Cultural Heritage can be described as the cultural legacy inherited from previous generations, a legacy which we often want to identify and preserve because it reinforces our cultural identity or sense of who we are as a people. Communities and nations are interested in celebrating and preserving their heritage, and governments have enacted laws to protect cultural resources. Throughout history the term Cultural Heritage has had many different meanings. Recent decades have seen the concept of heritage — much like that of culture — undergoing significant changes. Cultural Heritage distinguishes between Tangible Cultural Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage. Tangible Cultural Heritage can include archaeological sites, artifacts, buildings, historic sites, monuments, graves, and culturally significant landscapes such as sacred places. Intangible Cultural Heritage includes language, oral histories, beliefs, practices, rituals, ceremonies, customs, traditions, music, dance, crafts, and other arts. The modern concept of Cultural Heritage in our time is an open one, reflecting living culture every bit as much as that of the past. In order to properly maintain and guarantee the future existence of world heritage sites, Cultural Heritage law is absolutely vital to States, intergovernmental organizations and non-State actors. The most important international organization that deals with Cultural Heritage is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO has been charged with assisting States to develop legal instruments to better protect Cultural Heritage and to also help in updating and reforming cultural policies.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research in the field of Cultural Heritage. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keyword) Cultural Heritage is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Forrest, C.J.S., International Law and the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Abingdon, Routledge, 2010.
- Hoffman, B.T. (ed), Art and Cultural Heritage : Law, Policy, and Practice, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
- Nafziger, J.A.R., R.K. Paterson and A.D. Renteln (eds.), Cultural Law: International, Comparative, and Indigenous, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Kearney, A., " Intangible Cultural Heritage: Global Awareness and Local Internet", in L. Smith and N. Akagawa (eds.), Intangible Heritage, London, Routledge, 2009, pp. 209-225.
- Kouroupas, M.P., "Preservation of Cultural Heritage: a Tool of International Public Diplomacy", in J.A.R. Nafziger (ed.), Cultural Heritage Issues: the Legacy of Conquest, Colonization and Commerce?, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2009, pp. 325-334.
- Renold, M.A., "Stolen Art: the Ubiquitous Question of Good Faith", in Resolution of Cultural Property Disputes, The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 2004, pp. 251-263.
- Scovazzi, T., "La Convention pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel", in B. Vukas (ed.), International Law: New Actors, New Concepts, Continuing Dilemmas: Liber Amicorum Božidar Bakotić, Leiden, Brill, 2010, pp. 301-317.
- Srinivasan, M., S.R. Pandian and A. Enoch, "International Crimes: Cyber Crime, Crimes against Cultural Heritage, Environmental Crimes, and Money Laundering", in S. Kethineni (ed.), Comparative and International Policing, Justice, and Transnational Crime, Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2010, pp. 385-408.
- Symeonides, S.C., "A Choice-of-Law Rule for Conflicts Involving Stolen Cultural Property", Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 38 (2005), No. 4, pp. 1177-1198.
- Vrdoljak, A.F., "Unravelling the Cradle of Civilization 'Layer by Layer': Iraq, its Peoples and Cultural Heritage", in M. Langfield, W. Logan and M.N. Craith (eds.), Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights: Intersections in Theory and Practice, London, Routledge, 2010, pp. 62-82.
- Warren, J., "War and the Cultural Heritage of Iraq: a Sadly Mismanaged Affair", in S. Barakat, Reconstructing Post-Saddam Iraq, Abingdon, Routledge, 2008, pp. 251-266.
- "Documents : a Selection of Codes of Ethics : Archaeological Institute of America", in : '' International Journal of Cultural Property, 7 (1998) 1, pp. 190-241
Periodicals, serial publications
- Aedon: rivista di arte e diritto on line
- Art, Antiquity and Law
- DePaul-LCA Journal of Art & Entertainment Law
- International Journal of Cultural Property
- Yearbook of Cultural Property Law
- Bruhn, P., Beutekunst: Bibliographie des internationalen Schrifttums über das Schicksal des im Zweiten Weltkrieg von der Roten Armee in Deutschland erbeuteten Kulturgutes, München, Otto Sagner, 2003.
- Fiedler, W. and S. Turner, Bibliography on the Law of the International Protection of Cultural Property, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2003.
- Statius Muller, M. and H. Thyssen, "Selected Bibliography", in The Cultural Heritage of Mankind, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2008, pp. 883-1037.
1. The Role of the Private International Law Act and the Cultural Property Protection Act of Korea as Means of Protecting Cultural Property from International Illicit Transactions and the Proposal for Improvement
Keywords: South Korea, Cultural property, Cultural heritage, Unesco Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17 October 2003), Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (Rome, 24 June 1995), Private international law,
Blake, J., International Cultural Heritage Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the development of international cultural heritage law and policy since 1945. It sets out the international (including regional) law currently governing the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage in peace time, as well as international cultural policy-making. In addition to analysing the relevant legal frameworks, it focuses on the broader policy and other contexts within which and in response to which this law has developed. Following this approach, attention is paid to: introducing international cultural heritage law and its place in international law generally; illicit excavation and the illegal trade in archaeological finds; protection of underwater cultural heritage; the relationship between cultural heritage and the environment; intangible aspects of heritage and their safeguarding; cultural heritage as traditional knowledge and creativity; regional approaches to protection; and human rights issues related to cultural heritage. In addition, newly-emerging topics and challenges are addressed, including the relationship between cultural heritage and sustainable development and the gender dynamics of cultural heritage. Providing both a perfect introduction to cultural heritage law and deeper reflection on its challenges, this book should be invaluable for students, scholars, and practitioners in the field.
Daher, R. and I. Maffi (eds.), The Politics and Practices of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East, London; New York, I.B. Tauris, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
During the nineteenth century, cultural heritage became a dominant feature of the political ideology of the European states and of their colonies. It became a new form of legitimization for the rising nation-state, cementing its inextricable link with that nation's politics and practices. The set of concepts and practices defining cultural heritage were exported to, and imposed over, the colonized populations in North Africa and the Near East. The legacy of the colonial period has proven very significant in the domain of cultural heritage which has become a crucial cultural arena in many Arab states. Here, expert scholars come together to unravel the complex processes involved in the definition, production and consumption of heritage and its material culture in the Middle East, and the dynamics of the key actors involved: NGOs, institutions, donor agencies, specialists, investors, individuals, families and the public. In its examination of the workings of cultural heritage in the Middle East, this book is an important resource for students and scholars of Middle East Studies, Cultural History, History of Art and Architecture, and for stakeholders involved in the field of cultural heritage.
Chechi, A., The Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The past forty years have seen a wide proliferation of an extensive range of disputes under international law concerning cultural heritage. These disputes can concern a disparate variety of issues. A substantial number of have concerned the restitution of stolen and illegally exported art objects. Another set of controversies has involved the protection of immovable cultural heritage. Unlike other fields of international law, international cultural heritage law does not have an ad hoc mechanism of dispute settlement. As a result, controversies are to be settled through negotiation or, if this fails, through existing dispute resolution means, which include arbitration and litigation before domestic courts or international tribunals. This ad hoc fashion of dealing with disputes is not without consequences. The most serious problem is that the same or similar cases may be settled in different ways, thereby bringing about an incoherent and fragmentary enforcement of the law. This book offers a comprehensive and innovative analysis of the settlement of cultural heritage disputes. It addresses the means the potential fragmentation can be resolved by providing a two-fold analysis. First, it provides a detailed analysis of the existing legal framework and the available means of judicial and non-judicial dispute settlement. Second, it explores the feasibility of two solutions for overcoming the lack of a specialized forum. The first potential solution is the establishment of a new international court. The second concerns existing judicial and extra-judicial fora and means of increasing interaction between them by the practice of 'cross-fertilization'. The book focuses on the substance of such interaction, and identifies a number of culturally-sensitive parameters which need to apply (the 'common rules of adjudication'). Ultimately the book argues that existing judicial and non-judicial fora should adopt a cross-fertilizing perspective to use and disseminate jurisprudence containing these common rules of adjudication, to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of their decision-making processes. Finally, it sets out how such an approach would be conducive to the development of a wider body of international cultural heritage law.
Dromgoole, S., Underwater Cultural Heritage and International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001, which entered into force internationally in 2009, is designed to deal with threats to underwater cultural heritage arising as a result of advances in deep-water technology. However, the relationship between this new treaty and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is deeply controversial. This study of the international legal framework regulating human interference with underwater cultural heritage explores the development and present status of the framework and gives some consideration to how it may evolve in the future. The central themes are the issues that provided the UNESCO negotiators with their greatest challenges: the question of ownership rights in sunken vessels and cargoes; sovereign immunity and sunken warships; the application of salvage law; the ethics of commercial exploitation; and, most crucially, the question of jurisdictional competence to regulate activities beyond territorial sea limits.
Cameron, C. and M. Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: the Early Years of the World Heritage Convention, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
In 1972, UNESCO put in place the World Heritage Convention, a highly successful international treaty that influences heritage activity in virtually every country in the world. Focusing on the Convention's creation and early implementation, this book examines the World Heritage system and its global impact through diverse prisms, including its normative frameworks, constituent bodies, program activities, personalities and key issues. The authors concentrate on the period between 1972 and 2000 because implementation of the World Heritage Convention during these years sets the stage for future activity and provides a foil for understanding the subsequent evolution in the decade that follows. This innovative book project seeks out the voices of the pioneers - over 35 key players who participated in the creation and early implementation of the Convention - and combines these insightful interviews with original research drawn from a broad range of both published and archival sources. The World Heritage Convention has been significantly influenced by forty years of history. Although the text of the Convention remains unchanged, the way it has been implemented reflects global trends as well as evolving perceptions of the nature of heritage itself and approaches to conservation. Some are sounding the alarm, claiming that the system is imploding under its own weight. Others believe that the Convention is being compromised by geopolitical considerations and rivalries. This book stimulates reflection on the meaning of the Convention in the twenty-first century.
Petrovic, J, The Old Bridge of Mostar and Increasing Respect for Cultural Property in Armed Conflict, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Although it is precious to all humanity, including future generations, cultural property is targeted wilfully during armed conflict. In the litany of other war crimes the wilful destruction of cultural property is pushed from centre stage. The deliberate destruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar is emblematic of tragedies wrought on priceless cultural objects internationally. Drawing on the relevant rules of international humanitarian law and the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, this book analyses the normative implications of the deliberate targeting and destruction of the Old Bridge and also examines enforcement efforts in order to identify issues relating to international legal protection of cultural property arising from this incident.
'The World Forgetting, by the World Forgot'
At present there are many complex legal cases on cultural heritage waiting to be settled. These cases are a judicial challenge for all stakeholders. What makes it even more of a challenge is that most don’t realise the fact that cultural heritage is a component of a human rights issue. Cultural heritage could be described as a record of the genius of human beings. The legacy of artefacts, antiquities, traditions and living expressions could be seen as unintelligible foot print left behind for the next generations to mark our path through this world. It’s unimaginable to separate a people’s cultural heritage from the people itself and their rights.Read more
Cultural Property in Conflict
The destruction of cultural property is an old problem but still a topical issue. The destruction of cultural property in mostly Iraq and Syria is still a trending topic in the media. But it is not a new problem, cultural property has played a part in conflict and war throughout history. After the Second World War the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954 was created to prevent this destruction in the future, but even then it continued. Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, called this destruction of cultural property in Iraq ‘cultural cleansing’. “They want to tell us that there is no memory, that there is no culture, that there is no heritage”.Read more
The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914
On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.Read more
60th Anniversary of the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of an Armed Conflict
The 1954 Convention is the basic international treaty formulating rules to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts. It regulates the conduct of nations during war and military occupation in order to assure the protection of cultural sites, monuments and repositories, including museums, libraries and archives. A Round table meeting in the Peace Palace is organized on Monday, 12 May 2014.Read more
Exhibition of the Roerich Pact: History and Modernity
On 15 april 2014 the exhibition about the “Roerich Pact: History and Modernity” was officially opened at the Academy building of the Peace Palace. The exhibition is part of a world wide project of the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Roerich’s Heritage Preservation to promote the Roerich Pact. Exactly 79 years ago, the Roerich Pact was signed in Washington by the representatives of 21 member-states of the Pan-American Union including the USA.Read more
Article 247 of the Treaty of Versailles and the “Mystic Lamb”
The ‘biography’ of the Ghent Altarpiece, also called the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, reads like a thriller. From the beginning this fascinating work was the object of passionate desire to either possess or destroy it. During the centuries of its existence, the altarpiece witnessed religious upheavals in the Southern Netherlands, came close to being destroyed during these outbreaks of iconoclasm and was damaged when moved to save guard it or when stolen. It endured fires, Napoleon’s looting army and two world wars. Parts of it were stolen, burned, recovered and stolen again and again.Read more
Crimes against Cultural Property in Mali
In an earlier Peace Palace Library blog (Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and war crimes) Ingrid Kost wrote that the Islamist Group Ansar (Ed)dine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu, Mali. One of the major causes of destruction of cultural property (the illicit trading, stealing and looting of cultural property is not covered in this blog) over the ages has been armed conflict. Crimes against cultural property should therefore be addressed properly.Read more
Cultural Property: Art Crimes, Disputes and the Passage of Time
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Dutch Restitutions Committee, an International Symposium titled ‘Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-looted Art Disputes, Status Quo And New Developments’ was held in the Academy Building of the Peace Palace on November 27, 2012.Read more
Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and War Crimes
Last weekend the Islamist Group Ansar Eddine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu. Despite the fact that recently on June 28 2012, these mausolea were placed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.Read more
Doves, Swords, Scales and …
Doves, scales, olive branches, swords and many ladies justice in paintings, sculptures, tiles and panels adorn the halls of the Peace Palace. These symbols of peace emphasize the essence of the foundation of the building and the institutions it houses. A very fine example is the painting by Albert Besnard (1849-1934): La Paix et la Justice, 1914.Read more
Maritime Cultural Property and Treasure Hunting
Archaeological sites in international waters are numerous and still largely untouched. With the development of sophisticated technology for the search and recovery of shipwrecks on the ocean floor, however, issues of ownership, preservation, and cultural property rights have achieved increasing prominance. In particular, after the discovery of RMS Titanic in 1985 the debate among marine archaeologists, cultural rights proponents and commercial salvage companies about treasure hunting in international waters has intensified.Read more
The famous ring of three Amsterdam canals, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht must be included in the Unecso World Heritage List, according to a decision of the City Council and the Mayor & College of Aldermen.Read more
Already this year UNESCO has proclaimed Amsterdam ‘World Book Capital’. From 23 April 2008 until 22 April 2009.
Consult for an extensive collection of materials on cultural heritage the Bibliography on the Cultural Heritage of Mankind!
- Centre universitaire du droit de l'art
- Cultural Protection Treaties and Other International Agreements
- Features - Legal Protection of Cultural Property: A Selective Resource Guide, by Louise Tsang
- Heritage Law - The home of Heritage Law Europe
- ICCROM International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
- Institute of Art and Law
- International Council of Museums
- Lootedart.com - Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945
- UNECSO Cultural Property: Its Illicit Trafficking and Restitution
- UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws