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Listed monuments

The Dutch immovable heritage consists of some 60,000 listed monuments. They include 1500 archaeological sites of national importance which are protected by the government.

A further 13,000 archaeological sites have been identified.

The Netherlands also has ten World Heritage sites and some 440 urban and village conservation areas.

Provincial monuments and historic buildings

Provincial monuments are designated by the Provincial Executive in each province in the country. Numbering around 400, such provincial monuments are found only in Noord-Holland, Drenthe and Limburg provinces.

Local authority monuments

Local authority monuments have local or regional importance. There are around 40,000 municipal monuments in the Netherlands. They all feature on the municipal monuments list.

Designation

The Cultural Heritage Agency schedules protected monuments on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Conservation areas are also designated on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. After they have been designated, national scheduled monuments are listed in the Register of monuments.

Register of monuments

The register of monuments contains details of all monuments in the Netherlands that the government has scheduled for protection. These are monuments of national importance. Grants or loans are available only if a monument has been listed in the register.

Protection

Once a building or archaeological site is scheduled, a permit is needed for any restoration, demolition or alteration, or any other activity that may disturb or modify the building or site. Grants are available for maintenance work on scheduled monuments and historic buildings.

To protect the remains of a Roman settlement a city park was planned in this new housing estate in Utrecht.To protect the remains of a Roman settlement a city park was planned in this new housing estate in Utrecht.

Maintenance of monuments

Listed historic buildings and archaeological monuments are protected by law from demolition, radical alterations and disturbance.

To perform any such activities, a licence must be obtained from the local authority, or from the Cultural Heritage Agency in the case of national scheduled monuments.

The government and local authorities do however provide financial support for the costs of maintenance, in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. Whether property owners are eligible for this kind of financial support depends on the type of monument they own.

Loans and grants for the maintenance of monuments

The government provides grants for the conservation and restoration of national scheduled monuments. A number of schemes exist, the main ones being:

  • Scheme for the conservation of listed monuments, intended to support preventive and regular maintenance. Owners of monasteries, castles, windmills and lighthouses, for example, are eligible for grants under this scheme. Owners of residential properties are eligible for a loan.
  • Scheme for redevelopment plan feasibility studies. Grants for property owners to help them explore the options for redevelopment.
  • The ‘wind- and watertight scheme’, intended to protect large, disused historic buildings while plans for their redevelopment are put in place.