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The next step towards UNESCO World Heritage status has been taken

28 September 2021

It is a truly communal project and, at the same time, one that everybody involved is whole-heartedly committed to. In submitting the “Sites of Meissen Porcelain” application documents, the Meissen State Porcelain Manufactory, the Meissen Porcelain Foundation, State Palaces, Castles and Gardens and the city of Meissen are seeking to participate in the Saxon evaluation process in the context of 

additions to be made to Germany’s tentative list of cultural heritage asset nominations for the UNESCO list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites. The requisite documents were sent to the Saxon State Ministry for Regional Development on 31 March 2021. The Federal-State Office for Listed-Building Conservation set up an interdisciplinary commission that toured the cultural heritage sites in person with a view to assessing the proposals submitted.

Bearing in mind the criteria for determining extraordinary universal value adopted in the world heritage selection process, the commission concluded its meeting by recommending that the Saxon cabinet forward candidates in the following order of priority to the Conference of Ministers of Culture in October 2021:

  • The Göltzsch Valley Bridge
  • Sites of Meissen Porcelain
  • Graditz Stud: A 19th-century stud landscape

The cabinet today (28 September 2021) endorsed the unanimous vote taken by the assessment commission. Following evaluation by an international expert advisory panel in 2022, the Conference of Ministers of Culture will finalise the new tentative list in 2023 and submit it to UNESCO on 1 February 2024.

The Sites of Meissen Porcelain are being entered as an outstanding example of a European porcelain manufactory and comprise two constituents: a) Albrechtsburg Castle, in which Europe’s first porcelain manufactory was established in 1710, and, b), the new manufactory erected between 1861-65 at Meissen-Triebischtal for the specific purpose of producing porcelain and which superseded Albrechtsburg Castle. The Meissen Manufactory is the first and oldest porcelain works in Europe and has set technological and design benchmarks for all subsequent porcelain factories. As well as laying the groundwork for the production of porcelain throughout Europe, the Meissen Manufactory also lastingly influenced European porcelain art and culture in the 18th century and beyond despite the aspirations of competing potteries and has, indeed, continued to do so for more than three centuries. The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory became a trendsetter for the entire sphere of dining culture in Europe during the late Baroque period. Laying dining tables with porcelain became the norm. The significance of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory for porcelain production, art and culture in Europe can be compared to the pre-eminent role played by the centres of porcelain production in China and Japan, at Jingdezhen and Arita respectively.

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