Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade
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Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Robert Kirkwood Paterson

This Handbook offers a collection of original writings by leading scholars and practitioners in the exciting, rapidly developing field of cultural heritage law. The detailed essays are the product of a multi-year project of the Committee on Cultural Heritage Law of the International Law Association.
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Chapter 7: Germany

Kurt Siehr


To begin with, by import and export, or "removal" as it is called within the European Union, I mean the state prohibition on some goods being allowed to cross state borders without governmental permission. A completely different matter is how to control and enforce such prohibitions. Normally this is done by customs authorities. But this is not possible in many cases. Therefore, under some conventions or implemented regulations, every state authority, whether police or courts, is authorized to seize, enforce and return illegally removed objects to the State of origin. These prohibitions on importing and exporting cultural objects have to be distinguished from controlling illegal import and export of goods generally. This is the pattern in Germany. Germany is a Member State of the European Union (EU) and has to share the policies of the EU. One of these policies is the "internal market" without any internal border controls, which entered into force on 1 January 1993, and became the so-called customs union. Every EU Member State is treated as if it were the member of a federal state without customs borders. According to this policy there are not any more border or customs controls between the Member States of the EU.

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