New German cultural property act passed.
Today at 11.36 hours, the German Bundesrat, the council of all 16 German Countries has approved the very controversial new German law on the protection of cultural property.
This will make the life of many art dealers and auction houses (not only antiquities) very hard.
We expect that the law will be in force within a few weeks, though none of the German countries who have to deal with it on a daily basis is prepared.
We have fought against this law since August 6 - 2014, till the very last minute yesterday evening, with the help of our specialised Lawyer Dr. Astrid Müller Katzenburg, who has done a fantastic job. She was very committed to our cause and has done far more than we could expect for the fee she received. If one compares the first draft of this law with the final version, there are more than 40 changes. Some of those in our favour, were initiated by us. We have prevented the very worst, but are still very disappointed.
I want to thank Ursula Kampmann for organising the internet petition that resulted in 48.000 signatures against the law, though none of the politicians was interested. There has been no new law in Germany after 1945, that was so controversial as this one.
And still it has passed without the necessary changes. The law is a sloppy piece of work, according to many respected legal experts.
It is obvious that art is a low interest subject and no politician is willing to spend much time thinking about it.
According to many scholars, the law is violating the German constitution and clearly violating the European guarantee of the free movement of goods as regulated in Art 36 from the treaty of Rome. The first court cases can be expected soon.
To export from Germany within Europe one now needs an export licence for all archaeological objects, irrespective of the value (= € 0,0) and for other types of cultural goods there are value thresholds
To import from other countries into Germany there are also restrictions even from EU countries.
Beware! You cannot ship an antiquity to a German client without the risk of him violating this law. (even within Europe)
I will ask our lawyers to write simple instructions about how to conduct your business with German clients. The do’s and don’ts.
We have fought and only partly succeeded but at least we have tried.