International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

The Netherlands


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State.* Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of the Netherlands

Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and Mondrian are some of the most famous Dutch masters. The Netherlands have a long and rich history, which is still visible in mansions, canals, churches, city walls and harbours. This heritage is subject to reinterpretation, research and debate in various heritage sites. A favorable climate towards the arts combined with dedicated policies over the last decades permitted the development of a rich and vibrant cultural and creative sector. The Netherlands is a market leader in the export of creative products and services, with a share of 29.5% worldwide, ranking in 8th place across the globe (Compendium).

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

The Heritage Act protects the national museum objects, museums, monuments and archaeology on land and underwater. The act was passed on July 1st, 2016 and replaced six laws and regulations in the field of cultural heritage, including the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act (1988) and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (1984). The Heritage Act regulates matters for both movable and immovable heritage and is an integral part of the Environment Act. Eight issues are addressed: management of the national collection; control of the relationship with national museums; rules for disposing of objects and collections; protection of national monuments; rules for archaeological heritage; the return of cultural goods; finance; supervision and enforcement.

In 2021, the Environment and Planning Act will come into effect. In a similar manner as the Heritage Act, the Environment and Planning Act will replace and modernise multiple existing laws regarding water, air, soil, nature, infrastructure, buildings and cultural heritage in the living environment: “The new act will result in fewer regulations and will reduce the burden of conducting studies. At the same time, decisions on projects and activities can be made better and more quickly. Moreover, the act is more in line with European regulations and allows more room for private initiatives.” The Monuments and Historic Buildings Act is one of the laws that has been partly absorbed in the Environment and Planning Act. Components of the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act that are not related to the living environment are included in the above mentioned Heritage Act. Thus, the Environment and Planning Act will regulate cultural heritage in the physical living environment while the Heritage Act contains the interpretation of heritage and the care of cultural property in government ownership. The following elements will be included in the Environment and Planning Act: permits for (archaeological) national monuments; the protection and preservation of the specific historic character of a village, town or city; the appointment of a monument committee; the need to take cultural heritage into account in environmental plans; and the designation of provincial and municipal monuments.

The Public Records Act (1995) regulates the management and access of government archives, including digital information. Government organizations have legal obligations regarding their archive, for example that archives have to be publically accessible. The Public Records Act is mainly implemented by the Decree on Public Records (1995), which details a number of the provisions of the act. Various aspects of this decree are developed in even further detail in ministerial regulations.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

The Netherlands has 10 cultural and natural properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Adhesion to ICCROM

Netherlands is a Member State of ICCROM since 14/04/1959

Within ICCROM

Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 1958-1960: Jan K. Van der Haagen
  • 1960-1975: Arthur Van Schendel
  • 1975-1990: Johan Lodewijks
  • 1990-2001: Mansfield Kirby Talley, Jr
  • 2006-2013: Alberto De Tagle
  • 2016-2023: Michaëla Hanssen

ICCROM Staff since 1959: - None -

Involvement of Dutch Nationals

Activities in/with the Netherlands since 2002


Activities details

Activities details


  • 2002 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2003 - 4 Mission(s), 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2004 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2005 - 3 Course(s), 3 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2006 - 1 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 2 Course(s), 5 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2008 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2009 - 2 Course(s), 4 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 3 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 1 Course(s), 2 Mission(s)
  • 2012 - 2 Course(s), 4 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2013 - 5 Mission(s)
  • 2014 - 4 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 2 Course(s), 6 Mission(s), 3 Partnership(s)
  • 2016 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2017 - 4 Mission(s), 4 Partnership(s)
  • 2018 - 3 Course(s), 6 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 1 Course(s), 4 Mission(s)


External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions


* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.