Listing of an immovable asset as archaeological heritage

Luxembourg's national archaeological heritage includes the tangible remains and any other evidence of past human existence, of which the:

  • conservation and protection are in the public interest; and
  • scientific study would be helpful in tracing the development of life, the history of humanity and the relationship between humans and the natural environment.

Examples where these criteria apply might include:

  • structures;
  • buildings;
  • architectural complexes;
  • developed sites;
  • movable samples, including palaeontological, mineralogical and geological specimens;
  • other types of monuments;

and the context in which they were found, whether above ground, buried in the subsoil, or underwater.

Applications to have an archaeological site listed as an archaeological heritage asset must be filed with the Minister of Culture. The listing procedure may also be initiated by the Minister.

Who is concerned

Applications to have an archaeological site listed as an archaeological asset must be sent to the Minister of Culture by:

  • the owners of an archaeological site;
  • the communal administration on whose territory an archaeological site is located;
  • a non-profit association whose purpose is to safeguard cultural heritage;
  • a private individual;
  • the Cultural Heritage Commission (Commission pour le patrimoine culturel - COPAC).


The listing of an archaeological site is confirmed by a ministerial decree, which must be issued by the Minister of Culture within 12 months of the notification of intent to list the site as a heritage site. Past that deadline, the listing procedure will lapse.

How to proceed

Listing application

The listing application must be filed with the Minister of Culture. The following information must be included:

  • the applicant's surname, first name, profession, date and place of birth, and personal address or, if the application is being made by a legal person, the company name, its legal form, the address of its registered office, and its registration number in the Trade and Companies Register;
  • the location of the archaeological site (address, commune, locality, street and street number, or place name, local road or national road, and the land register plot number);
  • photos of the archaeological site;
  • a description of the archaeological site and the reasons why it should be listed as an archaeological heritage asset;
  • any other relevant document or evidence in support of the application.

Ministerial initiative

The listing procedure may also be initiated by the Minister of Culture. In that case, a notification of the Minister's intent to list the site – including the conditions to which listing is subject and information relating to the payment of some form of indemnity – must be sent to the owner by registered letter.

The conservatory effects of listed status shall apply automatically from the moment the Minister serves notice of their intent to list the site.

The Minister must seek the advice of the Cultural Heritage Commission and of the communal council in the commune where the archaeological site is located. The owner, and any other bodies that are consulted, have 3 months from the date of notice in which to submit their comments.

Effects of listing

The effects of having an archaeological site listed as an archaeological heritage asset are as follows:

  • the owner must make every effort to conserve the listed archaeological site;
  • any repairs, restorations or modifications other than normal upkeep, which need to be done to the outside or inside of the listed archaeological site, require the Minister's written approval. For listed archaeological sites, this includes any works that entail disturbance of the soil – including digging, excavations, and digs of any sort – and notably any type of building work, the installation of technical or other equipment, planting, etc., regardless of the scope and depth of the works;
  • no new buildings may be constructed on a listed archaeological site without the Minister's written consent. For such projects, the owner must file an application to have the impact of the works on the archaeological heritage assessed;
  • the application for the works permit must be sent, in writing, to the Minister before the planned commencement of any work. The National Institute of Archaeological Research (Institut national de recherches archéologiques – INRA) recommends that project owners wishing to carry out work on a listed archaeological site, or on an adjoining plot of land, contact the INRA at the start of the planning process, to obtain their an agreement in principle;
  • the authorised work will be overseen by the INRA. The owner of an archaeological site listed as a national cultural heritage asset may be eligible for assistance in project management.

Who to contact

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