Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act

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Basic data
Title: Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act
Abbreviation: NDSchG, DSchG ND
Type: State Law
Scope: Lower Saxony
Legal matter: Monument protection law ,
cultural protection law
References : GVBl. Sb 22510 01
Issued on: May 30, 1978
( Nds. GVBl. P. 517)
Entry into force on: April 1, 1979
Last change by: Art. 1 AMG of May 26, 2011
(Nds. GVBl. P. 135)
Effective date of the
last change:
October 1, 2011
(Art. 3 Amendment Act of May 26, 2011)
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act of May 30, 1978 is the basis of monument law in the state of Lower Saxony . The law is usually quoted with the abbreviation NDSchG . It is one of the monument protection laws in Germany , as the legislative competence for monument protection lies at the level of the federal states .


Protest !” - Advertisement against the demolition of the Villa Willmer monument and for a Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act;
1970 in the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung


The state of Lower Saxony was only created in its current form after 1945. The predecessor territories that make up it all brought with them their own monument protection regulations, which were in effect until 1978. These included:

Innovations 2011

The law was slightly amended in 2011 . A major change is the explicit establishment of the polluter pays principle under the Malta Convention . The following changes have been made to the previously applicable version of the law:

  • The polluter pays principle applied indirectly even before the amendment to the law, but had to be derived from other provisions. It is now expressly written into it (§ 6 Paragraph 3). According to this, the initiator of the destruction of a cultural monument is obliged to carry out a professional examination, recovery and documentation as well as to assume the costs within the framework of what is reasonable.
  • Outstanding objects of geology and palaeontology are taken into account as a new and independent category “monuments of geological history” in the Monument Protection Act (Section 3 (1)). This includes, for example, the dinosaur tracks in Obernkirchen .
  • The UNESCO - World Heritage is mentioned in the form that include the Lower Saxony State Office for Monument Preservation in measures of considerable importance (§ 21 para. 2). This concerns the world heritage sites of the Hildesheim Cathedral and Michaelis Church , the Rammelsberg , the old town of Goslar , the Upper Harz water management and the Fagus plant .

Cultural monuments

The cultural monuments are categorized differently in the Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act, namely according to:

The State Office for Monument Preservation maintains a register of cultural monuments. The lower monument protection authorities and the municipalities keep excerpts from the directory for their area, which anyone can view.

Individual cultural monuments

An object is a cultural monument if its receipt from

there is a public interest . If one of these criteria is met, it is a cultural monument and it is worthy of protection, i. H. if it is to be destroyed or changed, that must be approved . Cultural monuments are architectural monuments , ground monuments and movable monuments. Plants , open spaces and water areas in the vicinity of a monument and accessories of a monument can be part of the cultural monument if they form a unit worth preserving with it.

Architectural monuments

Architectural monuments are the category of cultural monuments that is most present in the public consciousness. If the pair of terms architectural / ground monument is used, then garden monuments , technical monuments and small monuments count to the architectural monuments. For architectural monuments, with the support of the public sector, efforts should be made to ensure that they are preserved in the long term.

Soil monuments

According to the Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act, a ground monument is a cultural monument. This also applies to movable monuments. It is a matter connected to the ground or hidden by it or under water and created by man, which is testimony, remnant or trace of human life and for which excavations and discoveries are usually one of the main sources of scientific knowledge. As a result of this definition, animal or plant fossils do not count as cultural monuments.

Archaeological findings should generally be entered in a register of cultural monuments. However, this is not a prerequisite for protection under monument law. Anyone can inspect the directory and the extracts. However, inspection of movable monuments and accessories of architectural monuments is restricted to prevent destruction or theft . In these cases, the directory may only be viewed by owners or other persons with real rights.

Excavations and the recovery of finds are subject to authorization . Official inquiries are excluded. The responsible monument protection authority issues permits .

Excavation protection areas are planned and must be designated. Except for agricultural activity, all work that could endanger the cultural monument is subject to approval.

Owners and owners of archaeological monuments must allow cultural monuments to be marked with signs.

If a ground monument is found accidentally, the discoverer, owner of the site and / or the manager of the work during which the find was made must report this immediately to the monument protection authority, the municipality or a representative for archaeological monument preservation. Finds and places of discovery are then to be preserved unchanged for up to four working days in order to give the monument protection authority the opportunity to take further necessary measures. It is entitled to recover finds, to clarify the circumstances of the find and to take security measures. This rule does not affect the question of ownership of movable monuments. Owners or owners of the archaeological find must temporarily leave them to the monument protection authority for scientific evaluation, conservation or documentation . In Lower Saxony there is a limited treasure shelf for finds that are discovered during state research. In addition, the general rules of § 984 BGB apply , i. H. Half of the find belongs to the finder and half of the property owner.

Interventions in the cultural monument


The Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act is aimed primarily at the owners, as well as those entitled to heritable building rights and usufructuary users as well as anyone who exercises actual power over the cultural monument, e.g. B. Owner. They are obliged to preserve their cultural monument and treat it with care. However, there are limits to this maintenance obligation: It must be economically reasonable . This arises with regard to constitutionally guaranteed property. If the additional expenditure on monument preservation, i.e. the expenditure of preserving or maintaining a monument, exceeds the reasonable possibilities of the owner - including any tax advantages - this can be offset with grants from public or private funds. If that is not possible either, the state reacts in two ways:

  • he allows the owner to abandon the monument,
  • he expropriates the monument in return for appropriate monetary compensation.

The consequence of this mechanism is that monument owners cannot be unreasonably burdened by their monument.

Outside of the unreasonableness of preservation, the intervention in a cultural monument is to be approved, provided that

  • which is in the public interest for scientific reasons,
  • an overriding public interest of another kind requires the intervention.

Changes to the cultural monument

In the event of an intended change, the measure is always subject to approval. This applies to the cases where

  • a cultural monument destroyed, changed, repaired or restored,
  • a building or ground monument or part of it removed or provided with advertising measures,
  • the use of a monument changed or
  • In the vicinity of a monument, a system that influences the appearance of the monument is built, modified or removed

shall be. The approval can be linked to conditions or requirements . These can be that an expert is involved in the measures or the resulting impairment of the cultural monument is minimized by removing the ground monument z. B. is archaeologically correctly excavated and documented. In this way, the substance of the archaeological monument is given up, but documentation is created which, to a certain extent, preserves the value of the monument for science and its testimony character. The approval is granted - if necessary with conditions or requirements - if there are overriding reasons of the common good, i. H. of the conservation law for cultural monuments, do not conflict.

Immediate action

If immediate measures are required in the event of imminent danger , the monument protection authority can react accordingly. If the person responsible for maintaining a cultural monument does not fulfill his obligation and the cultural monument is endangered as a result, he can be obliged to carry out the necessary conservation measures. If he refuses and the condition of a cultural monument requires immediate intervention, monument protection authorities can take all measures that are suitable to avert the immediate danger to the existence of the cultural monument. Owners, owners and other persons obliged to maintain can be called upon to reimburse the costs incurred within the scope of what is reasonable.


Lower Saxony monument protection plaque
Monument protection plaque from 2018
Architectural monument (plaque from 2012 to 2017)
Ground monument (plaque from 2012 to 2017)

Since the amendment of the Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act in 2011, owners have been able to mark their architectural and ground monuments with a monument protection plaque, which is issued by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture as the highest monument protection authority. The plaques are issued on request by the lower monument protection authorities. Around 400 monument protection plaques were issued between 2012 and 2017. With their symbol, they were derived from the designation according to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954. To identify with the state of Lower Saxony and to avoid confusion, a new badge was introduced on January 1, 2018, which applies equally to architectural and ground monuments. It shows the Sachsenross as the state coat of arms.


Monument protection authorities

The administrative structure of the Lower Saxony monument administration is two-stage. There is the supreme monument protection authority, the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture , which also exercises technical supervision, and the districts as lower monument protection authorities . The state , the municipalities , districts and other municipal associations as well as the institutions and associations active in the preservation of monuments and the owners and owners of cultural monuments should work together in the exercise of monument protection and preservation . Since friction surfaces can arise here, the highest monument protection authority can act instead of a lower monument protection authority and order that the Lower Saxony State Office for Monument Preservation act in place of a lower monument protection authority.

In addition, volunteers can be appointed for the archaeological preservation of monuments. Their task is to support the monument protection authorities in all specific matters.

Historic monuments authority

The Lower Saxony State Office for the Preservation of Monuments acts as the state authority for monuments. In particular, it has the tasks

  1. to provide professional advice to monument protection, building and planning authorities , churches and others, in particular owners and owners of cultural monuments,
  2. To record, research and document cultural monuments and publish the results,
  3. to set up and maintain the register of monuments,
  4. Carry out restorations and excavations,
  5. to create a scientific basis for the preservation of monuments,
  6. to maintain central specialist libraries and archives.

Local jurisdiction is generally regulated: the authority in whose district the ground monument is located is responsible, and the local building supervisory authority is responsible for architectural monuments.


  • Hans Karsten Schmaltz, Reinald Wiechert: Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act: Comment. 2nd, completely revised edition. Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63390-4 .
  • Andreas Kleine-Tebbe, Dieter J. Martin, Christian Guntau: Monument law Lower Saxony: Commentary. 3. Edition. Kommunal- und Schulverlag, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-8293-1360-5 .
  • Arnd Hüneke: 40 years of the Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act. In: Niedersächsische Verwaltungsblätter (Vol. 26) 2019, pp. 278–283.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 4 (1) and (2) NDSchG
  2. § 3 (2) NDSchG
  3. Section 3 (1) of the NDSchG
  4. § 9 NDSchG
  5. Section 3 (5) of the NDSchG
  6. § 16 NDSchG
  7. § 22 NDSchG
  8. § 6 NDSchG
  9. Article 14 of the Basic Law
  10. § 7 EStG
  11. §§ 29, 30 NDSchG
  12. § 10 NDSchG
  13. Section 20 (2) of the NDSchG
  14. Guideline for the labeling of architectural monuments and ground monuments in accordance with Section 28, Paragraph 2 of the Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act with a monument protection plaque
  15. Monument protection plaque will in future bear the coat of arms of Lower Saxony. Press release from the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture from December 22, 2017.
  16. ^ New monument protection plaque for Lower Saxony in: Reports on the preservation of monuments in Lower Saxony , 2/2018, p. 93
  17. § 19 NDSchG
  18. § 21 NDSchG