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A new Cultural Heritage Act will operate from 2016 and will replace six laws and regulations for both movable and immovable heritage.

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Netherlands/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

Several laws on cultural heritage exist. The most important ones are the following:

  • Monuments and Historic Buildings Act 1988 [Monumentenwet 1988]. Replaced by the Heritage Act on July 1, 2016. This act is the most important instrument for the protection of cultural heritage. It states how monuments can be identified as protected cultural heritage. On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands [Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed or RCE] is responsible for the implementation of the act (see chapter 4.2.2 for more information). In 2007, the Archaeology Act [Wet op de Archeologische Monumentenzorg] was added as an amendment to the earlier Monuments Act in order to implement the Valetta Treaty of 1992 [Verdrag van Malta]. Within this treaty's framework, archaeological monument care and heritage preservation form an integral part of overall environmental planning practices.
  • Cultural Heritage Preservation Act 1984 [Wet tot behoud cultuurbezit]. Replaced by the Heritage Act on July 1, 2016.This act aims to prevent the export of objects that are significant to Dutch cultural history. These objects are placed on a list, protecting their status. As of 2013, the list comprises 240 objects and 23 collections.
  • Public Records Act 1995 [Archiefwet]. Government organisations in the Netherlands have to fulfil a number of legal obligations related to the creation and management of their archives. These obligations also apply to digital information. The outlines for the legal obligations are stated in the Public Records Law. A number of the outline provisions contained in this law are developed in greater detail in its principal executive instrument, the 1995 Decree on Public Records [Archiefbesluit]. Various aspects of this decree are developed in even more detail in ministerial regulations.
  • The Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker, formulated an  integral Heritage Act[Erfgoedwet], protecting all kinds of heritage collections at a national level. The Act is  installed July 1, 2016 and replaces six laws and regulations in the field of cultural heritage, including the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act 1988 and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act 1984 The Cultural Heritage Act regulates matters for both movable and immovable heritage and is an integral part of the Environment Act. Eight issues are addressed: management of the national collection; control of the relationship with national museums; rules for disposing of objects and collections; protection of national monuments; rules for archaeological heritage; the return of cultural goods; finance; supervision and enforcement.  

Chapter published: 15-03-2017

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