Federal Monuments Office

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AustriaAustria  Bundesdenkmalamt (BDA)
Austrian authority
BDA logo
State level Federation
Position of the authority subordinate agency
At sight Federal Ministry for Art, Culture, Public Service and Sport
founding December 31, 1850 (as Kk Central-Commission for the research and preservation of architectural monuments , highest resolution Franz Joseph I. )
Headquarters Vienna, Hofburg
Authority management President: Christoph Bazil
Website www.bda.at

The Federal Monuments Office  ( BDA ) is the in Austria competent authority for conservation and historic preservation .


As a forerunner of the Federal Monuments Office, on the basis of a lecture by the Minister of Commerce Baron von Brucks on the necessity of comprehensive care for the preservation of architectural monuments in the Austrian imperial state, Emperor Franz Joseph I set up a Central Commission on December 31, 1850 Vienna and the appointment of conservators in the crown lands approved and described in detail by written instruction . In 1853 the actual work of the commission began. In addition to civil servants, scientists and artists (e.g. the poets Adalbert Stifter and Hermann Rollett in 1855 ) were active in it. From January 1, 1856, the messages of the Kaiser. royal Central Commission for the Research and Preservation of Architectural Monuments published as a monthly magazine. In 1859 the commission, which was initially part of the building ministry, was subordinated to the KK ministry for culture and education.

The "Kk Central Commission for Research and Conservation of Art and Historical Monuments" was given an expanded scope in 1873; A separate archive section was also set up to publish country-specific archive reports . A separate budget was set up to support restoration measures . The church and the nobility, the most important owners of listed objects, prevented the passing of a monument protection law until the end of the Danube monarchy . Also Alois Riegl (1858-1905), university professor and the first curator general of the Central Commission failed in 1903 on projects the enactment of such a law. Riegl's conceptions, however, found international recognition, similar to the “Catechism of Monument Preservation” (1916/18) created by Max Dvorák (1874–1921).

In 1910 heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este took over the protectorate of the "KK Central Commission for Monument Preservation" and in 1911 its conversion into a state monument office began. He was supported by Franz I (Liechtenstein) as President of the Central Commission and Vinzenz Baillet-Latour and Karl Lanckoroński as their Vice-Presidents. The creation of a legal basis only took place after the First World War under the pressure of the threatened sell-off of cultural assets from the starving remainder of German-Austria . From December 1918, there was an export ban on works of art. In 1923 the first monument protection law was passed. So the advisory commission ultimately became a legally legitimized state authority.

In 1934 the Federal Monuments Office was replaced by the "Central Office for Monument Protection in the Federal Ministry of Education". After the annexation of Austria (March 1938), the functions of the provincial conservators were transferred to “jugglers”. The central office was subordinated to the cultural and political purposes of the Nazi regime . The Federal Monuments Office played an important role in the theft of art .

The "Institute for Monument Preservation", founded in 1940, was the central specialist agency of the Berlin Ministry of Science.

After the Second World War , the BDA was re-established. Major amendments to the law were passed in 1978 and 1999.

In 2017, the Court of Audit severely criticized the Federal Monuments Office in an audit report: Inadequate management and control, a lack of strategies and compliance violations, non-transparent allocation and accounting of grants as well as unauthorized excesses of the personnel plan via external employees and cost increases in the millions for the project “Monument Information System ". Federal Minister Thomas Drozda ( SPÖ ), who is responsible for the department, announced a “structural reorganization” of the tasks and competencies of the BDA.

Function and structure

Federal Monuments Office and the State of Lower Austria in the preservation of monuments (here in the Waldviertel)

The tasks of the authority include, among other things, the preservation, restoration and cataloging of architectural and artistic monuments , archaeological sites and historical gardens , but also the monitoring of export regulations under the Monument Protection Act . The Bundesdenkmalamt works with the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture -supplied landmark advisory board together.

The Federal Monuments Office is now divided into the Presidium in Vienna and eight provincial conservatoires - today departments with department heads - for each federal state in the provincial capitals. The LK or the Burgenland department is based in Vienna. Central specialist departments are at their disposal (restructuring of the 2010s):

Another important task is to look after the museums and libraries (excluding federal museums ; former department). Internal services are about legal matters and the like.

The two restoration workshops are:

These are available to the employees of the Federal Monuments Office (state conservatories, official restorers, etc.), as well as freelance restorers or private individuals. In the central laboratory, the material samples required for each restoration are also evaluated and cataloged, and reports are drawn up.

Logo Day of the Monument 2011 - 01.jpg
LUSITANA WLM 2011 d.svg

The Federal Monuments Office was also responsible for the restitution of the Mauerbach holdings, comprising around 8,000 objects and works of art, which were handed over to the Republic of Austria by the US troops in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After allegedly no owners could be found until 1996, the holdings were auctioned in favor of the IKG . Only years later, when access to archives was opened for provenance research, was it possible in many cases to determine the owners on the basis of notes and stickers on the back of the auctioned pictures (which had been photographed). These results were published in early December 2008 and presented in an exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts .

An important field of activity is public relations in order to convey the idea of ​​monument protection:

  • For example, Monument Day has been held since the late 1990s , the Austrian contribution to the European initiative of the European Heritage Days  (EHD): Traditionally on the last Sunday in September, numerous monuments, including those that are otherwise inaccessible as private property, open to the Audience. Expert tours are also offered. The Memorial Day has been organized and advertised across Austria since 2015.
  • Since 2011 there has been a cooperation with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as part of the global project on cultural monuments. On the occasion of the first complete publication of the list of monuments in 2010, the list of over 35,000 entries was also incorporated into the encyclopedia and supplemented with photos, texts, GIS data and references and linked with articles under the supervision of the Wikipedia project for the preservation of monuments . This collaboration was a successful and much-noticed pilot project by an authority with a volunteer community of the open data / open access movement, which was also awarded within the Wikimedia projects ( Zedler Prize Community Project 2012). This also made it possible to supplement the incomplete and outdated documentation of the monument office. Since Monument Day 2011 there has been an annual public photo competition Wiki Loves Monuments , the Austrian winners of what is now the world's largest photo competition are awarded in the presence of official representatives.

Presidents, General Conservators

President Barbara Neubauer, at the Wikimedia Wiki Loves Monuments Awards 2014


Cover of the first annual edition of the "Mittheilungen"
Title page of the first edition of “Mittheilungen”, January 1856



  • Austrian art topography . Verlag F. Berger (from 1907, irregular new publications).
  • Department for monument research (ed.): The art monuments of Austria. Topographical inventory of monuments . Verlag F. Berger (from 1979, Dehio-Handbuch, irregular new publications, for the individual volumes see Dehio : Bibliography).
  • Department for soil monuments, Hofburg (ed.): Find reports from Austria . Verlag F. Berger, ISSN  0429-8926 (from 1920, annually, as well as material booklets and special volumes).


  • Theodor Brückler, Ulrike Nimeth: Personal Lexicon for Austrian Monument Preservation 1850–1990 - 2002 . Ed .: Federal Monuments Office. Verlag F. Berger, Vienna 2001, ISBN 978-3-85028-344-1 .


  • Alois Riegl:  The Monument Protection Act. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Abendblatt, No. 14553/1905, February 27, 1905, p. 6 ff. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  • Walter Frodl : Idea and Realization. The development of the state preservation of monuments in Austria . Ed .: Bundesdenkmalamt Wien (=  Studies on Monument Protection and Preservation . Volume 13 ). Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1988.
  • Manfred Koller : On the history of restoration in Austria . In: Bundesdenkmalamt Wien (Hrsg.): History of Restoration in Europe / Histoire de la Restauration en Europe (=  files of the international congress Restoration History / Histoire de la Restauration . Volume XIII. Interlaken, 1989). tape 1 . Worms 1991, p. 65-85 .
  • Theodor Brückler: heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand as monument curator. The "art files" of the military chancellery in the Austrian State Archives (war archive) (= studies on monument protection and preservation. Volume 20). ISSN  0586-6871 . Böhlau, Vienna (among others) 2009, ISBN 978-3-205-78306-0 ( table of contents PDF; 0.3 MB).

Web links

Commons : Bundesdenkmalamt Austria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Various departments and projects:

  1. Department for special materials ( Memento from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (on bda.at)
  2. a b Natural Science Central Laboratory ( Memento from June 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (on bda.at)
  3. Restoration workshops, monument preservation, Kartause Mauerbach ( Memento from June 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (on bda.at)
  4. Public Relations Office (on bda.at)
  5. Monument Day (tagdesdenkmals.at)
  6. Wiki Loves Monuments in Austria (wikilovesmonuments.at) .



Individual evidence

  1. Yearbook of the Kaiser. royal Central Commission for Research and Conservation of Architectural Monuments . Volume 1.1856, ISSN  0258-5553 . Braumüller, Vienna 1856, pp. 3-36 ( archive.org ).
  2. Volume 1.1856, ZDB -ID 220003-x ( archive.org ).
  3. ^ Hannes Obermair : Ottenthal-Redlich's "Archive Reports from Tyrol" - an unfinished project? In: Landesdenkmalamt Bozen (Ed.): Preservation of monuments in South Tyrol / Tutela dei beni culturali in Alto Adige 1989/90. Athesia: Bozen 1995, pp. 333-359.
  4. ↑ Conservator General Prof. Ernst Bacher in the foreword of the following book: Theodor Brückler (Ed.): Art theft, art salvage and restitution in Austria 1938 until today . Böhlau Vienna 1999, ISBN 978-3-205-98926-4 , p. 19 ( preface, p. 8 )
  5. ↑ The Court of Auditors criticizes the Federal Monuments Office. Press release by the Court of Auditors, April 28, 2017
  6. ↑ The Court of Auditors harshly criticizes the Federal Monuments Office Die Presse, April 28, 2017
  7. Service: organizational chart. ( Memento of December 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) BDA (accessed December 2, 2015);
    For the older department, see, for example, the culture reports of the Ministry of Culture; Website for the cultural report ( memento from November 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), bka.gv.at.
  8. The department was supposed to be saved after the retirement of the long-time head Géza Hajós after 2007, but was then retained as the competence of a collection department - also because of the explicit state mandate in the 1999 amendment to the protection of monuments; See Committee for Garden Art: The Department for Historical Gardens at the Federal Monuments Office threatens to be closed - there are good reasons for opposition. In: Der Standard online , April 15, 2010.
  9. Thomas Trenkler: The shame of the Mauerbach auction. In: Der Standard , December 1, 2008, p. 18.
  10. General information on Monument Day. ( Memento of December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) tagdesdenkmals.at (updated content, accessed December 2, 2015).
  11. Portal Austrian Monument Lists. German-language Wikipedia.
  12. First disclosure of the monument inventory. BDA: aktuell , undated (2010);
    Inventory: successful. BDA: aktuell , undated (2010).
  13. Wiki loves monuments. ( Memento of December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) BDA: aktuell , undated (2011).
  14. We won! ( Memento of December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) BDA: aktuell , undated (2012).
  15. ^ Photo competition Day of the Monument 2011. BDA: aktuell , o. D. (2011).
  16. "Wiki Loves Monuments" 2013. ( Memento from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) BDA: aktuell , undated (2013).
  17. ^ Federal Monuments Office Austria: History of the preservation of monuments in Austria. The development of the state monument protection from 1850 to today . In: bda.at , March 25, 2013, accessed on March 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Federal Monuments Office Austria: President as a debut gift . In: bda.at , March 26, 2013, accessed on March 26, 2013.
  19. orf.at: Federal Monuments Office: Neubauer no longer president . Article dated August 3, 2018, accessed August 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Administrative judge Pieler is the new head of the Federal Monuments Office. November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018 .
  21. orf.at: Head of the Federal Monuments Office resigns . Article dated March 19, 2019, accessed March 19, 2019.
  22. orf.at: Bazil becomes the new President of the Federal Monuments Office . Article dated May 15, 2019, accessed May 15, 2019.