Concept for the World Heritage Trail

This concept of the World Heritage trail depicts the development and implementation of an approach on a sustainable basis for solving the growing traffic conflict in the city centre and all related problems connected to this.

Tourists and locals are given the possibility to become involved and bring about positive change for the city of Wismar. The trail brings about some crucial benefits arising from a shift of capacities due to an increased number of used parking spaces outside the old town, also to a certain degree locals will be relieved from the fraffic caused by touristis.

Furthermore, ones need to consider that the original substance of the trail is already given and resulting in lower investment costs spent in the trail.

All costs incurred are held on a lower level. In this context, potential sponsors and local artists have been identified and approached and consequently benn offered to take part into this project. All in all, based on this trail a concept has been developed, serving other cities as a striking example emphazising the issue and relevance of sustainability.

The Problem/Challenge

Imagine it is summer, people spending their time outside eating ice cream, while the sun is shining all day long in the beautiful heanseatic city of Wismar.

Thanks to the cooling sea air you can feel a refreshing breeze from time to time. However, you can still sense some smog emitted by car traffic. Besides many day tourists, Wismar has become attractive to more and more long-term guests as well.

The city distinguishes by its history and its geographic postion at the coast. In terms of economy, these are favorable framework conditions, however this bears a number of negative aspects such as the result of congusted streets and the lack of free parking spaces, which are already very limited in the hanseatic city. This requires an appropriate solution since the tourists are wondering about the low number of available parking spaces and in turn local residents get irritated when they are unable finding a parking space.

As part of this problem, there are guests visiting the leisure water park "Wonnemar" who come to the city centre by car although they could have easily arrived via the cycling path or the footpath which takes a 15 minutes walk only. In addition, parking spaces provided at the "Wonnemar" are for free, whereas parking spaces in the old town require a fee.

The hanseatic city of Wismar as a World Heritage site is steeped in history and exciting facts. This approach could be one way of solving the overall problem. While motivating tourists in a way that they use their car less often and rather use the walkways, this traffic problem can be tackled. However, the obove mentioned connecting trail is in dilapidated condition and therefore not as attractive for tourists. This also includes cyclists on holidays, since the cycling path is not suitable for longer cycle tours.

Moreover, this trail is not very appealing to local residents. Dense vegetation, an insufficient lighting system and growing roots breaking through the pavement have immensely contributed to the overall poor condition of the trail. However, the trail still bears immense potential and offers great conditions for the development of a new informative, entertaining and frequently attended educational trail in the framework of world heritage and sustainability.

Development Process

In order to tackle this problem successfully, representatives of the tourist office as well as representatives of "Wonnemar" have joined together in a kick-off workshop. In the first place it was integral to manage the project management. In this phase an expert coming from the Tourism Association of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania was appointed to assist in this case.

In the interim, potential sponsors have been directly requested to take care of one or more passages of this trail. Wonnemar and a producer of mechanical pulp, the Egger Group, have already engaged in this. In order to develop the trail in a creative and attractive way, the university of applied sciences of Wismar has been invited to become involved into this project. Graphic design students had the opportunity in terms of an ad-hoc task to develop ideas and approaches in an unusual, imaginary as well as real context, which were supposed to increase the trail‘s attractiveness for tourists and locals. Monitored by a professor from the university of Wismar, a workshop was organized to discuss and define the scope of project management.

In this respect, six of the best ideas and approaches from students were presented as well as discussed and ranked. The premises of presentation will be defined internally between administrative employees of the hanseatic city of Wismar. The content of wall charts will be determined based on the input and legwork of the whole project team. In preperation of the following workshop, work packages have been distributed regarding financing and conceptualization of individual stations.

Finally, the signs and wall charts get produced as well as built up and in the last step the trail will be marketed and introduced to the public in an inauguration ceremony. In terms of realization of design, the world heritage trail will be conceptualized by the local artist Mrs. Dörte Michaelis. She has already gained some substantial experience in the field of informational and attractive steles. She will be supported by graphic designer Klaus-Dieter Steinberg. The trail will be initiated and developed from scratch in close collaboration with these two artists throughout the whole project.


  • Egger Group
  • Wonnemar Wismar
  • University of Applied Sciences Wismar
  • Hostel (presentation of leaflets)
  • Tourism Centre "Tourismuszentrale" Wismar

The Product

The product represents a World Heritage trail, located from the leisure water park Wonnemar to the old town of Wismar. The trail is supposed to be developed in a way that tourists, cyclists and locals like using the trail likewise.

Along the trail there will be six stations one can inform oneself about the history of the city, the environment, while gazing at skylines of the hanseatic city. Each station will be appropriately conceptualized so adults and children will likewise prefer using the trail.

Historic facts will be vividly presented by the city's mascot Bruno Backstein, who has already been well established in Wismar. The stations will provide informational wall charts presenting Wismar as a world heritage site. The format of these walls will depend on the content.

The stations, sponsored by companies and further institutions will also display each company's logo. When conceptualizing the trail, focus will be set on high quality standards, so there will be long-term benefits for tourists and locals. This means deploying material guarantying highest stability reducing the risk of vandalism and damage due to heavier weather conditions.

A new lighting system will contribute to a certain feel-good atmosphere in the evening. Consequently, tourists will be encouraged to leave their car outside the city centre to get to the old town. In terms of realization of design, the world heritage trail will be conceptualized by the local artist Mrs. Dörte Michaelis. She will be supported by graphic designer Klaus-Dieter Steinberg, local content agent. For the translation into English language a native speaker will be engaged.


The new trail will be built along a nature reserve without interfering into it. Basic explanations to the nature reserve will be given while pedestrians and cyclists can also find out about how flora and fauna mutually interact in this area. This way, the reader will learn how these areas can be preserved and protected.

Moreover, the new trail will make visitors leave their car out of the city centre. This leads to a reduced amount of emissions created by vehicles while also the traffic jam along the old town will decrease. The new trail will consequently be used more often by local residents promoting an attractive multi-cultural meeting place promoted by new leisure amenities and comfortable seating facilities.

The restructuration will eventually have a positive effect on the reduction of rubbish, since local residents will be encouraged to remain the trail‘s good condition and are even willing to actively maintain the new trail. This will lead to higher satisfaction among residents living in the old town, since there will be more parking spaces available for use.


The concept was tested with the first pole that was built in August 2019. Visitors gave comments on the quality and meaningfulness of the poles. Now Wismar had the possibility to make little changes in the texts.

In addition, Wismar has used the designs of the poles to walk the path with several employees and different people. So they tested which distances the poles have to have and which design fits to which environment.


The plan was to evaluate the World Heritage Trail within the opening in November 2020. The guests of the opening and other visitors should have to get surveys. The surveys should be given back after a walk over the trail. But Wismar had to cancel the opening because of the pandemic.

A longer time Wismar didn't know what to do, until somebody had the idea of an online opening of the Trail.

Wismar posted a video of the trail on Facebook, it was like an online walk over the World Heritage Trail. With the video Wismar posted an online survey. It includes the same questions as the survey in paper form.

The survey was called and filled out more often than Wismar would have expected. There were an expectation from about 15 participants. But there were 24 participants and 69 visitors at the website of the surveys. That was a good result for Wismar.

The 24 participants mostly were residents of Wismar. Some other participants were visitors of friends and family or work-related visitors. The age of them was 18-79. The evaluation of the trail was mostly a positive result. Because of the –online- walk a lot of the participants didn't notice a connection between the World Heritage Trail and World Heritage Wismar.

Most of the participants mentioned a high and sustainable quality of the trail and would like to come back for another walk, but in real life.


The main costs are incurred by the development of the world heritage trail and the personnel involved. We are planning to finance one of the steles of the project DUNC. Moreover, two steles will be sponsored by our partners, Wonnemar and Egger are each going to finance one stele in the framework of this project. We are currently on the search for further sponsors, who are financing the remaining two steles as well.

In the following, our costs will be provided in brief:


  • Staff: € 9,043.26
  • Office and Administration: € 1,356.49
  • Travel and Accomodation: € 321.95
  • External Expertise / Services: € 5,407.90
  • Steles by Dörte Michaelis: € 4,800.00
  • Graphics by Klaus-Dieter Steinberg: € 1,000.00
  • Text corrections: € 360.00
  • Costs incurred in the process of developing ideas and rights of use: € 800.00

Lessons Learned

For us it was important to get a substantial number of local providers/artists/multipliers involved into this project. In the scope of this project, we consciously decided against hiring artists that already enjoy nationwide reputation but instead wanted to support artists coming from the surrounding area. Thanks to this close contact, we were able developing such a good collaboration, therefore the overall success of this project can be guaranteed.

In the course of this project, the search for sponsors has to be intensified, while showing potential sponsors the diversity of benefits when investing in this project.

Relevance to Other Sites

The challenge to reduce the traffic in the city centre bears great potential for development, tourists and locals are able to benefit from the same way. This simple concept of embellishing a trail within the city centre can be implemented in further parts of the city as well as in other cities.

Nowadays, the issue of sustainability and its relevance is omnipresent, therefore locals and tourists get more and more encouraged in actively contributing to the development of the city. Therefore, such world heritage trails are excellent for paving the way for implementing the sustainability approach in world heritage sites like in Wismar.

This project will serve as a striking example/guideline demonstrating other cities that it is actually worthwhile giving more or less established artists as well as local companies and institutions the chance to get actively involved and making one's contribution to promoting long-term development in the city in the sense of sustainability.

The World Heritage Trail and the Global Goals

The World Heritage Trail has contributed to targets 8.9 Promote Beneficial and Sustainable Tourism, 11.4 Protect the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage and 11.6 Reduce the Environmental Impact of Cities.