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Bosnia and Herzegovina


Government agencies and cultural heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina


On a state level in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), cultural heritage is the responsibility of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (henceforth the Commission). On a regional level, BiH is divided in two -political entities; the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (with 10 cantons) and Brcko District, as a self-governing administrative unit.

Legislated protection of cultural heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina


The Commission issues decisions designating movable and immovable property as national monuments. The commission has a list of 818 properties considered to be national monuments. Once a property has been designated as a national monument it falls to authorized bodies and institutions to carry out the protection and rehabilitation of the monument. The responsibility for supervising the enforcement of laws concerning the preservation of national monuments is further transferred to institutions at the entity level and Brcko District.

In Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina this responsibility belongs to the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment in BiH, in Republika Srpska to the Ministry for Urban Planning, Housing Affairs and Utilities, Construction, and Ecology of Republika Srpska and in Brcko District this role belongs to Department for Town Planning and Property Law Affairs and Economic Development of the Government of Brcko District. The approval for the protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of national monuments is also issued by these institutions.

Furthermore there are two main institutes for protection of monuments, the Institute for Protection of Monuments (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Republican Institute for Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Republika Srpska who are responsible for documenting, processing and archiving of collected data of registered cultural heritage, making management plans and preparing programs and projects of rehabilitation, conservation, restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation of cultural and historical heritage.

There are also four heritage protection institutions at the cantonal level (under Federation); Institute for protection of the Cultural Historical and Natural Heritage of Canton, Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Western Herzegovina Canton, Institute for protection of the Cultural Historical and Natural Heritage of Tuzla Canton andInstitute for protection of the Cultural heritage Bihac.

  • Data about cultural heritage is stored by the following organization: The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (federal level)
  • The data is available through: <offline, bulk download, api, linked data, printed reports>
  • The data includes information about the following: <base data (ID, type etc.), geographical, archaeological/architectural, images>

Policy decisions on access to public information


Access to information from public authorities is regulated by Freedom of Access to Information Act for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Article 1(b) states that every person has a right to access information as long as it is consistent with public interest, and that public authorities has a corresponding obligation to disclose information. Note that this right refers to “every person”, which by article 4 is further defined as every natural and legal person. Hence, there are no restrictions concerning nationality. Exemptions from this right provided by article 6 through 9. The most noteworthy exemption is Article 6(b), which states that public authorities are able to make exemptions from this right if disclosure of information conflicts with the authorities aims towards crime prevention.

Concerning the availability of data from the Commission, all of the Commission’s documentation is available to the public. However, all documentation is considered the property of the commission. If the purpose of accessing the documentation is academic, research or educational the access is free of charge. For other purposes, access will be chargeable. Further more, no documentation is allowed to leave the commission’s premises, though the commission can aid with copying material for a fee.

Legislations hindering the distribution of pictures in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Freedom of panorama, ie. laws relating to acts of photographing, filming or painting objects located in public places, is regulated in BiH by the 2010 law on copyright and related rights. Article 52 paragraph 1 states that works permanently located in squares, parks, streets or other places accessible by the public can be freely used. However, paragraph 2 stresses that it is prohibited to use any such work with an economic interest. Wiki Common standard license for distribution is CC-BY-SA, which makes it possible to distribute pictures from Wiki Common with an economic pursuit. Hence Bosnian law relating to freedom of panorama is incompatible with Wiki Common’s standard license.

Museum or archives that could be willing to add their material


The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), The National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Archives of Republika Srpska (Banja Luka), Historical Archive of the City of Sarajevo (Sarajevo)

Network of contacts: CHwB in Bosnia and Herzegovina


In BiH an office was first established in Sarajevo in 1996 and it was the first country in which CHwB started its activities after the war. More than a 100 project have since then been conducted in BiH of which the main focus have been the restoration and reconciliation concerning destroyed cultural heritage. The last couple of years have however seen a shift in focus, towards interpreting history and culture as well as education via building preservation camps. When heavy rain fell during the summer of 2014, a lot of traditional buildings were destroyed. To build better preparedness for the future CHwB’s Sarajevo office got engaged with a number of other independent organizations. A database and inventory concerning all the existing culture buildings was established and plans on how risks and new disasters would be avoided was created.

Today there are 5 people working at the office and they have various connections with government agencies. Furthermore, a network called Balkan Museum Network has been established and registered as an independent organization through CHwB’s prior involvement. Through this network the CHwB office also maintain connections with museums in the region. We have contacted the office regarding COH, and in return they have supplemented our overview of BiH with additional information and suggested communication routes. They emphasized imparticular the importance of a face-to-face meeting with the Commission as well as a clear outline on what data is needed.

The Swedish embassy in Sarajevo could prove to be useful in providing the right connections, given that we have a good relationship with them.

Wikimedia activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina


There is no chapter or user group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the community does not have any regular meetups. Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet participated in Wiki Loves Monuments.

Wikimedia Phabricator task


A task has been created on Wikimedia Phabricator here for importing the data into Wikidata.