Monument Protection Act (Austria)

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Basic data
Title: Monument Protection Act
Long title: Federal law on the protection of monuments due to their historical, artistic or other cultural significance
Abbreviation: DMSG
Previous title: Federal law on restrictions in the disposition of objects of historical, artistic or cultural importance
Type: Federal law
Scope: Republic of Austria
Legal matter: civil right
Reference: Federal Law Gazette No. 533/1923
Date of law: September 25, 1923
Date of regulation: September 25, 1923
Last change: BGBl. I No. 170/1999
January 1, 2000
Legal text: Monument Protection Act , ris.bka
Please note the note on the applicable legal version !

The Monument Protection Act  ( DMSG ) from 2000 regulates the issues of monument protection in Austria .

It is a federal law because, unlike in Germany, monument protection is a federal matter . The original federal law from 1923 on the protection of monuments due to their historical, artistic or other cultural significance (Monument Protection Act - DMSG) is intended to protect monuments from destruction or change and to prevent the illegal movement of protected cultural assets abroad.


In its current version, the law regulates, among other things, the affairs of the Federal Monuments Office and the Monument Advisory Council . The Monument Advisory Board is an advisory body provided to the Federal Monuments Office by the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture . The body has around 60 members.

The Federal Monuments Office (BDA) is responsible for the preservation, restoration and cataloging of architectural and art monuments , excavation sites and historical gardens . It maintains the Austrian List of Monuments , in accordance with Section 1 (5) Monument Protection Act and also an electronic monument database. In December 2010, the number of immovable objects under monument protection in Austria was around 36,500. The Federal Monuments Office estimates the total number of immovable (non-archaeological) objects worth protecting at around 60,000. The list of immovable monuments under monument protection (monument list) was published in a new listing from 2010.

Insofar as monuments are archival material , the Austrian State Archives are responsible in place of the Federal Monuments Office.

historical development

In 1850, Emperor Franz Joseph I signed the decree for the establishment of the Kk Central Commission for the research and preservation of architectural monuments (the forerunner of today's Federal Monuments Office ). The commission began its work in 1853, its competencies were significantly expanded in 1873, and from that year the institution also had its own budget. In 1911, under the protectorate of the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand, a state monument office was established. By the end of the Danube Monarchy there were 72 draft laws (one came from the well-known art historian Alois Riegl ): Due to the resistance of the church and the nobility, it was not possible to pass a monument protection law. On December 1, 1918, shortly after the end of the First World War, an export ban on works of art came into force in Austria, which was intended to avoid an extreme sell-off of cultural goods in the starving country. It was the forerunner of the Monument Protection Act of 1923, which still exists today. With these two legal norms, the advisory commission became an authority.

In the Federal Law Gazette No. 533/1923 the federal law of September 25, 1923 on the restriction of the disposal of objects of historical, artistic or cultural importance ( Monument Protection Act ) was published.

There were amendments in 1959 with regard to the enforcement of monument protection and in 1965 with regard to the definition of the monument (decision of the Constitutional Court). In 1978 there was the first comprehensive amendment to the monument law, another in 1990.

Significant changes in the 2000 amendment

The signet according to DMSG

The amendment that came into force on January 1, 2000 (Federal Law Gazette No. 170/1999) integrated, among other things, the Export Prohibition Act . After the amendment, the provisional protection of public buildings ends on December 31, 2009 (amendment of § 2). The new Section 31 (1) also makes it explicitly clear that there is no obligation to maintain or repair monuments (Austria has not ratified the international convention of Granada adopted by the Council of Europe in 1985 and therefore does not have any “active monument protection”, ie an unconditional maintenance obligation).

Location of the monument system

The Federal Monuments Office , an independent authority that is bound by the instructions of the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture , is no longer an advocate for the preservation of monuments after this revision of 2000. The monument advisory board only has an advisory and expert function. Despite the large number of listed objects in Austria , the protection of monuments in Austria is traditionally not considered too strong by law and often requires support from the media and citizens' initiatives . Both the positive incentives (subsidies) available to the Federal Monuments Office and its ability to impose sanctions (penalties) have been reduced rather than expanded in recent years. Overall, this is based on a deregulating tendency. The Federal Monuments Office estimates the total number of objects worthy of protection at around 60,000, of which in 2008 over 16,000 were listed as architectural monuments.

The concept of monument is interpreted in Austria by the Constitutional Court due to the petrification theory in the (narrow) sense that was legally given at the time when the competence articles of the Austrian Federal Constitution came into force (October 1, 1925). This results in certain problems with newer, expanded concepts of monument protection such as ensemble protection or the protection of garden monuments . ( In Austria, nature conservation is a matter for the country).

With the 2000 amendment, 56 selected gardens and parks in Austria were listed ( Appendix 2 to the Monument Protection Act DMSG), for which the approval of the Federal Monuments Office must now be obtained before changes to structural and plant elements. Austria was the last country in Europe to include gardens worthy of protection in its monument protection law. The protection status is, however, tied to the consent of the respective garden owner, which has so far only been available in about half of the cases (status: 2006).

The possibility of ministerial decisions against the explicit will of the Federal Monuments Office, as in the Viennese examples of the demolition of the baroque riding school at the Archduke Rainer Palace (1958), the Florianikirche (1965), the Meidling tram station designed by Otto Wagner (1968) or the recently completed renovation of the Albertina have, however, been showing the relative weakness of the instruments used to protect Austrian monuments for decades.

Inventory of immovable objects under monument protection in 2017 by federal state
All objects 1) 38,146
Archeology 2) 918 58 79 298 137 30th 255 40 15th 6th
Gardens and parks 5) 29 1 2 6th 2 2 2 3 2 9
Profane buildings 7) 23,306 1,323 1,346 6,438 3,948 1,501 2,675 2,455 1.002 2,618
Sacred buildings 8) 11,889 661 1,287 3.214 1,475 576 1,692 2,074 514 396
Technical monuments 10) 2,004 32 134 601 280 84 303 253 72 245
Source: Bundesdenkmalamt (monument database) / Statistics Austria, status: 11/2012
1)Total first digit: updated list of monuments 2017 without movable monuments and collections as well as sound monuments (immovable and archaeological monuments under monument protection, § 2a or notification ); second digit: all objects that were listed as monuments with a legally binding decision
2)Archaeological small memorials , fortified settlement / weir , single bauwerk , single fund , single grave , reference u. Ä.
7) Mounting - / military buildings , reminder - / small memorials , cultural / health / education, agricultural buildings , castles / castles / palace , tourism / sport / leisure, office buildings , residential buildings u. Ä.
10)Category technical monuments: production, traffic, energy / supply, trade, machines, traffic, etc. Ä .; only immovable monuments; others are assigned to the movable monuments category. Transport structures (bridges, railway lines, etc.) and aqueducts are z. Partly divided into cadastral communities and route sections. )

See also


  • Wolfgang Huber: Definitions and literature on the Austrian Monument Protection Act , In: Kunsthistoriker aktuell No. 2/2003

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria , year 1923, issue 103: 533rd Law: Federal law of 25 September 1923 on the restriction of the disposal of objects of historical, artistic or cultural importance (Monument Protection Act) . (alex.onb, viewer)
  2. a b c List of monuments , Federal Monuments Office
  3. a b List of listed objects in 2006 by federal state. In: Statistics → Education, Culture → Culture → Architectural Heritage. Statistics Austria , December 18, 2007, accessed on March 1, 2009 .
  4. State Law Gazette for the State of German Austria , Part 20: 90th Law: Law of December 5, 1918, regarding the export and sale of objects of historical, artistic or cultural importance . (alex.onb, viewer)
  5. Art. 3. Federal Act of March 18, 1959, with which the Introductory Act to the Administrative Procedure Acts is amended and, in connection with this, other legal provisions are also amended (EGVG amendment). Federal Law Gazette No. 92/1959
  6. Federal Law Gazette No. 140/1965 : Determination of the Constitutional Court on the competence to issue and enforce a law for the protection of objects of historical, artistic or other cultural importance (Monument Protection Act)
  7. 167th Federal Act of March 15, 1978, with which the Monument Protection Act is changed. Federal Law Gazette No. 167/1978
  8. 473. Federal Act: Amendment of the Monument Protection Act. Federal Law Gazette No. 473/1990 ;
    with a change regarding environmental protection by the Constitutional Court 1995: 785. Announcement by the Federal Chancellor on the repeal of a group of words in Section 8 (1) of the Monument Protection Act by the Constitutional Court. Federal Law Gazette No. 785/1995
  9. ↑ The number of legally protected immovable objects in 2017 by federal state. Federal Monuments Office , December 31, 2017, accessed June 8, 2018 .