Paper mill in Duszniki-Zdrój is Poland’s candidate for entry into the UNESCO list
On 16 October 2019, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage nominated the paper mill in Duszniki-Zdrój as a candidate of the Republic of Poland for inclusion in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The documentation prepared by the National Heritage Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Papermaking Museum was signed by the Deputy Minister of Culture, General Conservator of Monuments Prof. dr hab. Magdalena Gawin.
The paper mill in Duszniki-Zdrój, built before 1562, is today one of the most beautiful post-industrial buildings in the world. The building has numerous façade decorations and a polychromatic interior with a mysterious biblical scene depicting the seduction of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife. A unique way, in comparison to other objects is the use of artistic elements to underline the value of the Duszniki building and distinguish it from other industrial monuments.
As a consequence of the Ministry’s application, the mill will be included in the so-called UNESCO Tentative List, which is tantamount to a public announcement of its candidacy. The event opens a new chapter in the preparations for UNESCO’s listing of Europe’s most valuable paper mills. Historical paper mills from the Czech Republic (Velke Losiny), Germany (Homburg) and France (Ambert) are also applying for a joint inclusion under the management of the Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki-Zdrój. Further activities will aim to prepare, within 4 years, a common international nomination for the UNESCO List of the most valuable historical paper mills from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France and perhaps other countries.
The Museum of Paper-making has to carry out numerous preparatory activities. Research into the history of paper-making should be intensified, not only in Poland but also globally. This will allow the Polish institution to transform itself into an international centre for gathering and disseminating knowledge about the history of paper-making. The results of the research will also be used to prepare an application for the entry of a paper mill into the UNESCO list, in which our facility and other European paper mills will be described in detail. Another extremely important task will be to modernise the museum’s exhibitions to support a much larger number of visitors than currently. It is also essential to create an appropriate tourist infrastructure within the paper mill, among others, a tourist service centre, catering facilities and parking spaces. Inclusion on the UNESCO list is connected with a multi-fold increase in the number of visitors. We must be well prepared for it.
The UNESCO Tentative List is a register of places deemed deserving of inclusion in the World Heritage List, which are located in the territories of individual countries of the world. The list consists of the sites that a State intends to propose for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the short term.
Dr hab. Maciej Szymczyk
Director of the Museum of Papermaking