Culture and nature

Memory of the World

The Göttingen Gutenberg Bible, the archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, the colonial archives of Benin, Senegal and Tanzania, the collection of indigenous languages in Mexico or the Benz patent as birth certificate of the automobile of 1886 - they all are documentary testimonies of extraordinary value for the history of mankind.

They recall cultural turning points in history and are a source of knowledge for the shaping of present and future societies. Since 1992, the UNESCO "Memory of the Word" programme has aimed at securing and making accessible these documents of exceptional value in archives, libraries and museums.

Memory of the World Register

The UNESCO Memory of the World Register currently contains over 340 outstanding documents: valuable book collections, manuscripts, unique works, visual, audio and film documents. In Germany, a nomination committee appointed by the German Commission for UNESCO prepares nominations for the World Register. An international advisory committee, appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO, discusses the international admission of documents. The Director-General decides on inscription to the World Register every two years.

Documents from Germany

  • Early recordings of the world's musical traditions (1893-1952) in the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv (Edison cylinders) (Date of Inscription: 1999)
  • 42-line Gutenberg Bible (2001)
  • The literary estate of Goethe (2001)
  • Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (2001)
  • Fritz Lang’s classic silent film, "Metropolis", of 1925/6 (2001)
  • Illuminated manuscripts from the Ottonian period produced in the monastery of Reichenau (Lake Constance) (2003)
  • "Children’s and Household Tales" by the Brothers Grimm (2005)
  • The Waldseemüller Map of 1507, a joint nomination with the Library of Congress/Washington, USA (2005)
  • The renowned Renaissance library of Matthias Corvinus (Bibliotheca Corviniana), a joint nomination with Hungary, Belgium, France, Italy and Austria (2005)
  • Letters from and to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz within the collection of manuscript papers of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (2007)
  • Song of the Nibelungs, a heroic poem from mediaeval Europe (2009)
  • Benz Patent of 1886 (2011)
  • Construction and Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Two-Plus-Four-Treaty of 1990 (2011)
  • Lorsch Pharmacopoeia (2013)
  • Nebra Sky Disc (2013)
  • The "Golden Bull" (2013)
  • "Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei", draft manuscript page and "Das Kapital. Erster Band", Karl Marx's personal annotated copy (2013)
  • Documents representing the beginning and the early development of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther (2015)
  • Autograph of h-Moll-Messe (Mass in B minor) by Johann Sebastian Bach (2015)
  • The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain (2015)
  • Al-Masaalik Wa Al-Mamaalik (2015)
  • Selected data collections of the world's language diversity at the Language Archive (2015)
  • Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial (2017)
  • Constitutio Antoniniana (2017)