What is world heritage?
In 2015, the par force hunting landscape in North Zealand was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. But what does this actually mean?
World heritage is defined as natural or cultural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value. This often refers to buildings, cities, natural sites or cultural landscapes. For example, the Great Wall of China and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia are among more than 1000 sites worldwide that have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
To be added to the list, a nominated site must meet UNESCO’s inclusion criteria. It must also be authentic and well preserved. The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand, for example, meets the criteria that in order to be of Outstanding Universal Value, a cultural landscape must “exhibit an important interchange of human values on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”.
The country in which a landscape, building or natural site in located nominates it for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The nomination must detail how the country intends to protect and manage the heritage site to ensure that it retains its universal value. Therefore, inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List also obligates the country and local authority to look after the world heritage site and preserve it for posterity.
Why is the par force hunting landscape in North Zealand part of the World Heritage?
The par force hunting landscape in the forests of North Zealand is a unique and authentic example of the interchange and development of ideas about landscape design in Europe in the 1600s. The hunting rides, which lie at the heart of the par force hunting landscape, bear witness to these developments and show how the absolutist rulers of the continent demonstrated their power by controlling nature.
The UNESCO criteria
In order to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a nominated site must be of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has developed a total of ten criteria that define the concept of OUV. A nominated site must meet one or more of these criteria.
The par force hunting landscape meets the following criteria:
Criterion ii: The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand is an exceptional example of how the interchange of Baroque values in Europe influenced developments in landscape design in the 17th-18th centuries. The landscape illustrates an evolution in landscape design.
Criterion iv: The par force landscape in North Zealand is an exceptional example of a cultural landscape that was created as a symbol of power by the absolutist King at the end of the 17th century.
We should preserve world heritage
The UNESCO World Heritage site that is the par force landscape in North Zealand is an exceptional example of cultural heritage. It is important that we take care of this heritage so that the landscape and its unique history are not lost.
The core values of the par force hunting landscape in North Zealand are protected by state and municipal legislation. These values are, for example, the lines that have been created in the landscape by the old hunting rides, milestones, stone walls and other cultural traces in the landscape.
Gribskov Forest, the Great Deer Park and Jægersborg Deer Park and Enclosure are state forests. The Danish Nature Agency is responsible for managing these forests. The Agency’s work is directed by management plans, which specify, for example, how the par force hunting landscape will be preserved.
Most of the areas that border the forests, i.e. the buffer zones, are subject to municipal legislation and are therefore protected by the municipalities. The municipalities responsible for managing the buffer zones are Gentofte, Gribskov, Fredensborg, Hillerød, Allerød, Rudersdal and Lyngby-Taarbæk.
The Hermitage Hunting Lodge is also part of the par force hunting landscape in North Zealand and it is protected by the management plans of the Agency for Culture and Palaces.
Representatives from the Danish Nature Agency, the Agency for Culture and Palaces and the municipalities are part of the Steering Committee for the North Zealand Par Force Hunting Landscape. However, Gentofte Municipality requested observer status in this group. Also represented on the committee are The Green Museum (formerly known as The Danish Museum of Hunting and Forestry) and Museum Nordsjælland (The Museum of North Zealand). This collaboration between government agencies, municipalities and museums helps to ensure the preservation of this world heritage site.