The Lake Neusiedl region was entered into the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites by the World Heritage Committee at the same time as the historic centre of Vienna in December 2001. The UNESCO therefore attaches “extraordinary value" to the world cultural heritage site of Lake Neusiedl "for the whole of mankind".
This ceremonious act was preceded by years of preparation by experts from the province of Burgenland in Austria and also experts from Hungary and finally culminated in a proposal. In explanations for their decision, the World Heritage Committee expressly made reference to the cultural criterion: The region of Lake Neusiedl has been a meeting place for different cultures for thousands of years and this is apparently due to its greatly varied landscape, the result of an evolutionary and symbiotic process of people interacting with their physical surroundings.
A crucial factor for Lake Neusiedl and its border areas being entered into the list of World Cultural Heritage sites was the existence of a unique area and landscape of unspoiled natural beauty, which is located at the gateway to numerous cultural and language areas, temperate zones and natural environments. Lake Neusiedl - Seewinkel National Park, the border area of Lake Neusiedl and the historic old town of Rust are situated in the Austrian part of the UNESCO cultural heritage site. Rust was therefore of great significance in the decision to make the region of Lake Neusiedl a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Our town is also the only municipality to be located completely within the World Cultural Heritage site. Rust is therefore the heart of the UNESCO world cultural heritage region of Fertö-Lake Neusiedl.
The Fertö-Hanság National Park, village of Fertörakos, Széchenyi Castle in Nagycenk and Esterházy Palace in Fertöd are cultural highlights in the Hungarian part of the UNESCO cultural heritage site.
The diversity of flora and fauna habitats is also accounted for with this recognition as World Cultural Heritage site. The international significance of the region is furthermore increased by its function as a "stepping stone" for bird migration between Africa and Northern Europe.