Internationalism, scientific, artistic and literary values, events and cultural tradition

The Great Spas of Europe can be viewed as ‘culture-creating’ resorts: in terms of science (medicine, geology and hydrology); high-art (music, literature and painting); and a cultural tradition that is the foundation of modern tourism.

At their scientific core, spa doctors, physicians and balneologists brought forward advances in medicine, medical diagnostics and analytical chemistry of world significance.

The Great Spas of Europe attracted an unusual and exceptional concentration of leading artists, composers and musicians, writers and poets who found inspiration and a congenial place in which to work and perform. Many of Europe’s cultural elite made the spas their regular home for the season and they can still be seen today, often depicted in casual dress as befits the spa setting, in statues and memorials in squares promenades and parks.

These popular, fashionable, ambitious, trend-setting and high capacity resorts with high standards of hospitality became important centres for diplomatic activity that helped to shape modern Europe. Hotels and palatial villas, the conference centres of their time bear testimony to historic events that changed the world, and it is this unique combination of attributes that highlights this group of spas as being special.