Cultural heritage reflects a nation's history and presents an invaluable heritage to the new generations and a rich source of information about the knowledge of our ancestors. The goods of cultural heritage can be divided into moveable goods (paintings, statues, photos, books, archaeological items, manuscripts, various collections, documents, seals, ancient items such as toys, furniture, gold jewellery, instruments, clocks etc.) and immovable goods (buildings, churches, settlements, monuments, landscape etc.).
Export and import provisions provide for the protection of cultural heritage and determine the responsibilities of competent authorities. Furthermore, they define general import or export requirements, provide for the procedure of obtaining import or export licences, classify cultural goods in categories and define the procedures of retaining moveable cultural goods and customs supervision of cultural heritage.
The export of cultural goods from the customs territory of the EU is subject to the presentation of an export licence which is issued by the competent authority of the EU Member State in whose territory the cultural object in question is located. Customs controls are performed with the view to ensure that only the cultural goods accompanied by a valid export licence are exported from the customs territory of the EU.
The import of cultural goods is not subject to any restrictions, and no import licence is required.
If the country of origin requires the presentation of an export licence or any other document, then such a document must be presented upon import.
In the case of a suspected infringement of provisions applying to the cultural heritage, customs authorities must check with the competent authority (Ministry of Culture) whether the goods in question are classified as cultural goods. The goods must remain under customs supervision during such a control until the reasons for retaining goods are abolished.