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Cultural Access and Participation - Elements in European Constitutions

For more information see individual country profiles:
Chapter 5.1.1 "Constitution" and Chapter 2.2 "National Definition of Culture"


Constitutional elements related to cultural access and participation

Elements related to cultural access and participation of minorities or other groups


  • Freedom of artistic creation (Art. 58)
  • Rights of all ethnic minorities to preserve and develop their cultural, religious, ethnic and linguistic identity (Art. 20)
  • Right of Albanian citizens living abroad to preserve and develop their ties with their national cultural inheritance (heritage) (Art. 8)


  • Everyone has the right to freedom of literary, aesthetic, scientific and technical creation, to make use of scientific advancement and to participate in cultural life (At 40)
  • Everyone has the right to preserve his or her national and ethnic identity. Persons belonging to national minorities have the right to preservation and development of their traditions, religion, language and culture Art. 41)


  • Everyone has the right to take part in cultural life, to use organizations and values of culture. (Art. 40 I)
  • Everyone must respect historical, cultural and spiritual inheritance, take care of it, protect historical and cultural memorials  (Art.40 II)
  • Freedom to creative activity (Art. 51)
  • Each person has a right to keep their national-cultural identity and to choose their own moral, aesthetic and other values; the state promotes the right to their cultural identity (Art. 8 Law on Culture)


  • Freedom of the arts (Basic Law on Civil Rights. Paragraph 17a)



  • Dignified life (incl. culture) (Art. 23)
  • Freedom of expression (Art. 19)
  • Right to cultural development (Art. 23, 5)
  • [Cultural rights of minorities]

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Freedom of expression (Art. 2)
  • Cultural rights of minorities


  • Conditions conductive to the free development of science, education and the arts, and shall assist that development. (Art. 23)
  • Freedom of expression (Art. 39)
  • Right to avail himself of the national and universal human cultural values and to develop his own culture in accordance with his ethnic self-identification (Art. 54)
  • Artistic, scientific and technological creativity shall be recognised and guaranteed by the law (Art. 54)
  • Right to avail himself of the national and universal human cultural values and to develop his own culture in accordance with his ethnic self-identification (Art. 54)
  • [Cultural rights of nationals living abroad]


  • Freedom of scientific, cultural and artistic creativity and the state is obliged to stimulate and help their development (Art. 69)
  • The freedom of the members of all national minorities to express their nationality, to use their language and script, and to exercise cultural autonomy shall be guaranteed. (Art. 15)
  • [Adequate cultural conditions of life for young people]

Czech Republic

  • Protection of cultural, material and spiritual heritage (Preamble)
  • Right to freedom of scholarly research and artistic creation Art. 15)
  • Right of access to cultural wealth is guaranteed (Art. 34)
  • Rights of national and ethnic minorities to education in one's own language, the right to develop one's own culture and the right to associate in national associations (Art. 25)


  • Liberty to publish his ideas in print, in writing, and in speech (Art. 77)



  • Preservation of the Estonian nation and culture through the ages (Preamble)
  • Freedom of speech and self-expression, while the incitement of national, racial, religious or political hatred, violence or discrimination is prohibited (Art. 9-12)
  • National minorities have the right, in the interests of national culture, to establish self-governing agencies under conditions and pursuant to procedure provided by the National Minorities Cultural Autonomy Act. (Art. 50)


  • Right to one's language and culture (chapter 2, section 17)
  • Freedom of expression (chapter 2, section 11)
  • Freedom of science, art and higher education (chapter 2, section 16)
  • Right to cultural autonomy for the Sami living in the Sami Homeland municipalities (chapter 11, section 121)


  • Right to equal access of the child and the adult to instruction, professional formation and culture (Preamble, section 13)
  • Access to culture of young people (Preamble, section 13)


  • Citizens of Georgia are equal in social, economic, cultural and political life regardless of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic origin. The freedom of citizens to use freely their native language and to develop their culture is safeguarded (Art. 38)
  • The state shall maintain the development of culture, unrestricted participation of citizens in cultural life, expression and enrichment of cultural origins, recognition of national and generic values and a deepening of international cultural relations. Each citizen of Georgia shall be obliged to protect and preserve the cultural heritage (Art. 34)
  • The freedom of intellectual creation shall be guaranteed (Art. 23)
  • Citizens of Georgia are equal in social, economic, cultural and political life regardless of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic origin. The freedom of citizens to use freely their native language and to develop their culture is safeguarded (Art. 38)


  • Right to free development of everyone's personality (Art. 2)
  • Right to freely express and disseminate his opinion in speech, writing, and pictures (Art. 5)
  • The arts and science, research, and teaching shall be free (Article 5.III)
  • Specific national minority rights in some Länder constitutions


  • Art and science, research and teaching shall be free and their development and promotion shall be an obligation of the State (Art. 16)
  • Protection of the cultural environment is a right of all and an obligation of the state (Art. 24)
  • Freedom of artistic expression (Art. 14)



  • Right to culture (Art. P)
  • Freedom of scientific research and artistic creation (Art. X)
  • [Access to culture and/or cultural creation of young people]
  • National and ethnic minorities will have the right to use their own languages, to use their names in their own languages, to foster their culture and to education in their own languages (Art. 27)





  • The Republic promotes the development of culture…and protects the historic and artistic heritage of the Nation (Art. 9)
  • Freedom of expression (Art. 21)
  • Art and science, as well as their teaching, are free (Art. 33)



  • [Right to culture]
  • Freedom of scientific research, artistic, and other creative activity (Art. 113)
  • Persons belonging to ethnic minorities have the right to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity (Art. 114)


  • Right to cultural independence, freedom and diversity (Art. 3)
  • Promotion of the overall welfare of the People (Art. 14)



  • Right to culture. Culture, science, research and teaching shall be unrestricted. The state shall support culture and science, and shall ensure protection of monuments of Lithuania's history and art as well as of other cultural monuments and treasures. (Art. 42)
  • Ethnic communities of citizens shall independently manage the affairs of their ethnic culture, education, charity, and mutual assistance. (Art. 45)

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

  • The Republic stimulates, assists and protects the development of scholarship, the arts and culture. (Art. 47)
  • Protection of the cultural and historical heritage (Art. 56)
  • Freedom of scholarly, artistic and other forms of creative work is guaranteed (Art. 47)
  • Right of the different ethnic or national groups to establish institutions for culture and art (Amend. 8)


  • Promote the development of culture and scientific and technical research (Art. 8)
  • The State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the nation. (Art.9)



  • Right to preserve, develop and express their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity (Art. 10)
  • [Right to participate in cultural life]
  • The state contributes to the keeping, developing and promoting of achievements of culture and science, nationally and globally (Art. 33)
  • The liberty of artistic and scientific creation is guaranteed (Art. 33)
  • Conditions enabling the young people to take part freely in the social, economic, cultural and sporting life of the country (Art. 50)


  • Preservation of cultural identity (Art. 79)
  • Freedom of scientific, cultural and artistic creation shall be guaranteed (Art. 76)
  • The state shall encourage and support the development of education, science, culture, arts, sport, physical and technical culture. The state shall protect the scientific, cultural, artistic and historic values. (Art. 77)
  • Cultural rights of minorities (Art. 79)


  • The government is assigned to create adequate conditions for cultural development for all citizens and for their recreation (Art. 22)
  • Freedom of expression (Art. 7)



  • Freedom of expression (Art. 100)
  • Rights of the Sami people to preserve and develop their language, culture and way of life (Art. 100a)


  • The Republic of Poland shall provide conditions for the people's equal access to the products of culture which are the source of the Nation's identity, continuity and development. (Art. 6)
  • The freedom of artistic creation and scientific research as well as dissemination of the fruits thereof, the freedom to teach and to enjoy the products of culture, shall be ensured to everyone. (Art. 73)
  • National or ethnic minorities the freedom to maintain and develop their own language, to maintain customs and traditions, and to develop their own culture. (Art. 35)
  • The Republic of Poland shall provide assistance to Poles living abroad to maintain their links with the national cultural heritage (Art. 6)


  • Everyone shall possess the right to education and culture (Art. 73
  • Access to culture and/or cultural creation (Art. 78)
  • Everyone has the right to cultural enjoyment and creativity, and the duty to preserve, protect and extend the cultural heritage (Art. 78)
  • State shall promote the democratisation of culture by encouraging and guaranteeing access by all citizens to the fruits of culture and cultural creativity (Art. 78)
  • The Portuguese Republic aim to achieve economic, social, and cultural democracy and to push participatory democracy further (Art. 2)
  • Cultural rights of disabled and elderly (Art. 72)
  • Young people, especially young people at work, receive special protection for the purpose of effective enjoyment of their economic, social, and cultural rights (Art. 70)


  • Access to culture is guaranteed by law (Art. 33)
  • Freedom to develop his / her spirituality, and to get access to the values of national and universal culture, shall not be limited (Art. 33, 2)
  • The State must make sure that spiritual identity is preserved, national culture is supported, arts are stimulated, cultural legacy is protected and preserved, contemporary creativity is developed, and Romania's cultural and artistic values are promoted throughout the world. (Art. 33, 3)
  • Right of persons belonging to national minorities to preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity (Art. 6)
  • Participation in cultural life of young people (Art. 49)
  • The State shall support the strengthening of links with the Romanians living abroad and shall act accordingly for the preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity, with the observance of the legislation of the State whose citizens they are (Art.7)

Russian Federation

  • Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of literary, artistic, scientific, technical and other types of creative activity, and teaching (art. 44, 1)
  • Everyone shall have the right to participate in cultural life and use cultural establishments and to an access to cultural values. (Art. 44, 2)
  • Citizens' obligation to preserve cultural heritage and safeguard cultural landmarks (Art. 44, 3)
  • Right to use mother tongue languages and the freedom to choose the language of communication, education, learning and creativity (Art. 26)
  • Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of ideas and speech. (Art. 29)
  • Rights of indigenous peoples according to norms and principles of international law (Art. 69)

San Marino

  • Arts, science and education shall be free (Art. 6)
  • Participation in cultural life is guaranteed to all, without any restrictions, by the state (Art. 6)



  • Freedom of scientific and artistic work (Art. 73)
  • Republic of Serbia encourages and helps the development of science, culture and the arts (Art.73)
  • Development of a spirit of tolerance between all the people living on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, through education, culture and the media (Art. 81)
  • Republic of Serbia protects the rights of national minorities and guarantees them special protection, equality and preservation of their identity. (Art. 14)
  • Right of national minorities to form their own educational and cultural organisations which they finance voluntarily, as well as the right to links with their compatriots outside the territory of the Republic of Serbia (Art. 79)


  • Everybody is obliged to protect and enhance an environmental and cultural heritage (Art. 44)
  • Freedom of scientific research and art (Art. 43, 1)
  • Right of access to the cultural heritage is guaranteed Art. 43, 2)
  • Development of spiritual, cultural and economic prosperity (Preamble)
  • National minority or ethnic group are guaranteed the right to develop their own culture and, together with other members of national minority or ethnic groups, the right to spread and receive information in their mother tongue, to associate in national associations, and to establish and maintain educational and cultural institutions (Art. 34)
  • Slovak Republic supports the national awareness and cultural identity of Slovaks living abroad


  • Freedom of artistic expression (Art. 59)
  • The state shall provide for the preservation of the natural wealth and cultural heritage and create opportunities for the harmonious development of society and culture in Slovenia. (Art. 5)
  • Recognised autochthonous minorities, the Hungarian and the Italian, are guaranteed special rights (Art.64)
  • The state shall maintain concern for autochthonous Slovene national minorities in neighbouring countries and for Slovene emigrants and workers abroad and shall foster their contacts with the homeland (Art. 5)


  • Promote the progress of culture and of the economy to ensure a dignified quality of life for all. (Preamble)
  • Participation of all citizens in political, economic, cultural and social life (section 9, 2)
  • Right to literary, artistic, scientific and technical production and creation. (section 20, 1, b)
  • The public authorities shall promote and watch over access to culture, to which all are entitled. (section 44, 1)
  • The public authorities shall promote conditions for the free and effective participation of young people in political, social, economic and cultural development. (section 48)
  • The public authorities shall promote the welfare of citizens in old age through a system of social services that provides for their specific problems of health, housing, culture and leisure. (section 50)


  • The personal, economic and cultural welfare of the private person shall be a fundamental aim of public activity (Art. 2 Chapter 1)
  • Freedom of expression (Art. 1, Chapter 2)
  • Opportunities should be promoted for ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities to preserve and develop a cultural and social life of their own (Art. 2, Chapter 1)


  • The Swiss Federation promotes common welfare, sustainable development, inner cohesion, and cultural diversity of the country (Art. 2, 2)
  • The freedom of art is guaranteed. (Art. 21)
  • Children and young people are supported in their development to become independent and socially responsible persons as well as in their social, cultural and political integration (Art. 41, 1, g)


  • State provides the framework for the consolidation and development of the Ukrainian nation, its historical awareness, traditions and culture and guarantees the free ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious development of all indigenous nations and national minorities of the Ukraine (Art. 11)
  • Freedom of literary, artistic, scientific, and technical creativity is guaranteed (Art. 54)
  • Ukraine takes care of cultural and language needs of Ukrainians living abroad (Art. 12)

United Kingdom

  • N/A (Absence of a formal constitution. In December 2012, a majority of the members of the "Commission on a Bill of Rights" spoke out in favour of the creation of a UK Bill of Rights - on the basis that such a Bill would incorporate and build on all of the UK's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights)



  • Protection of arts and artists


Source: Council of Europe/ERICarts, Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe, 19th edition, 2017, with additional sources (most of them official national websites)

Note: This overview has been drafted by Olivier Göbel (ERICarts Institute). It will be updated by experts of the Compendium community of practice, in particular, by members of the new Compendium Expert Group on "Legal Affairs and Cultural / Human Rights".
At the outset, this table was inspired by a different comparative approach provided in Annamari Laaksonen: "Making Culture Accessible" (Strasbourg 2010, p. 49-51). Elements from Laaksonen's publication that could not (yet) be verified are marked this way: [  ]