Updated:3/1/2021

When planning a clean-up operation, it is important to check whether there is any cultural heritage in the area where cleaning will be carried out. Clean-up may involve larger or smaller interventions and burden on an area, and it is therefore important to be cautious in areas that are listed or protected due to cultural heritage value.

The Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act sets out requirements that cultural heritage and cultural environments, including their uniqueness and variety, must be protected both as part of our cultural heritage and identity and as part of comprehensive environmental and resource management and that interventions in listed cultural heritage are prohibited. Several cultural heritages from ancient and medieval times are automatically listed.

What is cultural heritage?

Cultural heritage refers to all traces of human activity in our physical environment, including locations associated with historical events, faiths, or tradition. Cultural environments refer to areas in which cultural heritage is part of a larger whole or context.

There are many different types of cultural heritage in Norway, from different historical eras and parts of society. Over time, it has been most common to protect attractive buildings and monuments, such as churches. Many cultural monuments are covered by earth or vegetation and are therefore not visible. These could include the remains of old settlements, burial mounds, and coal pits.

Cultural heritage types

There are different cultural heritage types in Norway:

  • Medieval wooden houses
  • Industrial cultural heritage
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Listed cultural environments
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Non-fixed monuments or relics

Technical and industrial cultural heritage means traces of industrial culture and history. The UNESCO World Heritage Site list includes areas and objects that have irreplaceable cultural or natural value, with eight Norwegian sites included on the list. A listed cultural environment may be an urban area, a mountain hamlet, a fishing village, or an industrial area. Cultural landscapes are landscapes that to a greater or lesser extent are influenced by human activity, such as agriculture. Non-fixed monuments or relics are examples of cultural heritage that is randomly discovered. Examples include objects from ancient and medieval times, such as weapons, tools, coins, and jewellery.

Clean-up activities and history

In certain contexts, it may be relevant to use cultural heritage as motivation for a clean-up operation. You can do something beneficial for nature and the sea, while also seeing and experiencing something interesting and exciting. There is a lot of history to be found in cultural heritage and it can be enjoyable to share this information with the clean-up operation participants as a way of generating commitment, curiosity, and a desire to clean.

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