Export of cultural objects

Kapioarkku, Rovaniemi, 1826, Suomen kansallismuseon kokoelmat. Kuva: Museokuva Matti Huuhka & CoAn export licence is always required when bringing objects which are part of Finland's cultural heritage out of the country.

The new Act on Restrictions to the Export of Cultural Objects (11.11.2016/933) entered into force on 1 January 2017.
The purpose of the Act is to protect and preserve cultural heritage objects deemed to be national treasures of Finland, by restricting the export of scientifically, artistically and historically valuable cultural objects.

Objects requiring an export licence are divided into four main categories:

  • objects related to national history and prominent persons
  • objects referred to in the Antiquities Act
  • valuable archives and collections
  • objects listed in a separate appendix, whose licence requirement is affected by the object age, country of origin and duration of time in Finland.  

The Act on Restrictions to the Export of Cultural Objects does not apply to the ownership rights of a private person if that person moves out of Finland or if they come into possession of an object through inheritance or under a deed of partition. The Act applies to the export of all cultural objects, which are specified in the Act as being are part of the national cultural heritage, from Finland to other European Union member states and to countries outside the European Union. In addition to the Act on Restrictions to the Export of Cultural Objects, Council Regulation (EC) 116/2009 on the Export of Cultural Goods applies to the export of cultural objects to countries outside the European Union.

The National Board of Antiquities is the central licensing authority that gives advice and guidance in matters concerning the export of cultural objects The National Board of Customs is the authority that supervises the export of cultural objects. The Finnish National Gallery and the War Museum are empowered to issue national export licences for cultural goods according to their field of expertise.



Contact information

Mirva Mattila, kulttuuriasiainneuvos 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Kulttuuri- ja taidepolitiikan osasto (KUPO), Taiteen ja kulttuuriperinnön vastuualue (TAKU) 0295330269