Cultural Heritage Law

Teaching Staff: Kanellopoulou - Botti Maria Kalliopi
Course Code: MUS999
Field: Museology
Course Category: General Background
Course Type: Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Delivery method: Face to face
Semester: 7th
Total Hours: 3
Short Description:

The course ‘Cultural Heritage Law’ comprises 13 classes and is taught at the 8th semester. It deals with the main International Conventions, the national laws and Ethics Codes on the protection of cultural heritage and museum ethics.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

The objective of the courses is to offer knowledge generally on the law of protection of cultural heritage and the acquaintance of the students with the main international conventions, the Greek statutes and the Code of Ethics on cultural heritage and museums.

After the successful completion of the course, the students will have mastered the main knowledge on the sources of law and ethics of cultural heritage, to distinguish amongst the various kinds of cultural heritage, to master the main theories on cultural goods, to know the legislative rules on access to museums and archaeological material, to know the rules and practice of the restitution of cultural property and the return of cultural goods to their rightful owners or states and also, to master special matters such as the legal treatment of archives as cultural goods under L 3028/2002.


1st class. Introduction to cultural heritage law. Distinctions of law, ethics, morality and foundations of law and ethics in cultural property. The history of the protection of cultural heritage and main institutions for the protection of cultural heritage, international and national.

2nd class. Cultural goods. Material and immaterial, moveable and immoveable, natural cultural goods, digital cultural goods. Monuments as cultural goods. Special cultural goods (ecclesiastical, traditional, folklore and others and special regulations. Digical cultural heritage/property. Theory and evolution of the protection of cultural goods, internationally and in Greece. The development of national cultural identity and cultural pluralism.

3rd class. International and European cultural heritage law. International Conventions: The Hague Convention 1954-Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, UNESCO Convention, UNIDROIT Convention 1995 and others. Comparisons, similarities, differences and applications. The input of the European Community in the protection of cultural heritage.

4th class. Cultural internationalism and cultural nationalism. Theoretical foundations and applications. International practice and jurisprudence on cultural internationalism and cultural nationalism. The example of the Parthenon Marbles-history and evolution of the case for their restitution in Greece.

5th class. Constitutional protection of cultural heritage. Tne protection of natural and cultural environment under the Greek Constitution. Interpretation and caselaw. The relation of the right to natural and cultural environment and the civil right to property. The executive provisions of the Law 3028/2002. Constitution and cultural policy. The role of the courts.

6th class. The Law 3028/2002. Main provisions. The expansion of the object of protection. Equitable protection of cultural goods and of the personal and collective activity of people. Provisions on archaeological research on the field. Provisions on the movement of cultural goods.
7th class. Museums and promotion of cultural property. The founding of the first museums. Law on the function of museums in Greece. Accreditation of museums. Definition of a museum, the law and ICOM. Comparative aspects of accreditation of museums internationally.

8th class. Access to cultural property. Right to access museums. Freedom of art, of science and research, free development of personality as a human right, freedom of expression and freedom of information. The right to culture. UNESCO Recommendation on museums accessible to all. Legal provisions on access to state archaeological museums and the use of their collections and premises.

9th class. ICOM Code of Ethics. Museums, interpretation and cultural heritage, social aspects, contribution to knowledge, understanding and management of cultural heritage, collaboations, respect of the law, ethics and respect of communities represented in the museums, professional museum ethics.

10th class. The law on access to archaeological material. The limitation of access to unpublished archaeological material by the law. Previous laws and international instruments. Administrative practice and constitutional concerns. Access to public cultural information. Institutional regulation of archaeological research.

11th class. Reproduction and copying of museum objects in collections. Copyright and museums, the rights of the State. The regulation of : 3028/2002. Directtive 2019/790 on intellectual property in the Digital single market and reproductions of cultural goods.

12th class. Restitution of cultural goods. Stolen cultural goods and illegally exported cultural goods consisting national cultural heritage. International conventions on restitution of cultural goods. The law of the European Union. Standing to sue. Applicable law-lex rei sitae. Caselaw. The question of the good faith in the buyer and the international Conventions (UNESCO, UNIDROIT) on restitution.

13th class. Special issues on protection of cultural property. Webarchiving and the law-National Library if Greece and webharvesting/arvhiving. The regulation of other countries in the European Union and beyond. Archives as national cultural goods. The application of the laws 3028/2002 and 4610/2019 on the General Archives of the State and the protection of archives. The restitution of archives to their country of origin. The destruction of archives at times of war and the efforts to salvage them.

Suggested Bibliography:
  • Voudouri D., (2003). The State and the Museums, Sakkoulas 2003 (in Greek).
  • Chrisochoidou A., (2019). Restitution of Cultural Goods, Nomiki Vivliothiki 2019 (in Greek)


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