The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has several Directorates involved in the protection of cultural heritage: the policy department Directorate Cultural Heritage and the supervising department Cultural Heritage Inspectorate. Both departments were involved in the realization of the Cultural Property (Return from Occupied Territory) Act (2007) (the 1954 Hague Convention and its Protocols) and the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Implementation) Act (2009).
The Directorate Cultural Heritage is on a policy level responsible for cultural legislation and is chair of the national steering committee on the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural goods in which representatives of the Ministries of Finance (Customs), Culture, Security and Justice are representated. Main task of this steering committee is to prepare a coherent policy for the Government and to coordinate the activities between the institutions involved.
The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate is responsible for supervising compliance in relation to the 1970 and 1954 UNESCO Conventions. It is the competent authority for the Iraq Sanctions Order 2004 II and the central authority for European legislation.
The Inspectorate works closely with Dutch Customs (controlling task). Within the Customs organization contact persons in respect of cultural goods are designated. The Customs have a Central Licensing Unit for Import and Export of Cultural Goods.
There is also cooperation with the Netherlands Police. Contact persons are designated for art criminality within the regional police forces since 2013. Furthermore, there is within the Department of International Police Information, an Arts and Antiques Crime Unit with the task of filing stolen works of art in the Netherlands, and of maintaining contacts with Interpol.
On an international level the contact persons of the Directorate Cultural Heritage and the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate are represented in diverse working meetings and groups.
Several tools, practices and programmes were developed by the Ministry of Education, Cutlure and Science, among others:
- Production of flyers for the public on the import and export of cultural goods,
- Partnership between the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate and the Dutch customs for the development of Risk analysis on illegal import and export of cultural goods, as well as pilot projects,
- Development of training and awareness-raising programmes for Dutch Customs, Police and Public Ministry on the recognition of cultural goods and the knowledge on cultural legislation,
- Implementation of preventive programmes such as via the networks for the prevention of damage to cultural heritage (in towns and regions in the NL) and the Safety Programme of the Netherlands Agency for Cultural Heritage,
- Signature of the translated version of the ICOM Code of Ethics (Ethische Code voor Musea) as an requirement to be registered as a museum in the Netherlands.