You need a license to export cultural property from Germany if the cultural property exceeds certain age or value limits. Cultural assets are, for example, works of art, archaeological objects, archival materials, manuscripts or antiques such as furniture, musical instruments or jewelry. You can find out about the age and value limits, for example, on the internet portal of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the protection of cultural property.
If the permit requirement is dependent on a financial value of the cultural asset, this value is
- the price paid within the last 3 years for a purchase or sale, or
- in other cases, a justified domestic appraised value at the time of application.
You can apply for the permit at the competent authority. A distinction is made between permanent and temporary export. The export is temporary if it is for a period limited from the beginning to a maximum of 5 years.
You apply for a permit to export cultural property in writing to the competent authority of the federal state in which the cultural property is located at the time of application. If you are a legal entity, your head office in the federal territory is decisive for the local jurisdiction.
Note: You can also use a new online procedure in pilot operation to apply for export licenses for cultural property. The online procedure includes an optional pre-check to determine, based on a few questions, whether an export license is needed in a specific case. In general, you no longer have to select the correct application yourself; it is determined automatically on the basis of the information provided. The pilot operation serves to further test and optimize the procedure. At the same time, the procedure is to be expanded by the end of 2022 so that it will also be possible to issue the license digitally.