Rechtsanwalt Peter Windorfer Düsseldorf





The development of monument protection and monument preservation in North Rhine-Westphalia has been shaped by the societal values of the recent centuries: From a romantic era, in which primarily medieval cultural property had to be protected, through the founding of the second German Empire in 1871 into the time of the failed renovation policy after two world wars.

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) was awarded autonomy in cultural politics by the military occupation forces in 1946 through Ordinance No. 57. It originally referred to monument protection plans of the Prussian state without enacting an independent law. In its 1950 constitution, it then declared the protection of monuments of art, history and culture to be a state goal. After that, it was thirty years before the Monument Protection Act (Denkmalschutzgesetz, DSchG) was passed in 1980.

NRW opted for the so-called constitutive registration system. This means that monuments are not protected as such thanks to their nature, i.e. if they alone meet the requirements of Sec. 2 DSchG. Rather, they must have been entered into the list of monuments by administrative act (Sec. 3 DSchG), or, if they are monument areas, must have been protected by virtue of the municipal statute (Sec. 5 DSchG). According to Sec. 9 DSchG there is a preventive ban for all measures on the protected object with a reservation of permission. This means that owners must obtain the permission of the monument authority, for example if they want to eliminate the risk of a fine according to Sec. 41 DSchG.

However, owning a monument is not only associated with obligations and restrictions, but also with the possibility, for example, of receiving funding from the state. In addition, tax breaks under the Income Tax Act come into consideration. After all, North Rhine-Westphalia, like all German states, has a strong interest in preserving objects worth protecting.

We advise and represent state institutions as well as private and state owners of monuments - in North Rhine-Westphalia, throughout Germany and internationally - on all legal questions of monument protection, especially in connection with:


  • Entry of a monument in the list of monuments

  • Contesting the registration of a monument in the list of monuments

  • Municipal statutes for the protection of a monument area

  • Temporary protection of a monument

  • Granting and refusing of permits

  • Sale of a monument

  • Excavations

  • Treasure trove

  • Monument protection and building permit

  • Monument protection and emission control permit

  • Expropriation under monument law

  • Takeover of a monument by the municipal community

  • Compensation for monuments

  • Public funding for measures at a monument

  • Certificates for obtaining tax breaks

  • Fines


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T: +49 (0) 211 882 50270

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