Cultural Environment

Cultural heritage is not just the individual building, monument or object.

Cultural heritage can also be a combined group of elements in a given context – a cultural environment. In recent years we have become increasingly aware of this.

We define a cultural environment as "a geographically delimited area that reflects significant features of our society's historical development".

The Surroundings Contribute to the Story

The story of life on a manor can only be told properly if we have also preserved the immediate surroundings of the manor – its avenues, park, labourer's cottages, fields, woods, meadows and stone walls.

Likewise, the story of fishing can be told by a fishing vessel, but it becomes even better if we can present an entire fishing hamlet with drying grounds, tar cauldrons, harbour/piers, sheds, etc. The same applies to agriculture with farms, fields and hedgerows; the squares of market towns; ports; industrial environments and other environments that tell a story and that have been selected and found valuable.

Holckenhavn castle, Nyborg. Photo: Torben Malm

The Role of Local Authorities

According to The Planning Act in Denmark, local authorities in Denmark must designate and protect valuable cultural environments. This means that when they plan roads, housing, industrial estates, recreational areas, etc. they must take the cultural environment and other cultural history aspects into account.

In collaboration with the Danish Ministry of the Environment, the Danish Agency for Culture lays down the overall guidelines for securing valuable cultural environments.

Under the Danish Museum Act, the local authorities must consult the local cultural heritage museum when they draft plans for new housing, infrastructure, etc. In this way, the museums apply their expertise to secure significant urban and rural cultural heritage.


Last updated: 29.11.2010
  • Agency for Culture and Palaces
  • H.C. Andersens Boulevard 2
  • DK-1553 Copenhagen V
  • Telephone: +45 33 95 42 00

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