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Heritage management in the Netherlands

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

The preservation of the Dutch cultural heritage requires a wide range of expertise. The government therefore uses experts from various institutions, three of which are part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

The Cultural Heritage Agency is a research institute and centre of excellence on monuments, historic buildings, archaeology, landscape, and fine and applied arts. The government incorporates the Agency’s specialist knowledge into legislation and rules designed to protect and develop the heritage. The Agency also develops and disseminates knowledge on the management, conservation and accessibility of heritage collections. The Agency itself manages an art collection comprising some 100,000 items. Some of these works are on loan to museums, public buildings and Dutch embassies abroad. The rest are in storage.

National Archives of the Netherlands

The National Archives are the ‘national memory’ of the Netherlands, housing 110 kilometres of documents, photographs and maps from the government and from organisations and individuals of national importance (both past and present).

The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate

The Inspectorate ensures compliance with the law and promotes improvements to the management and care of the cultural heritage. The Inspectorate takes action when necessary in the event of incidents and emergencies.
The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate is an independent body which reports its findings objectively. It also advises the Minister on the quality and effectiveness of legislation.

Council for Culture

The Council for Culture is the statutory advisory body to government and parliament on matters concerning art, culture and the media. It is independent and advises on current policy issues and grant decisions either on request or on its own initiative.

Provincial and local authorities

Provincial and local authorities are responsible for provincial and local authority monuments and historic buildings.
Provincial support centres for the cultural heritage help local authorities implement their heritage policy. Every province has such a centre.

Intangible heritage

The Dutch Centre for Folk Culture and Intangible Heritage aims to strengthen folk culture and the intangible heritage by promoting and providing access to them, stimulating and professionalising the sector and fostering participation. Over the next few years the centre will put the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage into practice.
The Dutch Centre for Folk Culture and Intangible Heritage is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.