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Country Summary for COLOMBIA

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


The Cultural Heritage of Colombia—
1) any movable and immovable…assets which are found to be of special historical, artistic, scientific, esthetic or symbolic or other interest in fields such as visual arts, architecture, cityscapes, archaeology, linguistics, audio, music, audiovisual, film, memorials, documentaries, literature, bibliographical or museum studies, or anthropology;
2) any asset that is part of our archeological heritage is deemed to be of national cultural interest. (Law No. 397, Art. 4, as amended by Law No. 1185, Art.1)

Competent State Agencies

The public agencies of the National System of Cultural Patrimony of the Nation are the Ministry of Culture, the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History [and] the National Archives…. (Law No. 397, Art. 5, as amended by Law No. 1185, Art.2)


Any individual who possesses an asset of archeological value must register it.  Failure to do so within five years of the effective date of this law will be grounds for seizure. (Law No. 397, Art. 6, as amended by Law No. 1185, Art. 3)

The creation of an inventory of assets that are part of Colombia's cultural heritage is fundamental for the understanding, protection and handling of our cultural heritage, wherefore it will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture….No asset may be encumbered nor may liens be filed against any owners thereof by virtue of inclusion in this inventory. (Law No. 397, Art. 14.1, as amended by Law No. 1185, Art. 9)

The government, through the Ministry of Culture and its related agencies (Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History and the National Archives) as well as the regional authorities will create and update a registry of assets of cultural interest in accordance with their respective authorities. The regional authorities, the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History and the National Archives will submit their respective registries on a yearly basis to the Heritage Office at the Ministry of Culture so that they may be incorporated into the National Registry of Assets of Cultural Interest. (Law No. 397, Art. 14.2, as amended by Law No. 1185, Art. 9)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
María Claudia López
Dirección de Patrimonio
Ministerio de Cultura
Calle 9 No. 8-31
Bogotá, Colombia
Ph: 571-342-0984