Lending for Europe – Collections Mobility

OMC-working group: to examine the ways and means to simplify the process of lending and borrowing 2011-2012

The Council Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014, setting out the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture, established a priority area on ‘Cultural heritage, including mobility of collections’. In this context, the OMC-working group of Member State experts was created (2011-12) to examine the ways and means to simplify the process of lending and borrowing. The present working group built upon the achievements of the previous working group established under the Council Work Plan for Culture 2008-2010. The former group had broader objectives than the latter because, in addition to the mobility of collections, it also dealt with other issues related to the activities of cultural institutions, such as the prevention of theft and illicit trafficking as well as the mobility of museum professionals

The Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014 reduced the scope of activities of the present group, with the aim of focusing the work of the group more specifically on the mobility of collections and producing practical results. In fact, according to the current Work Plan, ‘Experts will identify good practices related to all relevant issues in the context of the mobility of collections’. The target outputs envisaged in the Work Plan are the following:

  • to produce a toolkit (including good practice guidelines, templates and ‘user guides’ on state indemnity provision);
  • to produce a good practice manual for national authorities on ‘other relevant issues’.

The OMC-group organized their work by setting up subgroups to consider the overall task of finding ways to reduce costs of borrowing and lending by addressing the separate topics of:

  • improving and expanding indemnity schemes and shared liability agreements at EU Member State level;
  • improving valuation processes for works of art and cultural goods and the systems/mechanisms of valuation for the purposes of indemnity (and shared liability);
  • simplifying and improving the process of risk assessment when lending and borrowing; and
  • making transport procedures more reliable and less expensive.



In addition, pursuant to the Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014, the Commission commissioned a study on the valuation of works of art for lending and borrowing purposes, which is now finalized.


OMC-working group: Mobility of collections 2009-2010

The Working Group was divided into five subgroups, each of which addressed a different priority identified by Member States in relation to mobility of collections in Europe.

1. State indemnity and shared liability agreements;
2. Immunity from seizure;
3. Long-term loans;
4. Prevention of theft and illicit trafficking
5. Mobility of museum professionals / Exchange of expertise.

Experts from 25 Member States participated in this working group; 5 sub groups were identified and hundreds of professionals around Europe were involved in and contributed to our work.

(Read report as PDF)


The 2007 Commission Communication on a "European Agenda for Culture in a globalizing world" launched a wider reflection on the role of culture as a key element of the European integration process, based on common values and a common heritage as well as on cultural diversity.

The three objectives of the Agenda were: the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; the promotion of culture as a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs; and the promotion of culture as a vital element in the Union’s international relations. In order to implement these objectives, the European Agenda for Culture introduced new cooperation methods – the “Open Method of Coordination” (OMC) – as a more structured system of cooperation between Member States and EU Institutions.

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As part of this Open Method of Coordination, four groups of experts from Member States have been set up in 2008 and 2009, addressing respectively: the links between culture and education; the mobility of artists and other cultural professionals; the potential of cultural and creative industries and museum activities and the mobility of collections.

These working groups are intended to feed into the political discussions at EU level and make concrete contributions through identifying, sharing and validating best practices, making recommendations for specific measures for their implementation, making proposals for cooperation initiatives between Member States or at EC level and for elements of methodology to evaluate progress, as well as formulating policy recommendations.

The main objective of the two OMC-working groups, “Mobility of Collections”, has been to analyse and study the various issues related to the activities of museums and to propose a set of measures aimed at creating better conditions to facilitate and promote the mobility (lending and borrowing, both short and long term) of collections between the European Union museums and to find practical ways to reduce the cost of lending and borrowing of cultural objects among Member States of the European Union.

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