Export and import of cultural goods

Items considered as cultural goods will not be taken out of the country without a special licence issued by conservatory departments

All cultural goods, as well as all goods under preventive protection, represent national treasure and their protection is regulated by the Act on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Goods, and their export by a special ordinance.

The export or removal of cultural goods is not allowed, however, they can be, only in exceptional cases, temporarily exported or removed from the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of exhibition, expert appraisal, work on the protection and preservation of cultural goods or other justified reasons.
 
The following are considered as movable cultural goods:
  • collections kept in museums, galleries, libraries and other institutions, as well as other legal persons and state and administrative authorities, including natural persons
  • church inventory and objects
  • archives, records, documents, letters and manuscripts
  • films
  • archaeological finds
  • anthological works of fine and applied arts and design
  • ethnographic objects
  • old and rare books, money, securities, postage stamps and other printed material
  • documentation on cultural goods
  • theatre props, sketches, costumes, etc.
  • objects of use (furniture, clothes, arms, etc.), means of transport and transport devices, objects that are bear important testimony to the development of science and technology
  • other movables of artistic, historical, palaeontological, archaeological, anthropological and scientific significance, as well as goods specified in Annex I of the Council Regulation (EZ) No 116/2009 of 18 December 2008 on the export of cultural goods (Codified version). 

Licences for export or removal

A licence for the export/removal is required for cultural goods specified under the Act on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Goods, as well as goods specified in Annex I of the Council Regulation (EZ) No 116/2009 of 18 December 2008 on the export of cultural goods.

The Regulation lays down a list of artistic objects and works between 50 and 100 years old that may not be exported/imported without a special licence and documentation (archaeological finds, parts of historical, cultural or religious monuments, maps, pictures and paintings, mosaics, incunabula, posters, films, photographs, carpets, etc.).

Filing an application

The application for export/removal of cultural goods will be submitted to the conservatory department of the Ministry of Culture in the area where the object is located, and in case of the City of Zagreb, to the City Institute for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage in Zagreb

Conservatory departments

City Office for Protection of Cultural. Monuments and Nature of the City of Zagreb.
 
The forms for the Licence for removal of cultural goods in EU Member States and the Certificate for export/removal of items that are not cultural goods can be obtained in conservatory departments, the Institute for Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage in Zagreb, or downloaded from the website of “Narodne novine” (Official Gazette)

Forms – Licence and Certificate.

The form will be typed or legibly written in capital letters, and must not contain erasures, overwritten words or other alterations. You are required to enclose the following with the request: 
  • documents specifying all relevant information on the cultural object and its legal situation (ownership, etc.), along with any other supportive document (invoices, experts appraisals, etc.), if necessary
  • a photograph of the cultural object certified by the competent authority or more than one photograph 8 x 12 centimetres in size, provided that the photographs show the cultural object in its entirety
  • documents proving the guarantee in case of damage, destruction or unlawful misappropriation of the object.

Types of licences

Export licences are issued for export to third countries (outside the European Union), and licences for removal in Member States of the European Union, as follows:
  • Standard licence for export/removal – issued separately for each object (as an exception, if the consignment contains a larger number of cultural goods, more than one licence for export/removal is issued)
  • Specific open licence for export/removal – can be issued for specific cultural goods that are temporarily, frequently or regularly exported from the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of use and/or exhibition.
  • General open licence for export/removal – can be issued to museums or other institutions for the temporary export from the Republic of Croatia of objects that belong to their permanent collection, for the purpose of frequent or regular exhibition.

Prohibition of export/removal

The export licence may be refused where the cultural goods in question are covered by legislation protecting national treasures of artistic, historical or archaeological value in the Member State concerned.

The export licence, or the removal licence, may be revoked if the conditions under which it was granted no longer exist, that is, if it is established that the natural or legal person to whom authorisation was granted is not complying with the legal provisions concerning the protection and preservation of cultural goods or is misusing it by acting contrary to the reasons and purpose of its issuance.

In case of revocation of the temporary authorisation, the export or removal of the cultural object from the Republic of Croatia will not be carried out, and if the cultural object has already been exported or removed from the Republic of Croatia at the moment of revocation, it will be returned to the Republic of Croatia without delay.

Export/removal of objects not considered as cultural goods

A certificate from the conservatory department or, in the case of the City of Zagreb, the City Institute for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage in Zagreb, will be obtained for all objects not included in the list of movable cultural goods.
 
The following will be provided along with the filled-out form that you can download from the website of “Narodne novine” (Official Gazette): 
  • documents specifying all relevant information on the object and its legal situation (ownership, etc.)
  • a photograph of the object, or more than one colour photograph 8 x 12 centimetres in size, provided that the photographs show the object in its entirety.
The form will be issued along with a certificate establishing that the object is not a cultural object and that there are no obstacles to the export/removal of the object.

Import of cultural goods and objects not considered as cultural goods 

Cultural goods may be imported and introduced to the Republic of Croatia based on an authorisation from the country that they are imported or introduced from. If the object being imported/introduced to the Republic of Croatia does not have the status of a cultural object under the regulations of the country that it is imported/introduced from, no import licence is required.

A passengers (foreigners or Croatian national) who is importing/introducing the goods concerned to the Republic of Croatia must possess the appropriate licence from the competent national authority of the country that the goods are removed from.