Chronology of protection of cultural property

From the beginnings of the cultural property protection to today's legislation: Learn more about how awareness of the protection of our cultural heritage evolved over several centuries into a common international task.
  • 1425
    – 1802
    Italy becomes active in the protection of cultural property in the 15th century
    Italy becomes active in the protection of cultural property in the 15th century
  • 1825/26
    Greece formulates an initial decree concerning the preservation of its national heritage
    The Hellenes owe a debt of gratitude to the freedom fighter Grigorios Dikaios for the initiative for the protection of antiquities and the foundation of museums.
  • 1827
    Mexico establishes customs regulations
    The regulations regulate the export of archaeological cultural property.
  • 1835
    The province of Egypt launches legal regulations for cultural protection within the Ottoman Empire
    The Governor Mohammed Ali orders a ban on exports and decrees that only the government may decide on excavations, collections and exhibitions of antiquities.
  • 1869
    The Ottoman Empire takes measures against the export of its cultural heritage
    With the entry into force of an edict of the Vizier Safiet Pasha, Constantinople becomes the destination of all antiquities. Their export is prohibited.
  • 1954
    The Hague Convention is launched
    Due to the immense destruction of the Second World War, the protection of cultural property of any countries involved in armed conflicts becomes regulated internationally.
  • 1970
    The UNESCO General Conference adopts measures to ban and prevent the illegal import, export and transfer of cultural property
    For the first time, there is a definition of the term ‘cultural property’ in international law.
  • 1972
    UNESCO adopts the Convention concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage
    The aim of the Convention is to counteract the increasing threat to extraordinary natural and cultural property in order to preserve them for future generations.
  • 1983
    Egypt strengthens its measures to protect national heritage with the passage of Law No. 117
    The law sets new standards through numerous changes.
  • 1992
    The Council of the European Community adopts Regulation (EEC) No 3911/92 on the export of cultural property
    It harmonizes control over the export of cultural goods at the external borders of the European Community.
  • 1995
    UNIDROIT adopts the Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects
    The international treaty strengthens the UNESCO 1970 Convention.
  • 1999
    The Hague Convention of 1954 is supplemented by the so-called second Protocol
    More than 40 years after the conclusion of the Hague Convention, social developments call for improved protection of cultural property during armed conflicts. Against this background, the convention is made more precise and expanded.
  • 2001
    UNESCO creates internationally binding rules for dealing with cultural heritage found under water
    The protection of cultural heritage under water is adapted to correspond to the protection of cultural heritage on land.
  • 2003
    The EU protects Iraq’s cultural property through the passage of Regulation No. 1210/2003
    Member States agree on a ban on the import, export and trade of certain Iraqi cultural property in the European Economic Area.
  • 2009
    The EU opposes the export of cultural property through the passage of Regulation (EC) No. 116/2009
    The international community agrees on a ban on the illegal export of cultural property from the economic area of the EU to third countries.
  • 2013
    The EU protects Syria’s cultural property through the passage of Regulation No. 1332/2013
    With this, the EU amends Regulation No. 36/2012. Thus, there is an uniform EU regulation for an import and export ban as well as a trade ban for cultural property from Syria.
  • 2014
    The EU expands its requirements for the protection of cultural property through the passage of Directive 2014/60/EU
    The document regulates the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed and at the same time constitutes an amendment to Regulation No. 1024/201.
  • 2019
    The European Parliament and the European Council agree on Regulation (EU) 2019/880 on the movement and import of cultural property
    Cultural goods from third countries should be protected against their illegal importation into the internal market and their being marketed there. In addition, cultural property illegally exported from countries of origin outside the EU may not be brought into the EU. The import or repatriation of European cultural property remains possible.