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Maritime Greenwich becomes a World Heritage Site

Maritime Greenwich was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1997.

The process


The UK Government nominated Maritime Greenwich for World Heritage status in 1996 from a 1986 Tentative List of sites for future nomination. Following an evaluation of the Site and its nomination document by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Maritime Greenwich was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Naples, Italy in 1997. Maritime Greenwich is currently one of 1031 sites on the World Heritage List considered to be of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).


Ten criteria have been agreed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as the basis for assessing OUV. Maritime Greenwich was inscribed on the World Heritage List against four criteria:

Criterion (i): The public and private buildings and the Royal Park at Greenwich form an exceptional ensemble that bears witness to human artistic and creative endeavour of the highest quality.

Criterion (ii): Maritime Greenwich bears witness to European architecture at an important stage of its evolution, exemplified by the work of great architects such as Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren who, inspired by developments on the continent of Europe, each shaped the architectural development of subsequent generations, while the Park exemplifies the interaction of people and nature over two centuries.

Criterion (iv): The Palace, Royal Naval College and Royal Park demonstrate the power, patronage and influence of the Crown in the 17th and 18th centuries and its illustration through the ability to plan and integrate culture and nature into a harmonious whole.

Criterion (vi): Greenwich is associated with outstanding architectural and artistic achievements as well as with scientific endeavour of the highest quality through the development of navigation and astronomy at the Royal Observatory, leading to the establishment of the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time as world standards.

The meaning of OUV

Outstanding Unversal Value (OUV) means cultural and natural heritage which is so exceptional that it trancends national boundaries and is of importance to present and future generations of humanity as whole. Because of their exceptional qualities, such places are worthy of special protection against dangers that threaten them. World Heritage Sites belong to everyone regardless of where they are located. They should be exceptional or superlative - the most remarkable places on earth - and be outstanding from a global perspective.

Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

At the time of inscription of a World Heritage Site, The UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopts a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) summarising the significance of the Site, the criteria under which it was inscribed, the conditions of integrity and authenticity, and protection and management requirements. Authenticity is the credible and truthful expression of the value of cultural heritage and integrity is the measure of its wholeness or how far it is in tact. 

World Heritage Sites such as Maritime Greenwich inscribed before 2008 have SOUVs approved retrospectively by the World Heritage Committee based on documentation from the time of inscription. The SOUV for Maritime Greenwich was approved by the World Heritage Committee in 2013.

SOUVs are particularly useful when assessing whether proposals for change will have a positive or negative impact on a World Heritage Site's Outstanding Universal Value. They also form an essential component of Management Plans for World Heritage Sites, which set out how the OUV of each site will be sustained and enhanced


  • Greenwich Hospital
  • Old Royal Naval College
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • The Royal Parks
  • St Alfege
  • Trinity Laban
  • University of Greenwich
  • Visit Greenwich