Transfer of Cultural Property

Cultural property

Cultural property is tangible evidence of culture and history that occupies a special place in identifying the individual as well as the community as a whole. It further defines the self-image and social cohesion of a society. This is why the protection of cultural heritage is today one of the more important duties of a state.

What is considered cultural property under the Federal Act on the International Transfer of Cultural Property (CPTA)?

To qualify as cultural property in terms of the CPTA (Art. 2 para. 1 CPTA), the object must:

  • belong to one of the categories provided for under Article 1 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention; and
  • be significant from a religious or secular point of view for archaeology, pre-history, literature, art or the sciences.
  • Portable music instruments considered cultural propertyPlease see Information for private individuals - > Transfer of cultural property.

Further information : Federal Office of Culture - cultural property.

Import, export and transit of cultural property

The following website of the Federal Office of Culture provides answers to the most important questions about the import, export and transit of cultural property from and to Switzerland:

Federal Office of Culture - import, export and transit of cultural property


The storage of cultural property in a free port or open customs warehouse is considered an import in terms of the CPTA and must be declared (Art. 19 CPTA, Art. 26 CPTO). For the declaration, form 11.95 has to be used. 

Cultural heritage - ancient vases

Further info

The full context is available in: