The History of the UNESCO Project

The project started in 2009 and we hope to finish by 2026

The Workers Museum started researching workers’ assembly halls in 2009 to find the still existing buildings around the world. The work included a large-scale comparative study of 58 assembly halls in 23 countries. The study showed how differently the labour movement settled in various parts of the world, which is why a transnational serial nomination is the best way to show how the fight for workers’ rights and the buildings in which these communities formed, is world heritage.

Read the paper based on that previous research: Ludvigsen, P. (2013) Workers’ Assembly Halls as a Proposition for UNESCO’s World HeritageInternational Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 19 (5), p. 408-438.

The UNESCO Project from 2020


The project was relaunched in 2020 and a collection campaign began to locate workers’ assembly halls around the entire world. Based on the research done from 2008, the search was expanded to look for workers’ assembly halls around the world, including regions that previously did not seem to fit the criteria. We decided to broaden the original criteria to show the diversity within this global cultural phenomenon of these buildings as a sort of buildings’ movement. To do that the search had to investigate all democratic labour movement assembly halls, in all corners of the world. The final series might not include a building (component part) from every region or even continent in the world, but our collected data will reflect that we have tried to find them. Many buildings have been rebuilt completely, demolished or the current function has changed so dramatically that it does not fit the series but finding these buildings and being able to document even small parts of their history is a huge part of the vision behind the nomination project.

The collection campaign was sent via social media, email, our website and through all networks of archives, political parties, museums, universities, unions, trade union confederations, heritage organisations that we could think of, to spread the word about the collection campaign as far and wide as possible. We have had a lot of Zoom and Teams meetings and conversations on WhatsApp and all platforms possible.

By May 2022 we have been suggested and found more than 70 workers assembly halls in the world and have sent the collection campaign to more than 300 individuals, organisations and networks. All of this information is registered and kept for the nomination file. Not all 70 workers assembly halls will take part in the nominated series and the examination of buildings is an ongoing process, therefore the final series is not finalised yet.


All the buildings that are taking part in the series will be working on getting on their national tentative lists for UNECSO World Heritage. At the same time the nomination file (dossier) is written from in 2023. We will also be setting up an international network of workers’ assembly places that can include all buildings, in or out of the series.

Hopefully, the nomination file is sent to UNESCO in 2025 and by 2026 we will know if this series is recognised as World Heritage.


Read More About the Project