The Woodland Cemetery as a World Heritage

Since the competition for the South Cemetery in 1914, the Woodland Cemetery has been a well known and unique site. In 1994 it became Sweden’s 5th World Heritage, number 558 on the global list.

In 1989 the National Board of Heritage raised the question of nominating the Woodland Cemetery for the World Heritage List. After a few years of preparation with inventory, motivations and negotiations, the site was listed in 1994.

The Heritage rationale

“The Woodland Cemetery is a prominent example of how architecture and a designed cultural landscape, from the 1900’s, coalesce to a cemetery. This creation has had a profound influence on the design of cemeteries all over the world”.

Criterion (II)

“To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”.

“The creation of Swedish architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz at Skogskyrkogården established a new form of cemetery that has exerted a profound influence on cemetery design throughout the world”.

Criterion (IV)

“To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history”.

“The merits of Skogskyrkogården lie in its qualities as an early 20th century landscape and architectural design adapted to a cemetery”.

To maintain and preserve a World Heritage

The Cemetery Administration of the City of Stockholm has the formal responsibility for the Woodland Cemetery and the World Heritage. The cemetery has a World Heritage Council consisting of liable participants in the heritage work, on local and regional levels.

Together we are all responsible to ensure the preservation of the outstanding values through consideration and respect for nature and architecture.

The cemetery is particular as a World Heritage site since it is also fully operational. It is therefore of outmost importance to show care and respect for mourners attending funerals and interments, and visitors to graves and memorial ground.

World Heritages in Sweden

Sweden ratified the World Heritage Convention in 1985 and listed its first World Heritage in 1991.

  • Royal Domain of Drottningholm, Ekerö (1991)
  • Birka and Hovgården, Ekerö (1993)
  • Engelsberg Ironworks, Fagersta (1993)
  • Rock Carvings in Tanum, Västra Götaland (1994)
  • Skogskyrkogården, Stockholm (1994)
  • Hanseatic Town of Visby, Gotland (1995)
  • Laponian Area, Lappland (1996)
  • Church Town of Gammelstad, Luleå (1996)
  • Naval Port of Karlskrona (1998)
  • Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland (2000)
  • High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago, Ångermanland and Finland (2000)
  • Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun, Dalarna (2001)
  • Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg (2004)
  • Struve Geodetic Arc, Kiruna, Pajala, Övertorneå, Haparanda in Sweden and nine other countries (2005)
  • Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland, seven farms (2012)