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UNESCO: Western Europe

Discover more on your next camping adventure to Western Europe

Western Europe is home to Europe's powerhouse nations; Germany, the UK and France. Together they host 122 UNESCO sites between them, the remaining 50 sites are scattered across Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. This part of Europe is also home to some of UNESCO's most famous sites including the cities of Vienna, Amsterdam, Avignon and Bath, and structures like Le Grand Place, Brussels, Mont Saint Michel, France and the Tower of London, UK. 

We will be covering 454 of Europe's UNESCO sites over four blogs; sorted into northern, southern, western and central/eastern Europe starting with the northern states. We hope to inspire more people to visit more UNESCO sites when travelling.

Key

Name of UNESCO site (type, year added to list)
Location(s) [link to Wikipedia] [link to UNESCO page]

⭐️ Featured Site

Contents

Austria
Belgium

France

Germany

Republic of Ireland

Netherlands

Switzerland

United Kingdom

Austria

There are 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Austria.


⭐️ Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg (cultural, 1996)
Salzburg [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Salzburg has managed to preserve its rich and vibrant historic centre in a way that many other cities haven't. Situated on the left and right banks of the Salzach River, the old town is home to many of Salzburg's historic attractions including Mozart's birthplace and home, Salzburg Cathedral and museums such as the Christmas museum.

Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (cultural, 1996)
Vienna [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Hallstatt–Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape (cultural, 1997)
Salzkammergut [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Semmering railway (cultural, 1998)
Gloggnitz, Semmering [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (cultural, 1999)
Graz [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Wachau Cultural Landscape (cultural, 2000)
Wachau [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Fertő / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape (cultural, 2001)
Burgenland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ Historic Centre of Vienna(cultural, 2001)
Vienna [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Vienna's old town was once surrounded by city walls, now however, it is clearly marked out by the grand, tree-lined Ringstraße. Traditionally it was divided into four quarters, each named after the four compass gates used to enter the centre. Now it is home to Vienna's main attractions including the Vienna State Opera, the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Parliament Building, St Stephen's Cathedral and many museums, theatres and cafes, as well as being the city's main shopping district.

⭐️ The Great Spa Towns of Europe (cultural, 2021)
Baden bei Wien [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

In 2021, the spa town of Baden bei Wien became part of the UNESCO-listed Great Spa Towns of Europe, a group of towns across the continents that shared one mutual feature; they were all developed around natural mineral water springs and developed a spa and bathing culture. Baden bei Wien dates back to Roman times, some Roman ruins can be seen but it wasn't until the town was rebuilt in the early 1800s that it became a popular destination for bathers.


Common Site(s) - sites in multiple locations and countries

Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps (cultural, 2011)
Attersee, Keutschach, Mondsee, Seewalchen am Attersee [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (natural, 2017)
Dürrenstein, Kalkalpen [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes (Western Segment) (cultural, 2021)
Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Vienna [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


Belgium

There are 15 UNESCO Sites in Belgium.


Flemish Béguinages (cultural, 1998)
Flanders [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ La Grand-Place, Brussels (cultural, 1998)
City of Brussels [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

The Flamboyant Town Hall, surrounded by the Baroque guildhalls of Brussels dominate the city's central square. Construction of the complex began in the 11th century and was largely complete by the 17th although it was destroyed in 1695 during the Nine Years' War, only the facade and tower of the Town Hall were left standing. The entire square was rebuilt and in 1998, the complex was granted UNESCO status.

The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (cultural, 1998)
Hainaut [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Historic Centre of Bruges (cultural, 2000)
Bruges, West Flanders [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


⭐️ Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (cultural, 2000)
Brussels and Saint-Gilles, Brussels-Capital [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

This site consists of four houses in Brussels, designed by Victor Horta, a pioneering architect known for his Art Nouveau styles. His Hôtel Tassel is considered to be the first true Art Nouveau building in the world. Hôtel Solvay (pictured below) was completed in 1900, every detail, including all fittings and furniture was designed by Horta. It opened as a museum in 2021.

Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (cultural, 2000)
Mons, Hainaut [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai (cultural, 2000)
Tournai, Hainaut [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (cultural, 2005)
Antwerp [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ Stoclet House (cultural, 2009)
Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels-Capital [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Built between 1905 and 1911, the grand mansion is considered a crossover of two styles; the earlier Art Nouveau and the succeeding Art Deco with features from both working hand in hand effortlessly. Designed by Austrian architect Josef Hoffman for Belgium financier Adolphe Stoclet, it is often thought to be one of the most luxurious private residences of the twentieth century. The interior is decorated with marble panelling and artwork including that of Gustav Klimt.

Major Mining Sites of Wallonia (cultural, 2012)
Wallonia [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


Common Site(s) - sites in multiple locations and countries

Belfries of Belgium and France (cultural, 1999)
several sites [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (cultural, 2007)
Brussels-Capital, Flanders and Wallonia [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps (cultural, 2011)
Attersee, Keutschach, Mondsee, Seewalchen am Attersee [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (cultural, 2016)
Antwerp [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

The Great Spa Towns of Europe (cultural, 2021)
Spa, Liège [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Colonies of Benevolence (cultural, 2021)
Wortel, Antwerp [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Republic of Ireland

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Republic of Ireland.


Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne (cultural, 1993)
Meath [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Skellig Michael (cultural, 1996)
Kerry [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Netherlands

There are 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands.


Schokland and Surroundings (cultural, 1995)
Noordoostpolder, Flevoland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Dutch Water Defence Lines (cultural, 1996)
North Holland and Utrecht [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout (cultural, 1997)
Alblasserdam and Nieuw-Lekkerland, South Holland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station) (cultural, 1998)
Lemmer, Lemsterland, Friesland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

The Wouda Pumping Station is the world's largest, still-operational, steam-powered pumping station located in the north of the country. It was opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina and was designed to shift excess water out of the Friesland province. Originally run on coal, it was converted to heavy fuel oil in the late 1960s and still operates today.

Droogmakerij de Beemster (Beemster Polder) (cultural, 1999)
Beemster, North Holland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House) (natural, 2000)
Utrecht [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (cultural, 2010)
Amsterdam, North Holland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ Van Nelle Factory (cultural, 2014)
Rotterdam, South Holland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Designed and built for the Van Nelle Company in 1931, the factory is considered a prime example of International Style architecture, with elements of Soviet Constructivism design. It was described as "the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age" by Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier and "a poem in steel and glass" by American-born British architect Howard Robertson.

During its operational years, the factory was processing tea, coffee and tobacco, and later chewing gum and instant puddings. It closed in 1996 and is now used as office and events space, and houses a museum.


Common Site(s) - sites in multiple locations and countries

The Wadden Sea (cultural, 2009)
Friesland, Groningen, and North Holland [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps (cultural, 2011)
Attersee, Keutschach, Mondsee, Seewalchen am Attersee [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Colonies of Benevolence (cultural, 2021)
Drenthe [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Lower German Limes (cultural, 2021)
Several sites [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


Switzerland

There are 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Switzerland.


Old City of Berne (cultural, 1983)
Bern [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

⭐️ Convent of St Gall (cultural, 1983)
St. Gallen [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

The dissolved abbey of St Gall is a Catholic religious complex dating back to 719 AD. It is home to the Abbey Library of St Gall, the oldest monastic library in the world, holding almost 160,000 volumes, some dating back to the 8th century. The main building became a cathedral in 1848.

Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair (cultural, 1983)
Grisons [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona (cultural, 2001)
Ticino [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch (natural, 2001)
Bern and Valais [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Monte San Giorgio (natural, 2003)
Ticino [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces (cultural, 2007)
Vaud [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes (cultural, 2008)
Grisons [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (natural, 2008)
Grisons, Glarus, St. Gallen [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning (cultural, 2009)
Neuchâtel [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


Common Site(s) - sites in multiple locations and countries

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (cultural, 2016)
Vaud, Geneva [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (natural, 2017)
Ticino, Solothurn [Wikipedia] [UNESCO]


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