Policy Profile Spain


Spain 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. 

Spain and the EU

The European Commission has a Representation Office in Madrid and Barcelona and the European Parliament has a Liaison Offices in Madrid and Barcelona. Additionally, several important EU institutions have their headquarters in Spain, out of which the most relevant for the cultural sector is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) The Spanish Government has a Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. 

National Cultural Policy in Spain

The Ministerio de Cultura (Ministry of Culture) and the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation) play a pivotal role in promoting Spanish culture and heritage beyond Spain. Aside from there, other ministries significantly contribute to the legislation affecting heritage, particularly when legislating the intersection of their competencies and heritage: namely Ministerio de Industria y Turismo (Ministry of Industry and Tourism), Ministerio de Vivienda y Agenda Urbana (Ministry of Housing and Urban Agenda), Ministerio de Transformación Digital y de la Función Pública (Ministry for Digital Transformation) and Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico (Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge), while Ministerio de la Presidencia, Justicia y Relaciones con las Cortes (is in charge of administering cultural and natural heritage sites that are incorporated into the network of National Heritage.

Regional and Decentralised Policies in Spain

The autonomous communities, through their Statutes, have assumed responsibility for those cultural elements of their interest:

  • Cultural, artistic, monumental, archaeological, and scientific heritage.
  • Museums, libraries, archives, and music conservatories.
  • The promotion of culture, research, and, where appropriate, the teaching of the language of the Autonomous Community.


Almost all the autonomous communities have drafted their own legislation on the protection of historical heritage creating a very complex system of norms to better regulate the particularities and cultural richness of the regions.

View all Spain 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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