Places and objects that make a unique contribution to the history of humanity and nature can be named a World Heritage Site. The list includes cultural property such as historical buildings and urban ensembles, industrial monuments, cultural landscapes, as well as natural monuments such as sites of geological discoveries, natural landscapes and reserves.
World Heritage Sites that combine both human and natural factors have been integrated as a sub-category of cultural landscapes since 1992. To date, the World Heritage List contains 1031 cultural and natural heritage sites in 163 countries (July 2015). Of these 1031 sites, 802 are cultural and 197 are natural, with 32 listed as mixed properties.
In Germany, there are 40 World Heritage Sites, including 4 industrial World Heritage Sites. In 1992, the Mines of Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar became Germany’s first industrial World Heritage Site. In 2010, the site was extended to include the Upper Harz Water Management System, the historical water system for the Upper Harz mining industry. In 1994, the Völklingen Ironworks in the Saarland was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, and in 2001 the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen joined them. The latest industrial site in Germany to achieve World Heritage status was the Fagus Factory in Alfeld in 2011.