Policy Profile Portugal


Portugal is a member state of the European Union and is therefore required to implement all EU directives, laws, regulations and policies, including those related to heritage and culture. 

Portugal and the EU

The European Commission has a Representation Office and  the European Parliament Liaison Office, both in Lisbon. The Portuguese Government has a Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels.

National Cultural Policy in Portugal

The Portuguese Constitution enshrines the right to culture for all citizens. At national level, the cultural policy system of Portugal is decided by the Government of Portugal, implemented mainly by the Ministério da Cultura (Ministry of Culture) aided by the Secretary of State for Culture.

Underneath the Ministry, there are various agencies of the Portuguese government which assist to draft and implement policies at national level.

  • The Gabinete de Estratégia, Planeamento e Avaliação Culturais (Office of Cultural Strategy, Planning and Assessment) works to provide technical support for the formulation of cultural policies, strategic and operational planning and international relations, as well as to provide legal support and litigation for the services and bodies dependent on or under the supervision of the member of the Government responsible for the area of culture.
  • The Inspeção-Geral das Atividades Culturais (General Inspection of Cultural Activities) is the entity responsible for the improvement, development, management and protection of copyright and related rights.
  • The Património Cultural, I.P. (Cultural Heritage, public institute) is responsible for managing Cultural Heritage in mainland Portugal and its responsibilities include the study, research and dissemination of Portuguese Material and Intangible Cultural Heritage, the management of architectural and archaeological sites classified, in the process of being classified or oh high interest, and for the management of a vast network of monuments and archaeological sites.
  • The Museus e Monumentos de Portugal, E.P.E. (Museums and Monuments, public company) is a governmental body that ensures the preservation and promotion of the country’s cultural heritage, and its mission is to manage and conserve museums and monuments, as well as to promote public access to this historical and artistic legacy.
  • The Direção-Geral das Artes (General Directorate of Arts) works to coordinate and implement policies to support the arts in Portugal, and the Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas (General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries) aims at ensuring the coordination of the national archive system and the implementation of an integrated policy regarding non-textbooks, libraries and reading.
  • The Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual (Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual) whose mission is to support the development of cinematographic and audiovisual activities.


The Ministry of Culture also supervises the Cinemateca Portuguesa, Biblioteca Nacional (National Library),  two national theatres (Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Teatro Nacional de São João),  the OPART (which integrates the National Opera Theater of São Carlos and the National Ballet Company), the news agency LUSA and RTP (the Portuguese public radio and television service operator).

The National Culture Council is an advisory body constituted to support the Government in cultural policy with opinions and recommendations.

Regional and Decentralised Policies Portugal

According to recent legislation, the Regional Coordination and Development Commissions (Public Institutes / peripheral state administration bodies) have the mission of “integrating and territorially articulating indispensable public policies to the implementation of regional development policies”, particularly in the field of culture, with a view to the economic, social and cultural development of the territories that are relevant to the respective districts (Algarve, Alentejo, Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Center, North).

At a local level, Municipalities assume responsibilities for managing and valuing Culture and Heritage and can be articulated in their respective metropolitan areas or together in Intermunicipal Communities.

In the two Autonomous Regions (Azores and Madeira), regional governments directly protect Cultural Heritage (monuments, museums, libraries, archives, theatres).

View all Portugal policies gathered so far

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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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