Protected Sites and Monuments
Approx. 30,000 of Denmark's sites and monuments are subject to permanent protection under the Danish Museum Act. Most are burial mounds and megalithic tombs. Visible sites and monuments are protected automatically. Other types of sites and monuments, e.g. prehistoric settlements and old roads, may also be protected if the Danish Agency for Culture so decides and informs the owner. Old field boundaries of stone or earth are protected automatically, but under slightly different rules.
A site or monument must be at least 100 years old to be protected. A number of fairly recent sites and monuments are protected, such as the late 19th century fortifications of Copenhagen.
Protected sites and monuments may not be damaged or otherwise altered. In collaboration with museums in Denmark, the Danish Agency for Culture supervises compliance with the Museum Act. However, some rules are also laid down by the Danish Protection of Nature Act and administered by the Ministry of the Environment (see box in the right side column).
In exceptional cases, the Danish Agency for Culture may exempt an owner from the prohibition on altering protected sites and monuments.
Public Access to Sites and Monuments
There is public access to many sites and monuments. In many places, access paths have been established and signposts and information boards put up.
The general public does not automatically have access to protected sites and monuments since this requires an agreement with the owner of the land in question.
The state and the local authorities must tend their own sites and monuments, i.e. clear wild vegetation, remove any discarded litter, etc. to ensure that the sites and monuments are fully visible in the landscape. Private owners do not have this obligation. However, the local authorities may also tend privately owned sites and monuments.
Every year, the Danish Agency for Culture and the National Museum of Denmark restore a number of megalithic tombs and Medieval ruins so that visitors are not at risk of injury.
Protected sites and monuments may not be altered
The area surrounding a site or monument is protected from cultivation within a distance of 2 metres.
Metal detection is prohibited within a radius of 2 metres from the monument.
It is prohibited to build, put up fences, park caravans or otherwise alter the condition of the area within 100 metres from a visible site or monument. This rule is administered by the Ministry of the Environment.