picture: © Denkmalschutzamt Hamburg/BKM
The World Heritage Committee based its decision on the belief that the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District are "an outstanding example" of buildings and an ensemble which "illustrate significant stages in the history of humanity". The Outstanding Universal Value of the two mono-functional but complementary areas is reflected in Hamburg’s historic warehouse district with its connecting network of roads, canals and bridges dating from 1885 to 1927 and in the modern red-brick architecture of the office building ensembles for port-related use from the 1920s to 1950s.
Hamburg was and still is a dynamic port and trade centre that is in a constant state of flux. At the end of the 19th century, a transformation process had been initiated with the construction of the Speicherstadt resulting in Hamburg transitioning from a city with mixed living, commercial and working quarters to a modern city with service districts. This construction of the Kontorhaus district was just one example that continued this process at the start of the 20th century. The result is the Speicherstadt and bordering Kontorhaus district, two densely built-up central city quarters in the German port city of Hamburg.