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Environment and History

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Environment and History

How the Coast Became High: An Historical Introduction to the High Coast (Hoega kusten) World Heritage Site in Sweden

Christer Nordlund

Environment and History 11(2005): 113-138

The purpose of the present article is to investigate the 'career' of the High Coast as landscape. The High Coast in north-eastern Sweden has become a popular tourist site annually attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from throughout the world. Its environment is not only considered pleasing from a recreational aspect, but also of extraordinary intrinsic value. Citing the fact that the area has evidenced the greatest land elevation anywhere since the end of the Ice Age, the High Coast was placed on UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage List in the year 2000, thereby becoming the first site in all of northern Europe to earn that status purely on account of its natural environment. In the present article, aspects of the process whereby the High Coast's value has been articulated and established are examined. Particular attention is paid to tourism and scientific, artistic and environmentalist activities pursued in the area during the twentieth century, and connections are made between these activities and the socio-economic development of the region. Furthermore, a comparison between the High Coast and the Grand Canyon in the south-western United States is made.


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