165th Anniversary of Establishment of the Royal and Imperial Central Commission

for Preservation and Research of Artistic Heritage (1853 – 2018)


The international scientific conference seeks to commemorate the beginnings of institutional monument protection in Central Europe. On 10 January 1853, the Imperial and Royal Central Commission for Preservation and Research of Artistic Heritage started to operate. Thus began the actual practice of modern monument protection in the Habsburg Monarchy, and its continuity lasts to this day. The Central Commission intervened in all the Crownlands and left traces of its conservation and research work in each of them.



Already during the existence of the monarchy, an “autonomous” administration for monument protection in Hungary (for that time including also Slovakia) was established with competences determined by a special legal act (1881). At the same time, the initiatives of private scholars and learned societies have developed.
The fall of the monarchy in the years 1918–19 means an end of the primary stage of the institutional protection of monuments in Central Europe. But the “Viennese” legacy becomes a basis for heritage administration in various successor states: Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and Italy. Advancing from the common grounds the practice of monument protection in these states set out to their own specific (national) ways.
The post-war idea of integration within Europe, originally in the spheres of industry and economics (1951), has gradually, and particularly after the political changes in 1989, developed into deeper cooperation also in the sphere of culture. The well-known historiographic fact of “common history” connecting Europe is successfully documented especially by the example of cultural heritage. The existence of mutually close cultural, architectonic and artistic phenomena in various countries has already led to a number of multilateral projects and ultimately also to the European Union’s initiative entitled the European Heritage Label (2011).