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Cultural heritage in the Netherlands

How is heritage management arranged in this country? 

The Central government is responsible for the protection and sustainable preservation of the cultural heritage of national importance.

Read more about how heritage management is arranged >

What do we regard as ‘cultural heritage’ in the Netherlands?

Generally speaking, the work of the Cultural Heritage Agency involves:

Movable heritage

The Dutch Collection comprises all the movable cultural heritage that is accessible to the public.

A large proportion of this heritage is cared for by museums. Some of it is managed by churches, universities (the academic heritage), local and regional authorities and companies (historic corporate collections).

The Dutch Collection includes the state art collection, which is managed by national museums, government ministries, and by the Cultural Heritage Agency on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Read more about movable heritage >

Immovable heritage

  • Monuments and historic buildings

Monuments and historic buildings are immovable objects created by humans that are important because of their beauty, academic significance or cultural heritage value. 

Read more about monuments and historic buildings >

  • Archaeology

This comprises all the features and remains of human occupation preserved in the Dutch soil, from the very beginnings some 300,000 years ago up to the Second World War. It also includes the natural landscape context in which those features and remains are found.

Read more about archaeology >

  • Historic landscape (and historic setting)

This comprises all of our landscape, including what lies buried, both on land and underwater, and in both urban and rural areas.

It includes:

  • urban and village conservation areas
  • the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie water-based defencesystem
  • the maritime heritage
  • world heritage