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Country Summary for NETHERLANDS

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property

The "Heritage Act 2016" is intended to incorporate all Dutch cultural property laws into one single law.  As such, the Heritage Act repealed and superseded nearly all previous Dutch cutural propery laws, including the Cultural Property Return Act of 2007, the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act of 1988, and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act of 1985. 


Cultural Heritage
: tangible and intangible resources inherited from the past, created in the course of time by people or arising from the interaction between man and the environment that people, irrespective of the ownership thereof, identify as a reflection and expression of continuously evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions, and that offer a frame of reference to them and to future generations.

Cultural Object
: a movable item forming part of cultural heritage.

Collection: cultural objects that belong together from a cultural-historical or scholarly viewpoint.

Monument: immovable property forming part of cultural heritage.

Museological Cultural Object of the State: a cultural object of particular importance that is owned by the State or whose care is entrusted to the State.

Minister: the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. (Heritage Act 2016, 1.1)

The Minister may designate a cultural object as a protected cultural object that is of particular cultural-historical or scholarly significance or exceptional beauty and that, being irreplaceable and indispensable, should be preserved as part of the Dutch cultural heritage. (HA 2016, 3.7(1))

The Minister may designate a collection as a protected collection that is, as a whole or because of one or more of the cultural objects that form a significant part of such collection, of particular cultural-historical or scholarly significance and that, being irreplaceable and indispensable, should be preserved as part of the Dutch cultural heritage. (HA 2016, 3.7(2))

A cultural object shall be deemed to be:
a. irreplaceable if there are no other similar objects or objects of a similar type, or virtually no such objects, to be found in good condition in the Netherlands;
b. indispensable if it has a symbolic function, link function, or benchmark function. (HA 2016, 3.7(4)(a-b))

An item has a:
"symbolic function" if it serves as a clear reminder of persons or events which are of evident importance to the history of the Netherlands.
- "link function" if it serves as an essential element in a development which is of evident importance to the practice of scholarship in the Netherlands, including the study of the history of culture.
- "benchmark function" if it makes an essential contribution to research into, or knowledge of, other objects of artistic or scholarly importance. (CHPA, Sect. 2(3))

Consent of owner necessary for designation
1. Designation of a cultural object as a protected cultural object or inclusion of a cultural object in the catalogue of a protected collection shall require the consent of the owner if said owner:
a. is the creator of said cultural object or the heir of the creator;
b. is the party that brought said cultural object into the Netherlands or that acquired it within five years after it was brought into the Netherlands, or is the heir of one of these. (HA 2016, 3.9(1)(a-b))

This restriction shall only apply to an heir for a period of thirty years, or, if archival material is concerned, fifty years after the death of the legator. (HA 2016, 3.9(3))

Returning a cultural object to the Netherlands from a temporary location elsewhere shall not constitute bringing it into the Netherlands... (HA 2016, 3.9(5)

The Minister shall maintain a register of protected cultural objects and protected collections. (HA 2016, 3.11(1))

The register shall contain:
a. for a protected cultural object: a description and reasons for the designation;
b. for a protected collection: a general description, a list of the cultural objects belonging to the collection, and the reasons for designation of the collection. (HA 2016, 3.11(3)(a-b))

The Minister shall not proceed with designation as a protected cultural object or protected collection if a cultural object, collection, or part thereof:
b. is held by someone who has transferred his/her domicile to the Netherlands temporarily;
c. has been loaned by a non-resident for temporary exhibition in the Netherlands; or
d. in the opinion of Our Minister does not belong in the Netherlands due to similar circumstances. (HA
2016, 3.10(1))

National Monuments
The Minister may designate a monument or archaeological monument which is of general interest because of its beauty, scholarly significance, or cultural-historical value as a national monument. (HA
2016, 3.1(1))

The Minister shall maintain a register of listed national monuments; it shall be open for consultation by all. (HA 2016, 3.3(1-2))

The register of national monuments shall contain information regarding the registration and for identification of the national monuments. (HA 2016, 3.3(4)

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
Cultural Heritage Inspectorate
Rijnstraat 50
P.O. Box 16478
NL-2500 BL The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel: 31 (0)70 412 4012