Cultural heritage - Cultural environments


Definition: The dataset covers cultural environments protected according to the Cultural heritage act § 20, areas included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and urban cultural environments of national importance. The cultural environments that are protected according to the Cultural heritage act § 20 have the same protection as any protected cultural heritage site or monument. Candidates to the UNESCO World Heritage list are proposed by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage based on cultural environments that are considered to have international cultural heritage value. Urban cultural environments of national importance include towns and villages in Norway that contain cultural environments of national cultural heritage value. These cultural environments are not subject to formal protection, but it cannot be ruled out that some of these environments, or objects within them, should in the future become protected according to the Cultural heritage act.

Updated: 22.05.2024
Submitter: Norwegian Mapping Authority
Owner: Directorate for Cultural Heritage


The term “Cultural environment” was included in the Cultural heritage act as part of the 1992 revision of the act. As a result of the revision it became possible to protect a cultural environment based on the cultural historical value of the environment, even though the separate elements of the cultural environment were not considered worthy of protection in themselves. To protect a cultural environment according to the Cultural heritage act is a comprehensive procedure, and the final resolution is made by the King in State Council. Protected cultural environments are important to consider in planning as they provide restrictions on the use of, often large, municipal areas. The World Heritage Convention was adopted in 1972 and the primary goal of the convention is to identify cultural and natural heritage of universal significance. Norway ratified the convention on May 12th, 1977. The Ministry of Climate and Environment is the topmost responsible authority for following up world heritage in Norway. The Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Norwegian Environment Agency have the professional responsibility of following up the convention. The Directorate for Cultural Heritage is the coordinating directorate. Even though the UNESCO World heritage environments are not protected according to Norwegian law, they are particularly important cultural environments that must be considered in spatial planning. The historical towns and villages are now experiencing a comprehensive development pressure as a consequence of the urbanising trends in modern societal development. Urban cultural environments of national importance define areas where particular care needs to be taken in future administration and development. Even though these environments do not have formal protection according to Norwegian law, they provide a basis for the identification of consideration zones according to the plan and building act. The environments can also be grounds for objections to spatial planning.

Inspire tema: Protected sites


Areal: 0

Relevant areal: 0

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