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Greece/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Law 3828/2002 regulates all aspects of cultural heritage protection and management, replacing a complex sequence of amendments to earlier pieces of legislation dating to 1932 and 1950. The provisions of the current legislation can be summarised as follows:

  • the concept of cultural heritage is broadened to encompass all cultural goods situated in Greece, including immovable monuments and sites, moveable cultural objects, and the intangible heritage (including oral traditions, myths, music, dances, skills and practices), regardless of cultural origin or tradition, and encompassing archaeological, ethnographic and broader cultural heritage;
  • the notion of protection is broadened to cover, apart from physical preservation and conservation, the identification, research, documentation, access, and social, aesthetic and educational valorisation of cultural heritage;
  • the scope of the law covers cultural heritage of all periods, from prehistory to the present. A different degree of protection is afforded for different classes of cultural heritage objects. In general, all objects, moveable and immovable, before AD 1453, and all immovable monuments before AD 1830, are afforded the highest level of protection. More recent objects can also be placed on a higher level of protection if specifically characterised as containing special value;
  • the law defines clear terms to recognise private collectors, outlines their special privileges, the terms of protection and access afforded by private collections, and for the operation of the art market;
  • strict terms of protection are enforced through a system of zones. No building, quarrying etc. activity is permitted within a level A protection zone, while strict regulations apply over building and related activities within a level B protection zone;
  • infringements relating to the protection of cultural heritage (such as theft, damage to monuments, illegal excavation, etc.) are defined in detail, and strong penalties have been introduced;
  • the law defines the prerequisites for conducting archaeological research, including excavation, undertaken by the state archaeological service, academic institutions and foreign archaeological schools active in Greece, and stipulates the obligation of all researchers for the timely publication of their research;
  • clear terms are defined regarding the rewards offered to those bringing hitherto unknown monuments to the attention of the state, as well as remuneration resulting from appropriation or limited use of privately owned land where monuments are found;
  • measures are taken to strengthen control of legal provenance of cultural objects imported to the country or declared as part of a collection. Temporary export of cultural goods, in public or private custodianship, is explicitly allowed for exhibition, conservation, research or educational purposes; and
  • specific requirements, concerning the purpose, the physical infrastructure, the staff, and the terms of operation, are defined to recognise private or public entities as a museum. All state museums, and non-state museums recognised by the state, are required to maintain specific collection management standards and to provide adequate access for research and public enjoyment of their collections; private museums are eligible to receive state subsidies. A national advisory council on museum policy has been established to offer advice to the Minister of Culture.

Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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