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Standing committeEs

European Heritage Legal Forum

Currently chaired by:

Ms. Tove Elise Ihler
Senior Adviser
Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage

The European Heritage Legal Forum (EHLF) was founded in 2008 following the EHHF annual meeting held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Heads agreed in their Final Statement to the creation of a sub-committee to improve their capacity for early identification of EU legislation which may cause a potential threat to cultural heritage. A forum of legal experts and policy officers appointed by the national competent authorities was subsequently formed which reports to the EHHF.

The mission of the EHLF is to ensure that relevant information on the development and potential consequences of proposed legislation developed by the European Union is circulated in a timely manner to heritage state authorities. In addition to this monitoring task, the EHLF may make recommendations to the EHHF for revised wording of the draft legislation and possible exemptions for cultural heritage.

The EHLF operational guidelines were reviewed in 2019 in Berlin. The European Heritage Legal Forum gathers once or twice a year in average and is currently chaired by Ms. Tove Ihler (Norway). For the period 2023-2025, the members nominated a new secretariat composed of Vera Ameels (Belgique _ Flandres), Jacek Buonaventura Brudnicki (Poland), Juha Maaperä (Finland) and Margarita Cruz (Spain).


Adopted in Berlin on April 24th, 2019.

1. Task

1.1 To ensure that improved and timely information on the development and consequences of legal acts developed by the European Union which may impact on cultural heritage are conveyed to the national competent authorities.

1.2 To follow and review developments in EU policies of relevance to cultural heritage and inform the national competent authorities.

1.3 At the request of National experts, to share best practice and challenges on national legislation and management practices that impact on cultural heritage.

2. Mandate

2.1 The EHLF is a standing committee of the European Heritage Heads Forum (EHHF). The actions of the EHLF are restricted to information gathering and the impact assessment of EU legislation and EU policy development regarding cultural heritage and communicating them to relevant parties.

2.2 The EHLF is not a legal entity and has no budget.

2.3 The EHLF may not, as a body, undertake political lobbying activities. Such activity remains the prerogative of the national competent authority and their national governments.

2.4 Individual EHLF members may, as representatives of their national administrations, undertake independent or joint political lobbying activities if and when these are part of their national authority competencies.

2.5 The EHLF operating guidelines will be reviewed at least every 5 years.

3. Membership

3.1 Members of the EHLF are mandated by their national competent authorities.

3.2 Members of the EHLF report to their national competent authorities.

4. Requirements

4.1 Members should have competence in cross-sectorial cooperation within their national administrations and be able to access necessary technical expertise in their country.

4.2 Members should communicate their actions at the national level as appropriate related to relevant EU legislation and EU policy development to the EHLF.

4.3 Members should undertake to initiate and facilitate impact assessment at the national level of planned and existing EU legislation and EU policy development affecting cultural heritage.

4.4 Members should communicate and disseminate information as appropriate on their impact assessment results through their competent authorities to the EHLF.

4.5 Members are encouraged to enhance the mutual exchange of information related to EU policies of relevance to cultural heritage and their best practices in the transposition process.

4.6 Members participate in an annual meeting.

4.7 Members are eligible to be appointed to the Secretariat.

4.8 Members are responsible for organising that their own costs are met for work on monitoring, impact assessment and information gathering as related to EHLF and any such costs associated with their participation in meetings.

5. Secretariat

5.1 The members of the EHLF nominate a secretariat to administrate and coordinate the work.

5.2 The secretariat members are nominated for four years and constitute themselves.

5.3 The secretariat should be composed of representatives of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 member countries.

5.4 The secretariat organises the EHLF meetings in collaboration with the hosting entity. Secretariat meetings are open to all EHLF members.

5.5 The secretariat organises the operation of the EHLF network in cooperation with the EHHF Secretariat. 

Background documents

European Legislation and Cultural Heritage 2006


Effects of European Union legislation on the built cultural heritage 2009


Cultural Heritage and Legal aspects in Europe 2010


EU Directives screened by the EHLF (2015)


A little bit of history

A European Heritage Summit was first organized in London on 26–28 April 2006 by Dr. Simon Thurley, former Chief Executive Officer of English Heritage. The mission of the Summit was to gather for the first time the European cultural heritage leaders who had the opportunity to exchange their experience and initiate common actions. It was attended by 23 European states which agreed in the Final Statement to continue to meet annually as a forum of European heritage heads, known as the “European Heritage Heads Forum”. Future hosting countries are chosen by general agreement at the annual meeting.

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Permanent Secretariat -
Place Saint-Géry 23, 1000 Brussels

Cookie policy - Privacy policy
Copyright © European Heritage Heads Forum
All rights reserved.