Police Teach Cultural Property Protection at University

The freshly signed cooperation agreement between the Landeskriminalamt (State Criminal Police Office) of Baden-Württemberg and the University of Heidelberg specifies how police experts will accompany the new MA degree programme in “Cultural Property Protection”
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=4]

“The State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg (LKA BW) will actively accompany the courses of the Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection degree programme at Heidelberg University. Not only in the context of cultural property protection do archaeology and forensics have the common goal of drawing concrete conclusions about human behaviour and reconstructing past events from interpretating clues and deetail analyses. To do this, both disciplines basically use the same methods, have comparable technical equipment and use common procedures in the area of searching for and securing evidence. Therefore, in the future, Heidelberg University and LKA BW will benefit very well from each other with joint and interdisciplinary lectures, courses and scientific events. In addition, students from the University of Heidelberg will also have the opportunity to get to know the investigative work of our State Criminal Police Office in the area of art and cultural property crime even more intensively. It’s a classic case of a win-win situation,” says LKA President Andreas Stenger.

Cultural Property Protection Course to Start in Heidelberg in Autumn 2022

Due to the pandemic, the official kick-off of the MA degree programme Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection was delayed again and again. On 21 October 2022, the time has finally come: Professor Dr Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, Deputy Executive Director of HCCH from the Institute of Classical Archaeology at Heidelberg University, and Andreas Stenger, President of the LKA BW, gave a dialogue lecture. Afterwards, they exchanged views with students, staff and cooperation partners on the topics of archaeology, forensics, art crime and the protection of cultural property. The ceremonial conclusion of the event was the signing of a joint cooperation agreement. The signatories were Professor Dr Christian Witschel, Executive Director of the HCCH, Professor Dr Dr h.c. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and LKA President Andreas Stenger. The Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage, or HCCH for short, and the LKA BW will generate synergies, particularly in dealing with cultural property crime.

How German Police Are Active in the Protection of Cultural Property

The LKA BW is the central office for special tasks in the fight against crime in Baden-Württemberg. It investigates politically motivated crimes, organised crime, economic and environmental crime as well as cases of art and cultural property crime. As a central office, the LKA BW ensures uniform state-wide standards in the fight against crime, including in the area of art and cultural property crime. Art and cultural property crime includes property offences, for example when paintings or sculptures are stolen or forged and archaeological objects and other cultural property are illegally placed on the market, or when suspicions arise of illegal trade in cultural property of all kinds and violations of the legal norms of the Cultural Property Protection Act are detected. The central point of contact for the area of art crime in Baden-Württemberg is Inspectorate 310 at the LKA BW. In addition to handling preliminary investigations, its tasks also include the worldwide search for art objects and cultural assets.

What is the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage?

The Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage (HCCH) is a central scientific institution of the University of Heidelberg. The tasks of the HCCH are the bundling and long-term expansion of internal and external competences and activities in basic research on cultural legacies of past and present societies. It is also concerned with applying the results of disciplinary and interdisciplinary basic research to the analysis, documentation, indexing, maintenance, museum presentation and lively visualisation of this cultural heritage.


Click here to visit the HCCH website.

The real extent of the illegal trade in cultural property was documented in the latest WCO Illicit Trade report.