More detailed report: National Policy Report

National coordinatorMiroslava TURKOVIĆ


In recent years, the state administration in the Republic of Serbia at all levels has recognized the role of culture in sustainable development and in strategic documents such as the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, various sectoral strategies related to education, information society, youth, and gender equality. Culture has gained a special place in the Sustainable Urban Development Strategy until 2030. This strategy is aligned with international regulations, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning, International Guidelines on Decentralization and Access to Basic Services for All, and the Global State of National Urban Policy. In all its segments, it addresses culture, from analyzing cultural heritage and culture as a key area of urban development to the cultural differences of social groups and the complementarity of material and non-material culture, traditional and modern, local and national. Special attention is given to sustainable management and protection of heritage, spatial units with immovable cultural assets, architectural and urban heritage. Within the measures to achieve the goals of sustainable urban development, and in order to enhance the quality and accessibility of urban space in a consistent manner, cultural heritage and culture play a crucial role.

In 2020, three important strategic documents were adopted and they directly or indirectly involve the field of culture. The specific goal of the Strategy for the Development of Public Information System in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2020-2025 is to ensure that "quality, pluralistic, and diverse media content meets the information needs of various social groups" (national minorities, women, persons with disabilities, diaspora, civil society, and others). The Smart Specialization Strategy in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2020-2027 was adopted as a strategic approach to economic development, to be implemented through targeted support for research, development, and innovation activities, recognizing creative industries as one of the priority areas. The Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2020-2025 made the Republic of Serbia, at the time of adoption, the first country in Southeastern Europe and the 26th in the world to have such a strategy, aiming to address the challenges posed by digital technologies in all areas of social life. The strategy emphasizes that defining priority areas is essential, including priorities that may not have an immediate economic impact, such as health, security, language, culture, and similar domains.

Within the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Government Program 2023-2026, some of the identified priority goals include: 1) improving infrastructure and content in culture, tourism, and sports, and 2) enhancing international economic and cultural cooperation.

At the beginning of 2021, the Ministry of Culture and Media defined the Strategic Priorities for the Development of Culture in the Republic of Serbia from 2021 to 2025, which received the approval of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. This document recognizes 20 priority points for cultural policy, with the aim of improving the cultural field, strengthening awareness of cultural identity, adopting new modern and innovative methods and technologies for its transmission, as well as fostering connections and collaboration with stakeholders in the fields of education, science, and tourism.

The strategic goals include: budget and its increase, preservation of cultural and historical heritage, cooperation with UNESCO, 21st century museums, galleries, art, film, competition among broadcasters, decentralization of cultural production, introducing art and culture into schools, education and participation in cultural programs, cultural diplomacy, launching and continuing major projects - constructing significant facilities, public-private partnerships, and collaboration with other stakeholders, tax incentives for investment in culture, the economic dimension of culture, popular culture, digitalization, development of cultural tourism, improving the position of independent artists, cultural workers, and professional artists' associations. Working on these goals will certainly contribute to the balanced development of culture as a widely accessible field for acquiring knowledge, strengthening identity, and the freedom to create and present cultural expressions.

The Republic of Serbia has ratified the most important international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage. In addition, the national regulatory framework extensively defines the field of protection, preservation, and management of heritage. The most important documents in the domain of heritage protection include the Law on Culture, the Law on Museum Activity, the Law on Cultural Heritage, which replaced in 2022 the 1994 Law on Cultural Property, the Law on Archival Materials and Archival Activities, the Law on Old and Rare Library Materials, and the Law on Film and Other Audiovisual Heritage. The national legal framework in the field of culture has also established numerous by-laws that regulate specific activities and areas.

Serbia has five cultural monuments and sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List:

  • Stari Ras and Sopocani, a group of monuments that include the monastery Sopoćani, the monastery Djurdjevi Stupovi, St Peter’s Church and the remains of the Ras fortress on Gradina (1979)
  • Studenica Monastery (1986)
  • Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius (2007)
  • Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (2004), a group of monuments that include the Dečani Monastery, Gračanica Monastery, Pećka patrijaršija Monastery and the Church of Holy Virgin of Ljeviša in Prizren, which is on the World Heritage List in Danger
  • Stećci – Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (2016), crossborder serial property with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro.

Serbia has five entries in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

In addition to the mentioned entries, Serbia protects approximately 46,000 movable cultural assets and 3,080 elements of immovable heritage. It also has 55 elements on the national list of intangible cultural heritage, which is regularly updated. Civil society organizations and individuals play a significant role in the protection of intangible cultural heritage by proposing entries for the national list.

The following entries are included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register: Nikola Tesla's Archive (2003), the Miroslav Gospel (2005), Telegram of Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia – the ultimatum to Serbia which triggered World War I (2015), and the First Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Archives held from 1st to 6th September 1961 in Belgrade (2023).



Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia is taking care of 28 national institutions, among which are: Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia, National Museum of Serbia, State Archives of Serbia (that includes the network of archives 36 public archives), Archives of Yugoslavia, National Library of Serbia (including the network of the public libraries 164 public libraries), etc., Yugoslav Film Archives, Film Center of Serbia and other institutions.

Under jurisdiction of the Ministry are also 17 institutions located in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija (KiM), and among them are: Museum in Priština, Historical Archives of Gnjilane, Historical Archives of Prizren, National Theater in Priština, National and University Library in Priština, House of Culture in Gračanica, etc. All of them collect the treasures of Serbian history and tradition in this area.

The public institutional framework for heritage protection includes a network of 14 Institutes for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, a network of 75 museums, 21 galleries with collections, and the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage. Numerous libraries safeguard local collections, rare books, and old books, and a large number of archives preserve materials of cultural value.

The National Museum of Serbia ( is responsible for movable cultural heritage as the central institution for protecting museum collections under the Museum Activity Law. The National Museum of Serbia maintains the central register of cultural assets. The network of museums also includes 11 central museums responsible for various types of museum collections.

The system for the protection of immovable cultural heritage is administered by 14 Institutes for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, organized based on territorial jurisdiction. The central institution is the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments (

Central registries of cultural assets are maintained by central institutions for the protection of cultural assets, including the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the National Museum of Serbia, the National Library of Serbia, the State Archive of Serbia, the Yugoslav Film Archive, and the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade.

The Cultural Heritage Law also envisages the establishment and maintenance of unified information systems for archives, institutes, audiovisual archives, libraries, museums, and galleries, all managed by central protection institutions.

In addition to the network of national cultural institutions under the direct authority of the Ministry of Culture and local institutions whose founders are local self-governments, the National Assembly of Serbia appointed the National Council for Culture as an expert advisory body on 26 November, 2021, based on the Ministry of Culture's proposal.



The umbrella law for cultural domains is the Law on Culture ("Official Gazette of RS," No. 72/2009, 13/2016, 30/2016 - corrigendum, 6/2020, 47/2021, and 78/2021). Based on this law, specialized laws have been drafted for various cultural domains, such as the Law on Cultural Heritage, the Law on Archive Materials and Archiving Activities, the Law on Museum Activities, the Law on Film and Other Audiovisual Heritage, and others. These laws have also necessitated the adoption of additional bylaws for better implementation. 

In 2021, the Law on Cultural Heritage was adopted as the umbrella law in the field of cultural heritage, which has been in effect since January 2023. This framework allows the Republic of Serbia to comprehensively regulate the field of cultural heritage protection and preservation and to create a legal framework for detailed regulation through specific laws covering all areas of cultural assets protection, serving as the primary legal source for this matter.

National legislation:

  • Law on Culture (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 72/09, 13/16, 30/16, 6/20, 47/21, 78/21)
  • Cultural Property Law (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 71/94, 52/11-ad.low, 99/11-ad.low, 6/20-ad.low, 35/21-ad.low)
  • Law on Library and Information Activity (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 52/11)
  • Law on Old and Rare Library Materials (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 52/11)
  • Law on Matica Srpska (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 49/92)
  • The Law on Archive Materials and Archiving Activities, (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 6/20)
  • Law on Museum Activities, (Official Gazette of RS No. 35/21, 96/21)
  • Law on Cultural Heritage, (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 129/21)
  • Law on the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the Holy Monastery of Hilandar (Official Gazette of RS No. 94/21)
  • Law on the restoration of the cultural and historical heritage and encouraging the development of Sremski Karlovci (Official Gazette of RS No. 52/21).



Serbia has ratified a significant number of international conventions and protocols aimed at enhancing cooperation:

  • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague, 1954);
  • Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 1970);
  • Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972);
  • Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (Geneva, 1971);
  • WIPO Copyright Treaty (Geneva, 1996);
  • WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (Geneva, 1996)
  • Protocol to the Florence Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Materials (Florence, 1950);
  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2003);
  • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Paris, 2005);
  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Revised) (Berne, 1971);
  • White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Strasbourg, 2008);
  • European Cultural Convention (Paris, 1954);
  • European Convention on the Protection of the Architectural Heritage (Granada, 1985);
  • European Convention on Transfrontier Television (Strasbourg, 1989);
  • European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Valletta, 1992);
  • European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (Strasbourg, 1992);
  • European Convention on the Protection of Audiovisual Heritage (Strasbourg, 2001).
  • Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005);
  • Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (Revised) (Rotterdam, 2017);
  • Council of Europe Manifesto on Freedom of Expression in Arts and Culture in the Digital Era (Strasbourg, 2020)