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Cultural goods

  • What is a cultural good?

    The term ‘cultural goods’ generally refers to a series of works of art that you usually find in a museum.

    There are criteria for classifying objects as cultural goods:

    • nature
    • age
    • financial value
  • Why are cultural goods under supervision?

    Cultural goods are part of the national cultural heritage and are an integral part of the cultural wealth of a state.
    Moreover, they are often worth a lot, which makes them attractive for the black market. The proceeds from the illegal sale of these objects can be used to purchase weapons, finance terror or might be laundered by criminal groups.

  • What import and export measures are in force for cultural goods?

    Currently, the export licence regulates the export of cultural goods (Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 of 18 December 2009). It is issued by the three communities in Belgium or the competent institutions in the other member states and covers a single cultural good or a group of cultural goods.
    In addition to the above-mentioned rules on export, other regulations provide for specific measures for the import and export of cultural goods originating in or destined for Iraq or Syria (Council Regulations (EC-EU) No 1210/2003 of 7 July 2003 and No 1332/2013 of 13 December 2013). In such cases, the goods are under the supervision of a licence issued by the Federal Public Service Economy (for Belgium) or the competent services in other Member States.

    The regular customs measures also continue to apply to movements of cultural goods.

    If you wish to export cultural goods to, for example, Syria, you must have an export licence from one of the three Communities and a licence from the FPS Economy.

  • How can I contact the Belgian competent services for import or export of cultural goods?

    Flemish Community
    Ministry of the Flemish Community
    Culture Administration
    Visual Arts and Museums Department
    Parochiaansstraat 15
    1000 Brussels

    French Community
    Ministry of the French Community
    General Directorate of Culture
    General Department of Cultural Heritage and Visual Arts
    Boulevard Léopold II 44
    1080 Brussels

    German-speaking Community
    Ministry of the German-speaking Community
    Cultural Affairs Department
    Gospertstrasse 1
    4700 Eupen

    Licences for import and export to and from Syria and Iraq

    FPS Economy
    Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy
    General Directorate for Economic Analyses and International Economy
    International Division - Licensing Department
    Vooruitgangstraat 50
    1210 Brussels
    Fax: +32 2 277 50 63