The Dresden Elbe Valley, with its distinct architecture and natural landscape, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. A few years later, a bridge crossing the Elbe river was proposed to ease the traffic congestion in the nearby city of Dresden. UNESCO opposed the move and put Dresden Elbe Valley on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006 and stated that the valley’s status as a World Heritage Site would be removed if the bridge were to be completed.
Despite protests from activists and environmentalists, the controversial Waldschlösschen Bridge was built nonetheless. UNESCO, true to their word, rescinded Dresden Elbe Valley’s World Heritage status in 2009, making it the second former World Heritage Site in the world. (The other was Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, which was de-listed in 2007.)
When Waldschlösschen Bridge opened to the public in 2013, some 65,000 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.