Universal and outstanding
s with other sites on the World Heritage list, the Mining Basin fulfils two requirements that may at first seem contradictory: it is at once universal and outstanding. Universal because it is shared by all Humankind. Outstanding because it is incomparable to other sites on the prestigious List.
As with writing, printing or the beginnings of agriculture, industrialisation was a key turning point in human history. By supplying coal, a major source of energy for this process, the Mining Basin contributed to this period in history. It tells its story with great eloquence.
Moreover, mining is an industry common to many countries including the UK, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, China and the USA. Demonstrating a sense of solidarity with their peers, beyond borders, miners share the same language. The Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin speaks to the whole world and, in this sense, it is indeed a common property of humankind.
Its appeal is thus universal as well as being outstanding. In more than one way. Compared to other industrial sites on the List, this heritage stands out because of the quantity, sheer diversity and quality of conservation. Its waste tips have not been levelled, unlike in other basins.
Another example : the miners’ housing developments have retained their architectural consistency. Mostly owned by public entities, they have not been disfigured with different façades from one house to another. For three centuries, industry in the Mining Basin focussed almost exclusively on coal. As a result, the various relics of the mining industry are remarkably prominent features of the landscape. This is what confers extraordinary value on the Mining Basin.