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UNESCO World Heritage

What is World Heritage?

World Heritage is defined as natural and/or cultural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). These are often buildings, cities, natural areas or cultural landscapes.

Being designated as a world heritage site is a blue stamp of a location's global importance and obligates to protect, preserve and spread knowledge of the place.

The five ring fortresses

The ring fortresses are a coherent group of fortified structures that were built in the period 975-980 across Jutland, Funen and Zealand. Each fortress was strategically located, not far from open water and near important land and sea routes.

Furthermore, all the fortresses are built on the basis of a characteristic, Nordic, architectural "master plan" based on precise geometric and symmetrical forms.


Together, the fortresses constitute the largest monuments remaining from the Viking Age and underline the presence of a new, centralized governance in southern Scandinavia at the end of the tenth century.

Their coordinated construction under Harald Bluetooth/Gormsson (regent 958-987), together with the expansion of Dannevirke and the construction of the bridge over Ravning Enge, plays an important role in the unification of the country and the official religious and social change from paganism to a unified Christian kingdom with a strong central power in the new Danish kingdom.

On 17 September 2023, King Harald Bluetooth's five ring fortresses were included in UNESCO's distinguished list of places of exceptional value for all of humanity. With the ring fortresses, there are now eleven areas on the UNESCO list for Denmark and the Commonwealth.

In addition to the ring fortresses, the list also includes Roskilde Cathedral, the Jelling monuments, Kronborg, Stevns Klint, the Wadden Sea, Christiansfeld, the Parforce hunting landscapes in North Zealand and in Greenland Ilulissat, Kujataa and Aasivissuit - Nipisat.