In a ceremonial act, Hamburg received the certificate for its first World Heritage site on 27 June 2016. Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the certificate to Hamburg's First Mayor Olaf Scholz in the Börsensaal room of the AMERON Hotel in the Speicherstadt, the former coffee exchange. On 5 July 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus district with Chilehaus in the UNESCO World Heritage list. With the UNESCO World Heritage certificate, Hamburg was officially awarded this honour.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: "I congratulate Hamburg and Olaf Scholz on being awarded the World Heritage title. The Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district are unique documents of Hamburg's rise to one of the largest and most important sea ports in the world. At the same time, they symbolise cultural and social identity. World Heritage gives people a focus and orientation. This applies to Hamburg's World Heritage sites, as it does to World Heritage sites under threat such as Palmyra in Syria. For this reason, the foreign cultural policy campaigns for the preservation of cultural heritage. It is all the more pleasing that the World Heritage title has been bestowed upon Hamburg while the Committee was in session in Germany."
Hamburg's First Mayor Olaf Scholz: "This World Heritage title is a huge honour for Hamburg, and we are very conscious of the responsibility of preserving this exceptional cultural heritage site. Our expectations about the external effect of this illustrious award have been exceeded beyond belief. Now, Hamburg's long tradition as a port city will be more known throughout the world with its nomination as a World Heritage site. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this success with many years of work."
In July 2015, the World Heritage Committee had voted to approve the Hamburg nomination for the inclusion of the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district with Chilehaus in the UNESCO World Heritage List at its 39th session in Bonn and thus recognised the site's Outstanding Universal Value. According to the Committee's justification, the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district are "an outstanding example" of buildings and ensembles which "illustrate significant stages in the history of humanity."
Hamburg's application presented the Speicherstadt as the largest, state-of-the-art logistics centre of its time and to this day is still the largest cohesive and integrated ensemble of warehouses in the world. The Kontorhaus district impresses with the fact that it had set benchmarks for the world in the development of office building architecture. Finally, the direct connection of the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district was recognised as outstanding, linking inseparable sides of a lively harbour and stands as an example of systematic modern city building.
The decision was preceded by a long process lasting many years: The Chilehaus was first placed on Germany's tentative list for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999, the application was extending to include the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district in 2007. The nomination was then submitted in Paris in February 2014. Subsequently, assessors subjected the nomination documents to an extensive evaluation and check the application site. The UNESCO World Heritage certificate now officially seals the success of these efforts.
The award of this title is associated with a global educational mandate from UNESCO: on 1 July 2016, the new World Heritage coordinator assumed his responsibilities in Hamburg. He is continuing the plans for a World Heritage Information Centre.
Apart from the site "Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus district with Chilehaus", Hamburg has two further World Heritage candidates. The Jewish Cemetery of Hamburg-Altona was placed on the German tentative list for nomination in 2017. This nomination is currently being processed. At the next continuation of the tentative list, Hamburg will also register the Hamburg Observatory in Bergedorf again for inclusion in this list.