tourists and people from the nearby residential areas, seeking respite and recovery. They settle down in the meadows, read, paint and observe the water birds, the passing by of the steamers and the grazing of the sheep. Children play at the water, passers-by ferry across the river, and kites fly. The undeveloped Elbe meadows are a valuable natural hideaway and are, at the same time, the most popular recreation area for the inhabitants of Dresden.