There are two main acts regulating the cultural heritage sector:
- the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, 2008, which applies to all kinds of movable and immovable cultural heritage; and
- the Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act, 2006.
Others refer just to some specific aspects (such as the Law on the Return of Unlawfully Removed Objects of Cultural Heritage, 2003) that regulate the return of movable objects of cultural heritage that have been unlawfully removed from the territory of the Republic of Slovenia and brought to the territory of any EU member states or vice versa) or individual monuments / natural sights (such as the Lipica Stud Farm Act, the Regional Park Škocjanske jame Act, the National Park Triglav Act).
The Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act governs the methods, organisation, infrastructure and implementation of capture and storage of documents in physical and electronic form, the effectiveness and value of such materials, the protection of archives and conditions for use of archives. It defines the tasks of archival institutions and the public archival service, as well as related services. The supervision over the implementation of its mandatory obligations is regulated accordingly.
The main dissent during the legislative procedure concerned the idea to integrate all of the six regional archives into the Slovenian National Archive, which is already a part of the Ministry of Culture. Due to very powerful lobbying, regional archives preserve their autonomy and remain separate legal entities.
The protection of natural heritage is regulated by the Nature Conservation Act. Until 1999, natural and cultural heritage were regulated within the same law and within the same office. In 1999, natural heritage came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment, Space and Energy, while cultural heritage remained under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture. ZVKD wishes to at least partly overcome the division of cultural and natural heritage by the introduction of unified insurance of cultural heritage and nature in the case of territories which contain, besides extraordinary cultural values, the values of nature as well. In practice, such unified insurance is so far not available.
The immovable cultural heritage is regulated by different laws managing space, buildings, regional development and spatial document development on the national and local levels. Although the new Cultural Heritage Protection Act was adopted in 2008, this law hasn’t brought major reform to the previous regulation but represents further improvement and modernisation of the system that was launched as a part of the transition from the socialist regime, imposing collective property of cultural monuments, to democratic order based on private property.
It regulates procedures for the protection of movable and intangible cultural heritage and governs its protection by determining the responsibilities of public authorities; the obligations and rights of owners of cultural heritage; professional supervision and inspection in this area; and sanctions in the event of violations of the provisions of these responsibilities. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Slovenia remains a separate public institution. In 1999, seven regional institutes for monument protection lost their independent status and were merged into a national institute that is also responsible for restoration and preventive archaeology.
The aim of the revision of current legislation is to suppress those problems that haven’t been successfully solved by previous legal provisions. Among them are:
- improvement of cultural heritage management, which should also contribute to better legal security of owners;
- assurance of the legal foundation for holistic maintenance of heritage and assertion of its developmental potential;
- the protection of intangible heritage;
- harmonisation of conservation practices and standards;
- in the field of archaeology the law brings a shift of accent in protection from the phase of excavation to the phase of planning with the objective of distraction of interventions in archaeological heritage;
- rationalisation of public services in the field of cultural heritage (simplification of procedures for promotion and public awareness, more precise conditions for permission regarding interventions, the introduction of conservation plans as the foundation for complex measures as well as conservation plans for renovation as part of a more detailed spatial act for maintenance and development of territories of heritage protection);
- besides providing a new way of financing archaeological research, it enables better flexibility by investment of resources such as the possibility of compensation for reduced economic use; co financing of interest on loans; adherence of values of works in nature which are ensured by the owner as his coinvestment share, the possibility of co financing of multi-year long municipal programmes of monumental renovation.
- modernisation of the unified register of cultural heritage, preparation of unified presentation of evaluation of heritage in its special context and definition of new tasks in the field of digitalisation of heritage;
- rationalisation of public services in the field of cultural heritage including administrative procedures;
- clarification of monument protection taking into consideration future regionalisation
- introduction of the concept of public benefit of protection of cultural heritage; and
- more respect for the rights of owners of cultural monuments.
The most important substantial innovation is the introduction of the so called authorised museums for the execution of state public service for the protection of cultural heritage with the ambition to solve the problem of the last twenty years when around 25 local museums have been funded by state without clear criteria and performance standards (see chapter 1.2.2). This service encompasses identification, documentation, valorisation, interpretation, and research of cultural heritage and its protection, administration, presentation and popularisation. It is up to special degree or contract to define the scope of these tasks to be funded by state, but not more than 80% of total budget of individual museum. The rest of funding is delegated to local communities. With the novel from December 2008 the implementation of this provision is postponed until 1 January 2010.
The Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage enables the work of volunteers (with appropriate education) in the public service of protection, which can include internships, gaining work experience towards qualifications or performing other jobs. The law also anticipates the activity of volunteers-confidants, whose task is development of public awareness about heritage and assistance in protection activities.
The current Coalition Contract 2012-2015 anticipates the realisation of the following objectives in the field of cultural heritage:
- changes to protective and other legislation which will enhance investment in cultural heritage;
- more appropriate measures for maintenance of the cultural landscape; and
- inclusion of heritage and cultural events in a more complete tourism offer and sustainable economy development.