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Export licences for cultural goods


The regulations regarding the export of cultural goods are a part of the protection of our cultural property. The goal of protecting of Finnish national property is to keep our most valuable cultural property in Finland as a part of our Finnish history and cultural identity. The regulations regarding this matter are included in the Act on Restrictions to the Export of Cultural Goods (933/2016). This Act is applied to the transport of all cultural objects outside of Finland’s borders. In addition to the national legislation, the export of cultural goods outside the EU is governed by the European Union Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 as well as the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1081/2012 on the export of cultural goods.

An export licence is subject to a fee of € 100 under public law.

Export licence applications forms can be acquired at kirjaamo@museovirasto.fi.

Export licence for cultural objects
Objects that require a national export licence
Objects that require an EU export licence
Application procedure
Licensing authorities
Temporary export prohibition
Consequences of violating the regulations
Further information
 

Export licence for cultural objects


An export licence for cultural goods must be applied for when a cultural good belonging to one of the categories listed in the National Act on Restricting the Export of Cultural Goods is being exported from Finland, regardless of the financial value of the object.

If the financial value of an item intended for export outside the EU also exceeds the financial thresholds listed in the Council Decree Appendix, an EU export licence for cultural goods must be applied for instead of a national licence.

Objects that require a national export licence


Act (933/2016) is applied to all objects related to Finnish national history and prominent persons regardless of their age, country of origin and the time they have been in Finland. It is also applied to items referred to in the Antiquities Act (295/1963) that were discovered in ground or underwater, archives and collections of scientific or other significance as well as parts of such archives or collections regardless of their age, country of origin or the time they have been in Finland are under the scope of the Act. The Act is also applied to cultural goods that have been produced in Finland or have been in Finland for at least the period of time mentioned in the appendix of the Act. The Act is not applied to objects that are in possession of the natural person who manufactured, designed or in other ways created the object.

Categories of objects requiring an export licence are listed in detail in the Act

Objects related to Finnish national history and prominent persons regardless of their age, country of origin or the time they have been in Finland

Items referred to in the Antiquities Act (295/1963) that were discovered in ground or underwater

Archives or collections deemed valuable for scientific or other particular reasons as well as parts of such archives and collections, regardless of their age, country of origin or the time they have been in Finland

Finnish works of art that are more than 100 years old or works of art that have been in Finland for at least 100 years

The following over 50 years old products of industrial arts, handicrafts and design that were made in Finland or have been in Finland for at least 50 years:
a) unique items and objects that were produced in a limited edition
b) prototypes of national importance
The following literary products that have been in Finland for at least 50 years:
- manuscripts and composition manuscripts that are more than 50 years old
- books printed or handwritten in Finland or for Finland before the year 1800
- books printed or handwritten abroad before the year 1600
- maps printed in Finland or for Finland before the year 1800, as well as maps depicting Finland, hand drawn before the year 1800

The following vehicles and means of transportation:
a) Finnish vehicles and transport equipment that are more than 75 years old
b) foreign vehicles and transport equipment that are more than 75 years old and have been in Finland for at least 50 years

The following currency, medals and decorations of honour that have been in Finland for at least 50 years:
a) medieval coins minted in Finland before the year 1560 as well as other medieval metal currency used in Finland
b) Swedish banknotes printed before the year 1809 and banknotes printed in Finland before the year 1809
c) imperial medals and badges of honour, Swedish decorations awarded before the year 1809, Russian medals awarded before 1881 and the Mannerheim Crosses of Liberty
Different photographic recordings or their original negatives made in Finland before the year 1860

The following objects that are more than 100 years old and were made in Finland or have been in Finland for at least 100 years:
a) buildings and their parts as well as their permanent fixtures
b) furniture and lighting fixtures
c) dresses and textiles
d) jewellery, items made by silver and goldsmiths
e) clocks and timepieces
f) musical instruments, toys and games
g) ecclesiastical objects and items related to beliefs
h) Finnish ethnological objects
i) technological equipment such as tools and machines, measuring and weighing devices, photographic equipment and optical tools as well as their prototypes
j) firearms and related equipment as well as military machinery, equipment and gear
k) other glass, metal, ceramic and wooden objects

Objects that require an EU export licence


The Member States of the European Community apply Community legislation in their respective relationships. Despite the free movement of goods within the Community, national regulations concerning cultural artefacts are in force in all Member States. In addition, in the beginning of 1995, the regulations regarding the export of cultural goods outside the Community took force in Finland, prescribing that in specific cases the export of cultural goods to so-called third countries requires a special EU export licence.

The following objects require an EU export permit regardless of their financial value:
Archaeological items:
- more than 100 years old items discovered in ground or underwater
Integral parts of artistic, historical or religious monuments:
 - more than 100 years old
Incunabula and manuscripts, including geographical maps and musical scores, either individually or in collections.
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Archives of all kinds and their parts:
 - more than 50 years old

The following items require an EU export licence, if their value is equal to or greater than the given financial threshold:
Pictures and paintings €150,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Watercolours, gouaches and pastels €30,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Mosaics and drawings €15,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Original engravings, prints, serigraphs and their matrices, original posters €15,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Original sculptures and statuary as well as their reproductions produced by the same method as the original €50,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their originators
Books, either individually or in collections €50,000
- more than 100 years old
Printed geographical maps €15,000
- more than 200 years old
Photographs, films and their negatives €15,000
- more than 50 years old and not belonging to their makers
Collections and specimens from zoological, botanical, mineralogical and anatomical collections €50,000
Collections of historical, palaeontological, ethnographical or numismatic interest €50,000
Means of transport €50,000
- more than 75 years old
Other old items: toys and games, glassware, works of silver and goldsmiths, furniture, optical, photographic or cinematographic devises, musical instruments, clocks and watches, woodwork, ceramics, tapestries, carpets, wallpaper, arms €50,000
- 50 to 100 years old

Application procedure


When old objects are going to be exported from the country, it is important to find out well in advance whether the export of these items is restricted. An export application for cultural goods may not be sent by e-mail or fax. The application form must be typed or handwritten. The form may not include any changes done by scraping, overwriting or any other way. The second copy of the application form is the actual export licence which will remain in the possession of the applicant, while the third copy will be handed to the Customs authority upon the removal of the item from the country.

The Finland Cultural Goods (Suomi- Kulttuuriesineet) form is used when applying for a national export licence for cultural goods.  A specific EU Cultural Goods (EU-Kulttuuriesineet) form is used for the EU licence procedure. The appearance of the EU form and the sections to be filled are identical in all EU Member States. Licensing authorities answer questions regarding filling in these forms.

Three photographs of the object being exported or a detailed list of the cultural items must be appended to the licence application. The copies of the export licence handed back to the applicant will be appended with a stamped photograph or list equipped with an export licence number in order to ensure the identification of the item/items in question. When applying for an export licence, the actual cultural object will not be presented to the licensing authority, but the authority will make a decision based on the information provided in the application and the photograph attached. The licensing authority does, however, have the right to investigate the item in further detail or photograph it.

If a cultural object is being exported from Finland for a fixed period of time and the licensing authority orders it to be returned by a specific date, the owner of the object must notify the licensing authority when the object has been returned to Finland.

If an item is being exported outside the EU, the applicant must evaluate whether the financial value of the object being exported exceeds the value threshold requiring EU licence procedure. It must be noted that in respect of export outside of the EU, for certain item categories, namely archaeological items, parts of dismantled monuments, incunabula and manuscripts, and archives, the EU licence procedure must be followed regardless of the item's financial value.

Licensing authorities consider various matters when making a decision regarding an export licence. The item in question may be rare, or becoming rare, it may be hold particular significance when it comes to Finnish national cultural heritage, or it may be essentially connected to valuable cultural environments, major historical figures or events. Artistic, scientific or historical viewpoints or other particular reasons may also influence the decision, preventing the authority from granting an export licence.

The licence will expire if the item in question has not been removed from the country within one year of the date when the licence was granted.

Licensing authorities


The National Board of Antiquities is the licensing authority that gives advice and guidance in matters concerning the export of cultural items. Finnish Customs is the authority supervising the export of cultural objects. The National Gallery acts as the licensing authority in matters pertaining to artwork. If an item is to be exported due to emigration or inheritance and the licence application concerns several items, the National Board of Antiquities acts as the licensing authority.

The National Gallery and the National Board of Antiquities process EU export licences in accordance with their field of expertise, and the National Board of Antiquities keeps a record of the export licences granted in the whole country.

Licence application forms can be acquired from the licensing authorities. Licensing authorities charge a fee for the licence process in accordance with the Act on Criteria for Charges Payable to the State.

Temporary export prohibition


The licensing authority may issue a temporary export prohibition for a cultural item. The prohibition may be issued if an object is going to be publically sold or transferred and it is unlikely that the object in question would be granted an export permit. A temporary export prohibition may also be issued, without hearing the owner of the object, to a seller or other agent acting on behalf of the owner. The agent must notify the owner of the temporary export prohibition. The temporary export prohibition is valid until the export application process has been settled.

Consequences of violating the regulations


The consequences of exporting, or attempting to export, cultural items in violation of the regulations are passed in the Criminal Code of Finland.

"A person who without the appropriate permission or otherwise in violation of import or export provisions or regulations imports, exports or attempts to import or export goods, the import or export of which is prohibited or requires the permission or inspection of an authority, shall be sentenced for smuggling to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.

If the smuggling, when assessed as a whole, with due consideration to the value or quantity of goods or to the other circumstances connected with the offence, is to be deemed petty, the offender shall be sentenced for petty smuggling to a fine." (769/1990, Chapter 46, Sections 4 and 5)

The offender may also be ordered to forfeit the item in question to the State.

Further information


 The Act on Restrictions to the Export of Cultural Objects (933/2016)

Council Regulation (EC) No. 116/2009 on the export of cultural goods

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1081/2012 of 9 November 2012 for the purposes of Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 on the export of cultural goods

The Act on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State of the European Economic Area 1292/2015

CONVENTION on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Paris, 14 November 1970

 The Act on adopting certain regulations of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 875/ 1999

 The Decree for bringing into force the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the entry into force of the Act on adopting certain regulations of the Convention 876/99

 The Act on adopting certain regulations of the Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects and the application of the Convention 877/1999

 The Decree for bringing into force the Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects and adopting certain regulations of the Convention and the entry into force of the Act on the application of the Convention 878/ 1999

CONVENTION on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention, The Hague, 14 May 1954

 The Act on the implementation of certain provisions of the Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and on the application of the Protocol 1135/ 1994

 The Decree on the implementation of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the related Protocol and accepting and applying certain provisions of the Protocol 1136/ 1994

 

The cover of the book EXPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS KULTTUURIESINEIDEN MAASTAVIENTI
UTFÖRSEL OCH EXPORT AV KULTURFÖREMÅL
EXPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS

Editors: Inari Paukkula and Pirkko Sihvo
National Board of Antiquities 2003, 126 p., bound, ISBN 951-616-085-9
Price 8,00 € (incl. VAT)

This book is a compilation of the European Union's and Finland's legislation concerning the export of cultural goods and international treaties ratified by Finland for the protection of cultural property. Legislation has been followed up to 1 November 2002.

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Last updated 8.9.2017
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