In 2015 the royal castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria were officially registered with the World Heritage Centre in Paris on the German tentative list for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bavarian Palace Department is to submit the nomination dossier and management plan to the UNESCO Commission for review on 1 February 2024. In the summer of 2025 it is expected that the World Heritage Committee will decided whether the royal castles of Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Schachen and Herrenchiemsee will be placed on the list.
German newspapers reported in February 2023 that not all the inhabitants of Schwangau, the village at the foot of Neuschwanstein Castle are enthusiastic about the plans. Therefore the municipal council on 6 February 2023 decided that the people of Schwangau themselves should vote in a council referendum on whether their municipality should support the Bavarian application.
Becoming a World Heritage Site has consequences. The people in Schwangau are mainly concerned about the monumental protection as a core zone and a buffer zone would be drawn around Neuschwanstein Castle, so large parts of the village would be in the protection zone. Furthermore they fear there will even be more visitors than the one and a half million the castle already has on a yearly base.
There are no problems with restrictions at Herrenchiemsee Castle, as there is already a ban on building on the island. The people hope for more publicity and tourists. Linderhof Castle is located in the middle of the Ammergau Alps, a nature reserve and bird sanctuary, which means the requirements to build there are already very high. Also at Schachen there is no issue at the moment. The castle there can only be reached on foot.