Great spas of europe: the new member of the unesco team in bad kissingen

Great spas of europe: the new member of the unesco team in Bad Kissingen

The road to the title of unesco world heritage site is long and takes a lot of planning. But the time after that also had to be well organized. To think about how bad kissingen should develop, there is now anna maria boll. The art historian and monument conservator has been working in the unesco project team in the culture department since february. As a so-called site manager, she takes care of everything related to bad kissingen as part of a later world heritage site great spas of europe. "The site manager is where all the threads come together. Anna maria boll is there to transport the world heritage into the future. She clarifies the question: how do we live world heritage?? And: she must have the whole picture in mind, moderate detailed questions", explains unesco project manager and cultural officer peter weidisch.

Experience with the great spas

Born in frankfurt, she found her way to bad kissingen after studying art history, romance languages and literature, and monument preservation in bamberg. "I got involved in the unesco project pretty much straight away", she tells. From january 2018 to january 2020, she worked on the great spas of europe application for the bavarian state office for the preservation of historic monuments and for the city of bamberg. She was the spokesperson for the german group for a year.

She has gotten to know bad kissingen very well in the meantime. She supported the city and the international project management to finalize the nomination application and also helped to write the local management plan. Both are central elements for the application. "Sometimes it was a balancing act between the state office and the city", says boll. The weeks before the group of applicants submitted the application to unesco at the beginning of 2019 were filled with stress "beyond the norm". Boll and weidisch took part in national and international meetings. The young woman found the working atmosphere within the applicant group to be very positive. "It is a very friendly, constructive atmosphere. I hope that this feeling will later be felt in all the cities of our world heritage site and that the people will have similar experiences, she says.

What does a site manager do??

So now she works as a site manager in the cultural department. This raises the question of what exactly that should be. "Site manager is difficult to translate into german. At unesco, this is a fixed concept", says weidisch. Boll explains: "as a site manager, you work with all the stakeholders to protect, preserve and communicate the world heritage site. One is the contact person for the whole property to be put under protection and the buffer zone – for me it is valid that I co-design and represent the bad kissinger part of the world heritage".

This means she is responsible for a whole pack of tasks. "An important point is the monitoring", she says. Again such a technical term. What is meant by this is that it regularly reports to unesco on the state of the world heritage site in bad kissingen after it has been recognized as a world heritage site. It is also her job to make sure that the protected property is preserved.

The site manager also has an eye on urban development. For example, there is the question of how the protected zone will be developed. This extends from the cascade valley in the north to the golf course in the south, after all. Weidisch: "the guest comes and says: show me your world heritage site. The question is: how do we guide the tourists??" Unlike a single world heritage site, such as the wurzburg residence, the question of development for the great spas is more complex.

There are more questions about urban development: "what if we become a world heritage site, what will change for the retail trade??", says weidisch. How is the hotel industry set up, what traffic volume can be expected, where can parking be arranged?? Investigations have already been commissioned. The site manager’s job is to work out solutions with everyone involved – with businesses, restaurateurs, hoteliers, the authorities, the spa administration and, most importantly, with the burghers. For boll, participation is important. "It is a living city. The city and the world heritage project are constantly developing, and the ideas and commitment of the citizens are in demand, she finds.

As site manager, boll not only coordinates the interests in bad kissingen. She is responsible for regional agreements, for example with the rhon biosphere reserve and other world heritage sites. She is also coordinating with the site managers of the other great spas cities. For example, it is a question of joint presentation and marketing. "It already starts with the common website and the question: what should be on it??", she says.

The bewerberg group has drawn up 41 international goals that need to be implemented. Moreover, each city has its own action points, which it is already pursuing today and especially in the case of a successful application. In bad kissingen there are over 110. "A very long term goal is: we need a world heritage center", weidisch cites as an example.

On the unesco series

Eleven traditional spas from germany, the czech republic, austria, england, italy, france and belgium want to become "great spas of europe" to be recognized by unesco as a world cultural heritage site. Why is the group, why bad kissingen as part of the group welterbewurdig? The saale newspaper regularly highlights the background in an editorial series.


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