The Nordic World Heritage Association founded in Thingvellir, Iceland

Since 1995 the Nordic World Heritage sites have met annually to share their experiences in implementing the World Heritage Convention. The 20-year tradition has shown that competence and capacity building is best achieved through international cooperation and by learning from each other.

In September 23rd 2016 a new step was taken when the Nordic World Heritage Association was founded in Iceland. The founding document was signed in Thingvellir, World Heritage site whose tradition as a place of covenant between free people goes as far as 930 CE.

The purpose of the association is to contribute to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention through continual competence and capacity building.

Petteri Takkula from Suomenlinna and Kari Hallantie from Kvarken Archipelago signing the founding paper of the association at Thingvellir.

John A. Bryde, the first chairman of the association commented the founding:

”The whole idea with the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage list is that our common heritage can best be protected by the shared responsibility amongst the nations. Cooperation is one of the key-words for success. Today the World Heritage list consists of 1052 sites in 165 countries. 37 of the sites are situated in the Nordic countries where we already have a long tradition of working together. We strongly believe that our work within the association will lead to a network of ever more closely cooperating sites that can make good use of various types of funding opportunities for their common projects.



The first board of the Nordic World Heritage Association from left to right: Jussi Telaranta (Old Rauma, Finland), Camilla Lugnet (Grimeton Radio Station, Sweden), Petteri Takkula (Suomenlinna, Finland), Odd Sletten (Røros, Norway), John A. Bryde, chairman (Norges Verdensarv, Norway), David Høyer (Roskilde , Denmark), Einar Sæmundsen (Þingvellir, Iceland), Ólafur Jónsson (Surtsey, Iceland), and Lena Landström (Hälsingegårdarna, sweden). Birgitte Sidenius Bjerg Lamp (Christiansfeld, Denmark) is missing in the picture.

World Heritage Convention

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage , adopted by UNESCO in 1972. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althing, an open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland, was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Over two weeks a year, the assembly set laws - seen as a covenant between free men - and settled disputes. The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland. The property includes the Þingvellir National Park and the remains of the Althing itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone. Remains from the 10th century are thought to be buried underground. The site also includes remains of agricultural use from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park shows evidence of the way the landscape was husbanded over 1,000 years.

More information:

John A. Bryde, Chairman of the Nordic World Heritage Association, john.a.bryde@norgesverdensarv.no

Kari Hallantie, Metsähallitus, Pohjanmaan luontopalvelut, kari.hallantie@metsa.fi

Kenth Nedergård, Världsrvet i Kvarken rf, kenth.nedergard@kvarken.fi 

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