The Heritage Conservation Act is the law that governs Swedish cultural conservation efforts. Its origins date back to Sweden’s period as a great power, making it the world’s oldest legislation for the protection of ancient monuments and remains.

In 1666, the “Placat och Påbudh om Gamble Monumenter och Antiquiteter” (“Placard and decree on old monuments and antiques”) stipulated that no damage could be done to ancient remains. The law has largely remained the same over the centuries, with certain additions and amendments.

The Heritage Conservation Act states that:

  • The protection and care of our cultural heritage is a national concern for which we all share the responsibility,
  • The county administrative boards are charged with supervising heritage conservation at the county level, and the National Heritage Board is charged with supervision at the national level,
  • Permanent ancient remains are defined as traces of human activity in ancient times, left as a result of past use and which have been permanently abandoned,
  • Shipwrecks are classed as permanent ancient remains if it can be assumed that they have sunked before 1850.
  • The Count Administrative Board can decide that "new" wrecks can be ancient remains,
  • No one may, without permission, disturb, remove, excavate, cover or in any other way alter or damage permanent ancient remains or wrecks,
  • The Act protects not just known ancient remains, but also those that have not yet been discovered.

If you are planning a building extension, dredging work, cable laying or similar, you should contact the county administrative board at an early stage. It may become necessary to make archaeological investigations or apply special measures to protect remains during the planning period