World Heritage

Ett stort granitkors med en höjd med almträd i bakgrunden.
The Granite Cross. Photo: Susanne Hallmann.

A world heritage can be a place, a location, an environment or an object that bears unique witness to the history of the world or humankind.

In 1989, the Stockholm cemetery committee received an inquiry as to whether they wanted to nominate the Skogskyrkogården to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The inquiry was unique, as a World Heritage Site comprises cultural or natural heritage that is considered to be of great importance to humanity. 

No one had imagined that something from the twentieth century would be considered worthy of such an accolade. The additional fact that this something was a cemetery added to the remarkable nature of it all. And what would be the reaction if the Skogskyrkogården was declared a World Heritage rather than another prominent cemetery such as Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC or Père Lachaise in Paris?

The sceptics were soon silenced. In 1994, the World Heritage Committee decided to make the Skogskyrkogården number 558 on the World Heritage List. This made it only the second cultural heritage site from the twentieth century. All other cultural heritage sites are considerably older. Any property with a prestigious inscription on the World Heritage List is guaranteed its protection and conservation for all time.