World Heritage List

UNESCO is the organisation of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture, and a special commission is tasked with the World Heritage List. Their mission is to determine valuable cultural-historic and natural landscape sites of importance from around the world, which are so unique that they should be preserved for the future. Among others, the list includes the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, the pyramids at Giza and the historic centre of Florence.   

Canal legacy

Amsterdam’s Canal Ring is unique in the world for its urban development and architectural artwork, as well as the physical expression of the major economic, political and cultural growth of the city in the Golden Age. The recognition of the uniqueness of the Canal Ring not only generates international attention for the city, it also frames a promise to maintain the area. In this way, everyone can continue to enjoy the unique living and working conditions of the Canal Ring.

Within Amsterdam, UNESCO draws a distinction between the so-called core and buffer zones. The core zone is the actual World Heritage area, while the buffer zone is the land directly surrounding the core zone. The buffer area has been designated to ensure effective protection of the core zone. The boundaries of the buffer zone are virtually identical to the protected conservation area declared for the city in 1999. Here the UNESCO status also constitutes a natural continuation of the monuments policy implemented in the inner city thus far. Further details about the protected zones is available on UNESCO's Amsterdam website.

World Heritage Office of the City of Amsterdam

The city’s World Heritage Office was set up to perform the activities necessary for the UNESCO nomination. This office bears primary responsibility for maintaining the UNESCO area and any developments within it. The office is also responsible for communication and (international) information. It maintains contact with the State and with the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

World Heritage Podium

As of September 2013, the Amsterdam City Archives is also home to the World Heritage Podium. This visitors' centre provides details of all UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands – as well as potential sites for the future. Its services cater to both Dutch and international visitors, providing a wealth of historic knowledge.