Council of Europe
Conseil de I'Europe .
The protection of historic buildings
and their artistic contents
against crime and wilful damage
Colloquy organised jointly
by the Council of Europe
and the Directorate of Monuments and Landscapes
of the Ministry of the Flemish Community
Antwerp (Belgium), 3-6 November 1992
Cultural heritage, No. 33
The protection of historic buildings
and their artistic contents
against crime and wilful damage
Colloquy organised jointly
by the Council of Europe
and the Directorate of Monuments and Landscapes
of the Ministry of the Flemish Community
Antwerp (Belgium), 3-6 November 1992
Cultural heritage, No. 33
Council of Europe Press, 1995
La protection des monuments et de leur patrimoine artistique contre les delits et les
Publishing and Documentation Service
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<0 Council of Europe, 1995
Printed in the Netherlands
Opening speech by the Director of Education, Culture and Sport
of the Council of Europe
Raymond WEBER 7
Protection of historic buildings and their contents
Rob BUELENS 11
Promoting risk awareness and public awareness
Herbert TIEDEMANN 23
Cleaning up the international art market: two mechanisms
Robert LECAT 29
The situation in Central and Eastern Europe
Wojciech KOWALSKI 35
Emergency planning and risk management
Paul OLIVIER 47
The role of the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO)-Interpol
Gordon HENLEY 53
The protection of historic buildings and their artistic contents
against crime and wilful damage in Italy
Alberto DEREGIBUS 57
Social and psychological aspects of delinquent behaviour
Fulvio SCAPARRO 63
Insurance of historic buildings and their contents
Herbert TIEDEMANN 69
Heritage under fire: some problems in the protection of
historic buildings from fire
Stewart KIDD 77
Protection from fire
Chris ADDIERS 95
Salvage and restoration following a fire
H.B. RICHTERS 103
Monuments and historic building conservation: fire safety
precautions and risks
Koen VAN BALEN 107
Fire protection in the Simonpetra Monastery of Mount Athos
Kyriakos K. PAPAIOANNOU 113
Theft, burglary and vandalism
Hugo HUGES 119
Marc THIENPONT 129
Designing for fire safety and for the reduction of the risk of arson
Alan C. PARNELL 143
Christian Nils ROBERT 149
List of participants 159
The legal protection of historic buildings, including their artistic contents, creates
a judicial framework aimed at preventing protected objects from being destroyed,
damaged or stolen. This also implies practical measures and technical means to ensure
the security of historic buildings.
It is generally agreed that threats due to - rather exceptional - natural causes and
the daily action of atmospheric factors are in fact less dangerous for cultural property
than those caused by people themselves: inappropriate actions due to ignorance,
insufficient maintenance due to neglect or worse, theft, vandalism. Movable art
treasures in religious buildings are particularly at risk.
This colloquy presented and discussed measures taken for the protection of the
heritage against theft, vandalism and fire. It evaluated them in the general context of
the protection and the conservation of historic buildings in Europe.
The aim of this colloquy was also to begin, on this basis, to consider ways of
fighting these scourges, bearing in mind, amongst others, the possibilities given by
recent developments in advanced technology.
This event addressed specialists in the protection and conservation of the heritage,
representatives of firms producing systems (against fire, theft and vandalism), policemen
and other categories of people specialising in the prevention and the fight against this
type of crime.
Opening speech by the Director of Education, Culture and Sport
of the Council of Europe
1. Since the surge of democratic optimism that characterised 1989 when the Berlin
Wall fell and the Communist system caved in, Europe has become a hotbed of dangers
and risks of conflagration. Among the reasons for this are:
the resurgence of nationalism and problems of minorities;
large-scale migration, from East to West and South to North;
the rise of anti-semitism, xenophobia and racism.
The heritage is often at the centre of these tensions, primarily because it embodies
the search for identity, the need for roots or reference points;
and the aspiration to the universal dimension and to the values of human rights and
Dubrovnik was bombed not for reasons of military strategy but because it embodies
a cultural identity. The same applies to the destruction of churches, mosques, libraries,
archives and schools, and to the theories of "ethnic cleansing".
This situation, whether we like it or not, will be the backdrop to our meeting, even
though we will not be discussing it "officially" because the organisers of the colloquy
believe we have enough on our plates at this meeting with problems of theft, vandalism
and arson, which occur all over Europe and not just in war zones.
It is important for us at the Council of Europe to know how you, the experts,
perceive these problems and how, in a pan-European context, we can identify the
various levels of action (inventory of needs and measures already taken):
legislation: do we need more laws and regulatory measures?
prevention: particularly computerising data and improving alarm systems;
information and education: European heritage classes and awareness-raising
2. I should like to make a few observations about the three main themes of the
* Theft and circulation of cultural property
This is a critical problem in Central and Eastern Europe. A conference on the
issue is planned for 1993 in Spain.
However, beyond that specific action, there is a general problem: how can we
reconcile desire and necessity, how can we learn more about other people, and so
circulate and exchange things on the one hand, while conserving and protecting
what is essential on the other?
Studies are currently being done on this subject by the European Community,
UNIDROIT, UNESCO, INTERPOL and some NGOs (such as ICOMOS and
Are further legal instruments necessary in addition to the 1970 UNESCO
Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export
and transfer of ownership of cultural property or the 198S Council of Europe
Convention on offences relating to cultural property (which, incidentally, has not
come into force for lack of sufficient ratifications)?
Should the EEC draft directive be extended to other European countries?
Much of what we have said about the protection of the heritage against natural
disasters applies here; I am thinking particularly of the Ravcllo report of November
1989 and the Committee of Ministers Recommendation to member Stales (1993).
In recent years, many European countries have taken new legislative and regulatory
measures and there have been significant advances in prevention, alarm and
* Vandalism (to which we might add a certain type of mass tourism)
This problem exists all over Europe, but especially in urban estates. It will be
tackled here from a psycho-sociological viewpoint. I believe that it is important
to place the problem in this context, bearing in mind the links with:
awareness-raising and education;
civic education: human rights and democracy;
3. There is a Chinese proverb that says: "If you do not know where you arc going.
look to see where you have come from".
It is not in order to bury ourselves in a fossilised, quaint, picture-postcard past that
we value our heritage and seek to protect it. but rather to understand the present more
thoroughly and be better equipped to face the challenges of the future.
We need this heritage in a city like Antwerp, which has welcomed us so warmly
and generously. Throughout 1993. when it will be the European City of Culture.
Antwerp can demonstrate the dynamic relationship between heritage and creativity.
We need this heritage in a Europe-wide community, in the tension between the
expression of a pluralist and multicultural identity and the common core uniting us,
through which all Europeans work together to forge forward-looking projects for a
Our thanks go to the City of Antwerp and the Flemish community of Belgium.
Thank you all for giving your time to this important and vital discussion on the artistic
and cultural heritage.
Protection of historic buildings and their contents
Theft of art objects is not a recent phenomenon, having occurred sporadically over
the past centuries. Wars, wherever in the world, always made it easy for robbers to get
a big haul.
No one has ever been able to estimate how many train loads of art objects were
carried away from Eastern Europe by the German army during the 1939-45 World War.
History has seriously underestimated the threat of maniacs attempting assaults on
irreplaceable works of art. Rembrandt's "Night watch" was seriously damaged in the
"Amsterdam Rijksmuseum" on a Sunday afternoon by violent knife strokes, and at the
time it was thought to be irreparable. Some experts doubt that Rembrandt's most
famous work of art still has any paint strokes of the master himself.
Michelangelo's Pieta, an irreplaceable work of art, was so badly guarded that the
Hungarian Laszlo Toth, crushed the head and one the arms of the Blessed Virgin with
a hammer, crying out he was Jesus Christ.
An assault on the Palais de Versailles on June 26th, 1978, by terrorists showed that
the cultural heritage of the world is threatened in more than one way by plunderers,
thieves, and shady art dealers, but also by terrorist assaults, natural disasters such as
earthquakes and fires, not mentioning environmental pollution.
The plundering of the past occurs in areas of archaeological importance in countries
such as India and Indonesia and for relics of Indian cultures in Mexico, Guatemala, and
Peru and must be taken very seriously since works of art can very easily be broken
down into a number of parts, torn from their context, and easily be sold.
During the last decades, many objects were lost due to wars, thefts, lack of
governmental funds, secularization and not in the least following the new liturgy after
the Second Vatican Council, causing many pulpits, communion rails, paintings and
sculptures, etc. to lose their religious function.
In the 70's and in the beginning of the 80's the thefts on a smaller scale increased
in such a way that they became everyday occurrences and most never attracted much
notice. Several places of worship were visited by art thieves who succeeded in laying
their hands on the loot in very refined ways. The officials thought that closing the
churches except for the services was a first step to an imaginary protection. Thieves
however, have soon found ways to elude this protective measure. At the church of
Pellenberg, for example, thieves stole a statue after a funeral service while the burial
was going on in the churchyard. In this particular case one could speak of possible
carelessness on the part of the priest or of a scheme well planned by the thieves.
In another church, a statue was stolen by two persons introducing themselves as
insurance inspectors and claiming that they had to inspect the church in order to assess
the situation with regard to fire safety. Therefore, one cannot talk about occasional
thefts since most thefts prove to be well planned.
This was also the case at Oostham where a few persons accompanied by a person
in a wheelchair stole several valuable sculptures. One might well wonder if it still
makes sense to blame the so-called tourist thieves for several of these thefts, as has
In the double thefts at Hakendover on September 17th and on November llth,
1978, and at Our Lady Vrouw Lombeek during the nights of April 27th and 28th, 1974,
and January 22nd and 23rd, 1981, the thieves chiselled away several sculptured figures
out of a retable which resulted in a total mutilation. These thefts meant an irreparable
loss to our national cultural heritage that made the press question the protective
measures that were not taken or insufficiently applied. Bearing in mind all these facts,
one wonders who is responsible for an adequate protection and a proper safeguarding
of works of art
Churches are managed by churchwardens whose tasks are determined by the
Decree of December 30th, 1809. Article 1 of this Decree stipulates that churchwardens
are responsible for the conservation and the upkeep of churches and of the necessary
receipts and expenditures. In other words, this Decree determines the obligations of the
churchwardens with regard to the material care in order to perform religious services,
which owe their dignity to a well-preserved and well-equipped church building.
Furthermore, Article 55 of this Decree stipulates thai churchwardens have to
establish two inventories, which have to be verified every year.
Article 62 of this Decree stipulates that the real estate and the moveable property
may not be sold, alienated or exchanged.
The Royal Decree of August 16th. 1824. art. I and 5. stipulates that churchwardens
can only perform acts that they are authorized to perform by law or regulation and that
it is forbidden to them to transport or to alienate commemorative objects placed in
churches, whatever their nature, without the necessary authorization, or to allow
themselves any other disposition. No penalty clause on infringements is mentioned in
these regulations. Article 1 of (he Law of March 6th. 1818 is applicable in such cases
and punishes these infringements.
Several Ministerial circular letters, such as those of May 1 Ith. 1965. and August
23th. 1971. also treat of the preservation of the artistic and archaeological heritage of
churches and of the specific laws and regulations with regard to the care of monuments.
In conclusion we could summarize as follows:
1. The churchwardens are charged with the material care with regard to the
performance of religious services. They are accountable to the Minister of Justice,
who is responsible for the Administration of Religious Services.
2. All objects and pieces belonging to the "furniture" of the church must be entered
in an inventory and a yearly updating must enumerate all addenda, improvements,
and other modifications. Such an inventory implies a prohibition to alienate, sell,
or remove the objects referred to without the authorization of the Minister of
3. With regard to the care of monuments, churchwardens have to take all the
necessary safety measures to ensure a good upkeep and preservation of the
moveable cultural heritage for which they can obtain a subsidy of up to 60% from
the Flemish Community and 20% from the Province.
From this we can conclude that the churchwardens are only the managers of the
churches property and that their acts cannot go beyond those of management alone.
An investigation conducted by the High Supervisory Commission in 1984 on the
request of the Minister of Culture at the time, K. Poma, with regard to the "overall
situation" and, more specifically, to the way in which the churchwardens generally
complied with the imposed obligations in matters of protection and inventory of the
cultural heritage falling under their management, led to the following conclusions:
* Since the 1809 Decree was published not a single inventory has been updated by
the churchwardens although a few lists were amateurishly established.
* Most of the time they seemed to think that, as if they were owners, they could
freely decide and control the artistic heritage.
In most of the cases the composition of the church council is not such that they
would take initiatives in matters of protection of the cultural and historic heritage, let
alone be aware of their obligations to take protective measures. Generally they claim
that the church is sufficiently protected against theft since existing door locks offer
Aside from the protection of churches against burglary and theft, it is very
important to establish an annually updated inventory. Research in existing texts and
other publications would allow lost objects to be identified and possibly to be found.
Our experience teaches us that the regulations with regard to the churchwardens and
monument care is not or only partly known. This is possibly due in part to the actual
regulations being obsolete and not even in Dutch.
Finally, we would like to draw attention to the following:
During the investigation we found out that there is a market that wants to buy or
sell ecclesiastical art and even to commence collections in private or public museums.
This kind of market constitutes the biggest threat to our heritage of ecclesiastical art.
This trade was and is still stimulated by the non-application of the legislation regarding
churchwardens, by the formal policy in place, and by the changes created by liturgical
reforms of religious services. Pulpits pass into disuse as priests strive for more direct
contact. They are stored away and left to woodworms and humidity.
The material preservation of our artistic heritage rests upon the churchwardens:
these are people with the best of intentions but they are not experts. Certainly, they
were never trained to assume any responsibilities.
History has seen works of art being taken from churches and chapels, with the very
best intentions, out of concern for security, and kept in private houses. During the
course of the years, public property has thus become private property.
Ecclesiastical art treasures are undeniably public property. It can, therefore, never
become private property by prescription and is thus recoverable at all times. This
applies not just to items obtained through theft and/or receiving of stolen property but
also to items transferred through sale, gift, or exchange. The lack of inventories and
their updates, prescribed by decree, have given and still give church authorities the
opportunity to transfer public property. As far as these inventories are concerned, it is
worth noting that those drawn up per district and published in 1980 by the Belgian
Royal Institute of National Heritage, with the title Photographic Compendium of the
Belgian Places of Worship cannot be considered as legal. They are incomplete and
have not been updated.
During the past SO years, the Belgian Royal Institute of National Heritage has
endeavoured to study, protect, preserve, and valorize our cultural heritage. An
interdisciplinary group, composed of restorers, scientists, and an historians, have worked
together to work out priorities and (he most suitable methods for preserving our art and
It has become clear that a number of interventions could have been avoided if vital
precautionary measures had been taken. It is. however, clearly not the intention to turn
all churchwardens into professional conservationists. The aim of the publication of the
Vademecum ler bescherming en onderhoud van he I kunslhezil (Guide to the protection
and preservation of the national heritage) is to provide a clear and simple collection of
advisory comments towards the preservation of our cultural heritage.
What are the means available for the protection of our art heritage?
Legal protection and appropriate insurance do not protect a monument for the
future: that has been proven more than once and has been shown in what has been said
here. This primarily applies to church buildings, where the movcablc art heritage is
threatened by a number of factors. In addition to damage from fire, natural phenomena,
atmospheric influences, and accidents, our art heritage suffers from all kinds of
mutilation, a kind of post-Conciliar iconoclasm.
Protection has, therefore, become essential.
The environment in which the works of art are placed, contains threats similar,
although less spectacular, to those in the event of fire or theft, so a number of basic
principles must be applied in order to guarantee effective preservation. Low levels of
cleanliness and maintenance of buildings, inappropriate lighting or excessive climatic
fluctuations, inadequate surveillance and a complete lack of respect for our cultural
heritage, all have a destructive effect in the short and/or in the long term.
However, these causes, even though no less destructive, are material for another
seminar. This three-day seminar focuses on "The protection of historic buildings and
their art treasures against crime and wilful damage". The safety measures to be taken
can be subdivided into the following five separate groups:
public protection or public participation,
mechanical protection and security,
electronic detection and alarm,
surveillance and protection by personnel,
The awareness of the importance of one's cultural heritage is a world phenomenon
that has found expression in a number of organizations such as UNESCO, ICOM,
ICOMOS, IIC, ICCROM. There is a universal desire to protect and preserve artistic,
archaeological, and historic testimony. It must not be assumed, however, that the
attention given to our heritage by a narrow circle of professionals is sufficient to
safeguard this wealth for the future.
The best way to protect our art treasures is to sensitize not just the clergy, parish
personnel, or the responsible authorities but also the church-goers, the visitors, and the
neighbours. They must come to realize that our heritage is an irreplaceable testimony
and that the responsibility of handing this on to subsequent generations must be borne
This, of course, pre-supposes a wide knowledge of our historic heritage. It is
remarkable how little the general public knows about its structural and cultural heritage.
Increasing the population's involvement with this heritage is vital because then the
public will react more rapidly when this heritage is threatened. Our heritage is not the
exclusive possession of a few; it belongs to the whole community.
The public at large, however, knows and values this heritage insufficiently. If a
wider public can be convinced of the value of these possessions, the efforts will be
rewarded; the public becomes more vigilant and local politicians will make more
resources available for the preservation of this heritage. Our National Monument Day
certainly assisted in the sensitizing process.
Visitors must be made aware of the important role they can play by communicating
irregularities, suspicious behaviour, and break-ins they witness to the authorities.
Churches or public buildings must never be left unsupervised, opening hours must be
fixed, neighbours should be asked to keep an eye on things, provisions must be made
for an over-all check before closing-time and the police should be requested to provide
Preservation of church art treasures relies to a large extent on socio-cultural action.
Exhibitions set up in churches and tourist routes around church treasures could sensitize
Mechanical protection and security
The basic principle here is prevention of break-ins. The intruder's path must be
littered with so many obstacles that breaking in becomes a difficult and time-consuming
operation, and that it is slowed down sufficiently for assistance to be brought in from
other security' systems, primarily electronic detection.
A great deal is involved in the mechanical protection of objects. First, a detailed
analysis is always made so that the degree of the protective measures to be applied, in
relation to the value of the objects, their vulnerability, or the users' level of acceptance,
may be determined.
A security concept is formed on the basis of an analysis of the risks that are
present in an existing situation and takes into account that these protected objects must,
at some time, be moved on the occasion of one or another festival and that they may
also increase in numbers. Therefore, in order to provide the user with a maximum level
of protection, despite variations in interior arrangement, the basic plan must take
account of changes in the security situation.
The situation will always be supervised from the main emergency control room and
changes can, therefore, be monitored through a permanent follow-up plan.
Atmospheric circumstances must also always be taken into consideration: factors
such as artificial lighting, moisture, and UV radiation must he examined with a view
to preventing damage.
Measures towards a more effective mechanical protection
In order to improve the intrinsic protection a building offers through its
construction with windows, doors and roofs, the following measures must be taken:
Objects must be placed out of hand reach.
Existing door constructions must be made sufficiently robust; all hinges and locks
of all inside and outside doors must, therefore, be checked. More specifically,
stainless steel sections must be fitted into weak door cases.
Special padlocks must be used on the tail-bolts of large portal doors; the doors
will, therefore, not be able to be opened after locking.
Additional cylinder mortise locks must be installed in the top and bottom of the
doors on the hinge level.
Additional mortise locks must be installed in inside doors.
In addition, to locking the inside and outside doors, an effective locking system is
of vital importance; this system must fit into the organization of protection from
the point of view of use, security, and variety of keys.
All keys must be stored securely.
Fixing of objects by means of base plates, brackets and anchoring devices must be
designed so that optimum security can be guaranteed but no obstruction is created
in the event of fire.
Smaller objects must be grouped in well-thought-out display units.
Doors must be fitted in such a way that they can be securely locked.
Bars must be fixed in easily accessible areas.
Possible access via the roof must be checked and prevented.
Ventilation and air-conditioning points must be checked and, if necessary, grates
Architectural protection must always be considered.
Appropriate outside lighting and deterrent lighting in open areas within the building
must be installed.
Mechanical protection also involves protection against accidental and wilful
vandalism. Absolute protection against vandalism lies in direct contradiction with the
exhibition itself of the art object and is always subject to well-considered compromise.
Security must always give way to aesthetic reasoning and must be subordinate to the
acceptance level of the visitors. Physical protection in churches rapidly fuels antipathy.
Indeed, the aesthetic elements in a church as a whole can and must not be overwhelmed
by protective measures.
These technical interventions will prevent accidental or wilful damage; in this case,
the idea of "prevention is better than cure" is applicable. Immediately, one of the
fundamental ideas comes to mind, i.e. the readiness to accept, apply, and work with
The protection of the world-renowned masterpiece by Jan van Eyck, the "Lam
Gods" (Lamb of God), considered necessary by the authorities, was incomprehensible
to many and was even looked upon as a historical mistake. Those who know better,
shudder at the thought that this unsurpassed jewel of Ghent's art heritage has withstood
the storms of the eventful history of Ghent and Belgium, by sheer chance. All experts
agreed, however, that it was totally impossible to protect the masterpiece against such
divergent threats as fire, theft, and vandalism at its historical site, even if visitors were
no longer admitted. The change of its destiny as defined by its donors is somewhat
painful. This is not the way Joos Vijd and Elisabeth Borluut would have wanted it to
be. The donors, however, would undoubtedly have wanted even less that the greatest
monument of their visionary devotion would become the victim of fate, which had been
tempted for too long.
I hope that those who criticized the protection operations, genuinely and perhaps
partially justifiably, will now assess the actual advantages and disadvantages of the
operation with common-sense and objectivity and realize that only in completely safe
and secure circumstances can the testament of Joos Vijd and Elisabeth Borluut be
executed in the spirit it was intended. It is easy to argue that, in exceptional
circumstances, drastic measures such as laminated glass can indeed be labelled a
"necessary evil", considering all factors of preventive alarm sounding and response
and especially considering the dangers that threaten this art heritage through the location
and nature of the building where it is housed.
The use of laminated glass must not constitute an additional risk to the work of art
under protection. Each case must be considered individually and specific security plans
be redesigned accordingly; this does not make the job easy.
Spurred on by the Bestuur voor Monumenten en Landschappen (Council for
Monuments and Landscape) and through the collaboration of VINK. a special type of
safety glass was developed that must be considered a real break-through as far as
resistance against break-in and transparency arc concerned. Further research still has
to prove to what extent present-day glass technology can eliminate disturbing reflection.
In this context, reference must be made to the specialized fair, where a number of glass
types showed the way in which things are going and to the church in Zoutlccuw, where
several valuable rctablcs have been filled with laminated protective glass.
A great deal is involved in the mechanical protection of objects. First, an in-depth
analysis is always made so that the degree of the protective measures to be applied, in
relation to the value of the objects, their vulnerability or the users' level of acceptance,
may be determined. If it is shown that the objects to be protected satisfy the above
requirements, which is certainly the case for our Flemish heritage, mechanical and
physical protective measures will have to be incorporated into the monuments'
Electronic detection and stalling
This type of electronic device involves detection, the objective of which is to
monitor the building and its art contents and to detect illegal activities around it as early
as possible. These devices can be considered as extensions to the human presence but
definitely not as a substitute. Contrary to what has been a long-standing common
assumption, such devices are not sufficient on their own; they do not prevent break-ins,
they signal when the ucl has already occurred or at best at its beginning.
Electronic devices can be categorized into several groups, each with its own
specific place in the protection plan and always set up in interaction with each other.
A clear operation plan must be set up. with connections between the electronic devices.
so that each covers a clearly defined area and can, therefore, carry out an immediate
and coordinated intervention in the event of irregularities being detected within the area.
The different types of detection are as follows:
1. Detection within the surrounding area of the building.
2. Detection within the perimeter.
3. Detection with the space surrounding the object.
4. Detection around the object.
Detection within the surrounding area is not applicable, considering the location of
the building and can only be used in situations where this type of detection is definitely
Detection within the perimeter, however, constitutes one of the first electronic
barriers against a possible attempt to break in. This type of detector is usually fitted
on outside and inside doors and by windows on the inside of the building; attempts to
break into the building can thus be registered immediately.
Detection within the surrounding space is characterized by the fact that the
presence or movement of a person or persons can be detected.
Detection around the object: the ultimate aim of the criminal act is to steal the
work of art or to mutilate it beyond repair. The abundance of detectors available allows
prevention in the form of detection of approach as well as detection of touch or
removal. Special attention must be given to day and night surveillance, in particular,
whereby the alarm can be sounded on site or in the main emergency control room or
The use of these four detection methods will depend on the level of detection
necessary, the local circumstances, and the intervention required. Proper interaction
between the different detection methods must be ensured and proper consideration must
be given to the omission or reduced use of any of these methods. An extensive
electronic system of detectors increases the chances of irrelevant alarms. In all events,
therefore, the various detection devices must be combined so that the number of false
alarms is reduced. The importance of rapid intervention must not be neglected,
however, and the preservation of the art object and possible apprehension of the
offender must be the primary objective.
The time required by the services concerned to react and intervene after the alarm
is the overriding factor. Only those reports demanding immediate intervention are
passed on to the main emergency control room, where an around-the-clock on-call team
of the Ghent police or the Electrabel security service orchestrates effective operations
according to pre-established procedures.
The ever increasing technical complexity of art heritage protection measures makes
service more difficult. Frequently, there was a lack of permanent surveillance. Bad
systems management often resulted in the alarm being sounded unnecessarily and,
therefore, unnecessary intervention. Too few details were given when the emergency
Experience shows that each church must have a person in charge who ensures
overall and constant protection. This person's duties involve planning, organization,
execution and management of permanent and incidental protection in the widest sense.
However, owing to the lack of authority and expertise, an automatic surveillance
system was designed with remote control operation and a permanent alarm system.
This, however, presupposes the presence, in the risk area under surveillance, of an
intelligent memory, control and reception unit, which makes the running of a
surveillance centre more efficient, simpler, and more cost-effective because
programmable automatic equipment in the risk area under surveillance as well as in the
surveillance centre, minimizes the transmissions, human operations, and intervention
Broadly speaking the general principles of operation are as follows (Mr Thienpont
will discuss this in more detail later): relay of information is carried out extremely
the need for intervention and the form of intervention required is automatically
determined in the centre and its management controlled and coordinated from the
emergency control centres;
human interpretation and evaluation cannot cause inappropriate or untimely
Major progress has been made in (his respect in the Held of protection of churches
Protection and surveillance by personnel
The problem of theft and protection of church treasures is obviously with the
collapse of strong faith on the part of the people and with changing ceremonial customs.
Owing to the high costs of comprehensive surveillance by personnel, it is not
common in churches, apart from exceptional cases such as during an exhibition.
Church authorities arc generally unable to carry the financial burden of security costs,
especially those of surveillance by personnel. It is. in fact, quite a tall order for them
to preserve their property and to make their church open to visitors.
However, surveillance by personnel is essential in the important churches. In
addition to the function of providing information, their duties could involve prevention,
reporting, and taking action. However, their instructions as to how to act in the event
of irregularities must be clear. They must also be able to enter into immediate contact
with the appropriate police services. At the same time, irregularities must be reported
by means of technical means of communication in good time.
Perception or detection, elaboration or analysis, signal carrying or
transmission, communication, and finally action or intervention are all the main
factors of surveillance by personnel as well as of electronic surveillance. Optimum
protection, therefore, will be achieved when a technical security system is combined
with the on-site presence of a number of personnel.
Organizational support is understood to entail the different measures necessary to
ensure optimum collaboration between public, mechanical, electro-technical, and
The package of protective measures is closely related to the experiences gained
through the study of the various situations in the different churches. The package
comprises the following measures:
users must be well informed about the protective measures;
users must receive clear instructions in the event of dangerous situations being
detected and acted upon;
measures towards proper opening and closing procedures;
measures necessary in exceptional circumstances (restoration, etc.);
clear arrangements with regard to responsibilities;
marking and recording of the art heritage.
A praiseworthy initiative is being presented by the firm TRACE, in this seminar.
Attention must also be given to the talk by Mr Olivier, who, in analogy with the
organizational measures, will concentrate primarily on the awareness process, in which
the need for an effective protection policy is given shape. His address will also include
an analysis of the possible risks.
An up-to-date incident plan, based on this analysis, will describe the procedures to
be followed with regard to the accountability of organization, the execution of action
plans, and the allocation of duties and responsibilities.
It goes without saying that drawing up such an incident plan is an effective
measure and, therefore, a must.
Irreversible destruction or damage from fire must at all times be prevented. Safe
systems for electricity, lightning conduction, and heating are, therefore, of prime
The start of a fire must be immediately reported so that action can be taken without
delay and damage kept to a minimum. Since there are no specific standards for fire
prevention in churches, the aim must be to provide maximum safety/security for the
user as well as the contents and the building. This aim unavoidably implies intervention
within the building. Intervention means that historic material, the architectural design,
structure, contents, and finishing are adversely affected.
Fire protection in churches can never be guaranteed in absolute terms: there is
always a certain degree of risk. In each case, a number of factors will be considered
and, in close collaboration with the local fire chief, a solution considered that
concentrates mainly on the installation of automatic fire detectors, fitting dry risers with
closed sprinkler heads, and compartmentalization of attic space and high fire-risk areas.
In addition, an effective lightning protection system will be installed using the Melsens
Fire protection is undoubtedly an important topic in this seminar. Many speakers
will elaborate on this issue further, emphasizing primarily the ideas of prevention,
intervention, and maintenance. Consideration will also be given to the setting-up of
a team of official monument and historic building conservationists, who would be able
to set fire protection standards, regulating alterations of a listed building.
Effective protection of our art heritage is undoubtedly justified and must be put into
effect without delay. It is vital also to realize that 100% protection in churches is an
impossibility. However, considering that, with a sound organizational sub-structure,
simple and effective mechanical protective measures arc sufficient against amateur
thieves and technical protective measures can signal the intrusion of professionals at an
early stage, the authorities must not feel powerless to take the necessary protective
It is important that our cultural heritage be preserved, as far as possible in its
architectural environment and in the function for which it was created. This heritage
is more than just works of art, they have a spiritual function. The best place for a
liturgical object is (he church; not a museum where things of the past arc accumulated.
Promoting risk awareness and public awareness
A systematic discussion of risk awareness and public awareness can best be
organized under two general headings, viz general risk awareness and specific risk
awareness. The main reasons to select such an arrangement are as follows.
Well-founded and lasting public awareness is to a very substantial extent based on
risk awareness, in particular if one considers that the public will only react if a risk is
perceived. Moreover, any suitable reaction whether of the public in general, of the
media, of authorities, and all other parties which are in any way responsible for or
connected with historic buildings and their artistic contents will first and foremost
require the development of general risk awareness. Such general risk awareness is the
indispensable foundation for specific risk awareness and the many steps - and expenses
- that are the result.
Nobody will, for instance, buy some merchandise if he does not have a sense of
its general usefulness. And only after the prospective buyer has understood the
advantages resulting from the possession of such items will he (let us hope) analyse
different products in order to find out which type and make suits him best.
And to conclude this introduction: the money required to protect historic buildings
and their contents will in general only be made available if those allocating or granting
such funds understand the general risk and to some extent the specific hazards and
therefore the language "spoken" by those asking for money and experts for risk
mitigation and management.
General risk awareness
Starting with the risk awareness of the general public and here with the attitude of
individuals or the average family, the smallest "units of any society", the experience of
insurers in connection with burglary/household insurance can serve as a lesson.
One very often encounters an appalling lack of care and a dislike of spending even
small sums of money for the protection of the valuables owned. The expenses and the
trouble involved in installing special locks or protective devices on doors and windows
and/or simple detectors and alarm devices are as a rule avoided.
If people are reluctant to protect their own belongings properly, can one expect
more understanding or even enthusiasm if buildings and/or the contents of buildings are
at stake which belong to the public, the municipality, or the state, that is to "all people"
and therefore to nobody?
A similar attitude ranging from thoughtlessness via carelessness to wilful damage
and vandalism is noted if one looks at graffiti "adorning" walls irrespective of their
cultural value, vandalized public facilities like telephones and even damaged
It is not very productive to consider the treatment of a disease without having
understood its origins and development. We shall therefore briefly discuss some of the
causes of the attitude mentioned above. As there appear to be "incurable" components
of this disease besetting modern society as well as "curable" ones, we shall discuss them
Many European countries have been enjoying unparalleled affluence now for many
years, at least if we consider recent centuries. Societies that have all that they want
cannot, however, be expected to worry and to care for anything beyond their immediate
needs because this would violate a basic law of nature. Already at the time of the
Roman Empire it had been recognized that "plenus venter non studet libenter". Why
is this so?
All electrons in their shells surrounding an atom and all atoms in a molecule try
to reach the lowest possible energy level. To keep them at a higher, more energetic
level requires a persisting input of energy. As human beings are basically an assembly
of an exceedingly large number of molecules and atoms it is therefore not surprising
if such "assemblies" retire to the lowest energy level" whenever this is possible. This
is certainly the case during periods of affluence.
It is now seen why this part of the problem has been called an incurable disease
because probably nobody would propose to deprive these societies of affluence and the
easy and carefree life connected herewith.
It is, moreover, not to be disputed that it takes much energy and clever and
efficient promotion to energize such societies in order to achieve an adequate level of
risk awareness. This appears to be particularly true for an activity which does not
require a physical but a mental effort.
In this connection an interesting insight is provided by the development of the
human brain. The cerebellum - which is responsible for muscular activities and their
coordination - has grown much faster during the last few million years than the
cerebrum, the "hardware" responsible for the thinking mind. Is this the reason that
children and grown-ups arc more enthusiastically engaging in sport than in studying
difficult subjects? Or that a soccer or tennis star earns far more money than a professor,
even if he has been awarded a Nobel pri/.e?
And to make mailers worse, if governments, media, labour unions, parents and
even teaching systems set bad examples one cannot expect that the general public
works, thinks, and cares more than absolutely necessary. This brings us to that
component of the disease which is in principle curable.
Human behaviour is not only governed by what we call the "minimum energy
principle" but by the amount and kind of energy invested in the training and education
of people. We have already earlier alluded to such energy investments. The most ideal
case would be careful, well directed and affectionate training from the cradle to the
grave. Not all of this training is or must be in the form of formal education, e.g.
tuition, but probably at least as important are the influence of the cultural environment
and the daily examples set and experienced by members of society.
In these sectors a lot could be done to promote the understanding and appreciation
of cultural heritage and in this connection public risk awareness. One only has to
sample TV-programmes and the "mental food" produced by the popular press to realize
how much is done to promote primitive instincts, brutality and vandalism and how little
to foster the development of higher cultural (and ethical) values. Are libertines at the
helm of such societies or commercial companies?
There are political parties in practically each European country which are very
vociferous if the life of a tree is at risk and if the "environment" is endangered. These
"environmentalists" and other established panics have, however, still to discover that
mankind is surrounded by and depending on a cultural environment which badly needs
protection as well.
What can be done to turn the tide? Let us start with a provocative idea which
employs the lessons learned during recent years in connection with environmental
issues. This idea would, moreover, implement what can be learned from commercial
life, viz, that changes are very improbable unless those at the top feel the pinch.
Today nearly every established political party talks about environmental protection.
This is not due to their members suddenly discovering their "vast knowledge" in
meteorology, climatology, physics, chemistry, plant diseases, etc. or busily buying
scientific literature on such matters and voraciously reading it, but because a new party
attracted voters by preaching such topical issues.
How about persuading environmentalists into adding a very valuable aspect to their
propaganda, viz, protection of the cultural environment? Admittedly those who feel
responsible for historic buildings and art treasures, or in fact are responsible may not
like this idea for psychological reasons. A well-educated person in whose life such
treasures form an essential part will obviously shun activities which smack of the tricks
of a catch-as-catch-can promoter. Those really concerned about the protection of
cultural heritage should, however, realize that politicians will not be impressed even by
an impressive number of excellent scientific papers but by threats from an opposition
or by a group arousing public concern. And as long as politicians are complacent very
little will be done. After all they are also governed by the minimum energy principle.
Another (additional) similarly aggressive but apparently necessary strategy would
be to attract the attention of the media after spectacular loss or damage has occurred
and induce them to raise persistent questions like: why could this danger happen? Why
was the protection not better? Who is responsible for such appalling shortcomings? Why
do politicians spend colossal sums of money provided by the taxpayers to ensure their
personal safety and that of their property but so little to protect irreplaceable art
It is a safe bet that funds for a better protection of our cultural heritage would be
forthcoming if such avenues would be followed obstinately.
Before switching to more subtle possibilities - which would, however, also require
a receptive mind among those responsible! - we shall briefly discuss another facet of
an affluent and therefore sated bourgeoisie.
When observing how the law is practised in some European countries one can
sometimes not help feeling that governments are more interested in the well-being of
criminals than in that of the well-behaved citizens. If a burglar, for instance, falls into
the pit of a motor car repair shop because it had not been secured before locking the
door at the end of the working day, the owner of the shop is penalized.
It appears to be psychologically or politically inviting to treat even hard-boiled
criminals like gentlemen. When asked for the purpose behind thousands of years of
breeding of plants and animals all such persons and parties would reply without
hesitation (hat this was and is done to promote certain traits. None of them would deny
that poodles and mastiffs are dogs of a very different character - because of their
genetically determined nature and not because of a different environment, e.g. lack of
love when the mastiffs were puppies. At the same time they, however, feel that such
laws do not hold for our species and that criminal behaviour can be cured or improved
dramatically by kind and "understanding" handling such persons, including leave from
prison at regular intervals.
Even if scientists have sound reasons to believe that the laws of nature hold for any
living creature and that much of our behaviour is controlled by genetics, not to speak
of XYY-males, there appear to be political impediments preventing conclusions.
Labour unions, for instance, eloquently try to reduce working hours. Why has so far
nobody proposed the idea to reduce the working hours of professional criminals which
reduce, for instance, the slock of pictures in our galleries? Seeing to it that such gangs
are kept behind bars. e.g. for six and not for three years would substantially reduce their
"working hours" and thereby protect art treasures.
Many experts believe that, if the nature of humans can be moulded, this can best
be achieved during childhood and adolescence. As this implicitly means that the
parents who permit the exposure of their children to movies showing violence are
"incurable" this would be a challenge for kindergartens and schools to fill this gap. at
least to some extent. Any reader of this paper can judge whether enough is done today
by asking his children, friends and (heir children, whether and how often per you* their
teachers took them to historic buildings in town or to museums and art galleries. She
or he can then calculate the ratio of such hours to those spent playing, for instance,
soccer (and watching it on TV) and then wonder about the wisdom guiding our
education and later life.
There are innumerable other ways to educate the public and to generate risk
awareness as regards our cultural environment. Presently this undoubtedly is a long and
hard uphill fight which is, however, worth the effort. After all it also took a long time
to produce the treasures which are still surrounding us, and this alone is reason enough
to promote the awareness that they are endangered.
Those responsible for our historic buildings and their contents are gradually
learning the lesson which has been absorbed already many years ago, for instance, by
those working in engineering. Whereas our grandfathers could tackle most of their
professional life - we disregard the few engaged in research those days - with what they
had learned at school and during later professional training, this does not hold any more
today. Not only is the volume of knowledge in the natural sciences approximately
doubling every seven years but in particular those working at the cutting edge have to
push new doors open again and again.
Moreover, there appears to be a particular aspect when considering the chasm
separating those responsible or in charge of the art treasures and wilful damage and
crime. During many decades of broad-spectrum exposure to very different
professionals, the author gradually realized that there are systematic differences
between, for instance, site engineers on civil engineering jobs and architects. And
intuition tells us that a different sort of people will select the profession of a blacksmith
as compared to those opting for that of watchmakers of jewellers.
One can therefore surmise that someone who has spent most of this life in the
secluded and serene sphere of art will for such psychological reasons have considerable
difficulties in appreciating the exposure of elements at risk for which he has explicitly
or tacitly assumed responsibility. In particular it is not very likely that he will enter his
working place with his mind and eyes set on discovering weaknesses in the old piping
system that make it liable to drench, for instance, his collection of valuable books, or
the fire risk associated with an obsolete electrical installation. There are, however,
The person we have described briefly for the purpose of this discussion, is,
moreover, probably psychologically dissimilar from a tycoon in industry or commerce
who has managed matters and people for years. It is therefore not likely that he will
call for expert advice for training his specific risk awareness, to check the safety of the
place and to suggest improvements. He will similarly feel somewhat overtaxed when
trying to organise a proper strategy in that war against the unseen and multi faceted
enemy called crime.
He will probably not immediately realize that responsibilities will have to be
assigned and to be defined in a lucid manner. And as it is not likely that persons who
studied art, history and related matters are personalities who would make excellent
"war-horses" it is improbable that they will put up a stiff fight for funds and staff
required for better protection.
This raises the question whether such persons should be charged with tasks which
do not agree with their nature. Would it not be better to organise the handling of
specific risk awareness and protection in such a manner that specialists are put in
charge? A government and larger municipalities could certainly adopt such solutions and
some already have. Those, however, which are below what we call here an
"economical limit" should seek outside advice which could be pooled by several parties.
We shall not discuss specific issues of risk awareness, analysis, and control. The
various papers presented during this colloquium and the exhibits give a good idea of the
vast number of specific problems which depend on the individual case and on its
exposure to the many perils. We shall only mention in conclusion that the best
protection is an elegant combination of passive and of active safety based on general
and specific risk awareness.
Passive safety is everything which reduces the chance of damage or loss. In
connection with criminal damage the promotion of risk awareness and risk avoidance
in society is the first step. Anything which assists in diminishing the markets (after all,
most valuables are stolen to be sold) will increase the passive safety. As no education
and penal system will reduce the number of cases of wilful damage and crime to zero,
specific risk awareness and analysis derived from that will tell which items can be
protected passively, by better buildings, stronger bars in front of the windows, special
windows and doors, etc.. i.e. measures which do not require human action.
Active safety, which must be founded on general and specific risk awareness,
should be considered a second line of defence. It ranges from the time-honoured
system of guards to a panoply of technical gadgets of ever increasing complexity.
Specific risk awareness, however, also means reorganizing that the probability of failure
can be reduced enormously by employing several protection strategics and systems.
And to conclude, returning to the human element, in this field also screening and
control is required, and in particular disclosing the complete safety operation to as few
persons as possible.
Cleaning up the international art market: two mechanisms
The increase in illicit trafficking in cultural goods seems to be a feature of our
If there were any doubts on this score, the threats posed by the situation in Central
and Eastern Europe and the unpredictable consequences of the lifting of border controls
within the Community on 31 December next should be enough to convince us.
It would be futile, in my view, to seek to assess the relative share of transnational
theft and illicit exports: even such figures as are available cannot measure the extent of
the traffic in unidentified objects (products of clandestine excavations, transactions
involving objects not previously known to exist or transactions involving the connivance
of the owner, etc).
In addition, a substantial proportion of illicit trafficking constitutes both theft and
unlawful export: moving stolen objects to a foreign country is seldom lawful; the export
of finds from clandestine archaeological digs constitutes theft in most cases.
The erstwhile tolerance of illicit exports is tending to diminish: although the
principle of state control over international transfers of cultural property is not applied
in all countries - at least for very many years, not in all cases (in France since 1921 and
1941) - or to all objects, it is hardly ever disputed nowadays; Article 6 of the 1970
Unesco Convention, ratified by the USA, provides for controls on exports to all
countries; more concretely, it was accepted that such controls were not inconceivable
in an industrialised country and experts in private international law, for example, have
acknowledged that the courts of the country of destination should not systematically
refuse to apply the law of the country of origin (resolution on the international sale of
art objects adopted by the Institute of International Law on 3 September 1991, and 1975
resolution on the application of public international law).
The idea that freedom of movement for goods in the European Community would
be totally at variance with the maintenance of public law restrictions or would allow of
only very few exceptions, with control exercised by Brussels, has lasted a long time,
and it has been understood that each member State is responsible for defining its
national treasures, provided that it does so in good faith and without discrimination.
The sensitivity recently displayed by public opinion or the electorate in several
EEC countries to anything which might appear to constitute a challenge to nationhood
shows, moreover that the liberalisation of trade would have nothing to gain by
appearing to be associated with increased opportunities for theft or unlawful export
This situation goes beyond the European Community and the completion of the
Internal Market of the Twelve: in the context of the European Economic Area and in
the expectation of Community enlargement, the whole of Europe is potentially
From this perspective, an effort to clean up the international art market through
measures to deter the theft of cultural treasures and their unlawful transfer is clearly
both a practical and a political necessity, in the context of the European Single Market
(European Community and/or European Economic Area).
In this connection, over and above the actual control measures enforced
systematically or on suspicion by the police or the customs authorities, it seems
essential to take action not only against the parties directly involved - the burglars, the
"smugglers", if that word is still applicable in the internal market, and the shady
It is also and above all necessary to curb the commercial outlets for this traffic,
whether they be people behind "thefts to order" or more or less bona fide final
From this point of view, it is most important to put an end to the sterile conflict
between the two systems of private law: on the one hand the civil law system, which
gives priority to the security of transactions and seeks to protect the bona fide owner
by means of a more or less short limitation period for the acquisition of ownership
rights and by the recognition of a right to compensation, and on the other hand the
common law system under which, subject to exceptions, a person cannot acquire
ownership, regardless of whether he acts in good faith, if he receives the object from
someone who had held it in bad faith.
This conflict is futile in as much as it makes any unification or harmonisation
impossible and, above all, serves objectively to encourage trafficking: it is in the interest
of thieves to channel stolen goods to countries which apply the civil law system and
especially those where the limitation period is short (eg. Japan, Italy and Belgium); after
being passed to a bona fide purchaser in such a country, the object concerned may even
return to a common law country and there escape an application for restitution, as was
shown in 1980 by a British court decision concerning Japanese objects "stolen" in
London by a bona fide purchaser: it was under Italian law that the British court assessed
the validity of the ownership claim of the defendant, who had acquired the objects in
Fortunately, there are other cases where a "transnational" action for recovery of
possession may succeed: the case of the Cypriot mosaics restored without compensation
in 1990 to the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus by the Indianapolis Federal Court is
the best example.
A remarkable study by Mrs Horatia Muir Watt (Revue critique de droit
international privt - January/March 1992) shows, however, that such solutions depend
on circumstances which cannot be generally applicable: the ultimate purchaser had
negotiated his purchase in Amsterdam and taken delivery in the international zone of
Geneva Airport. The American court therefore considered that neither Dutch law nor
Swiss law should be applied.
Consequently, a genuine strategy to combat the laundering of cultural property
cannot be based on the application of the conventional rules relating to conflicts of law;
it presupposes recognition of the specific nature of the question of cultural property in
relation to the law governing the sale of moveable property and international trade law,
and the definition of substantive international rules applicable to the restitution of stolen
cultural goods and the return of unlawfully exported cultural goods.
This is the subject of the preliminary draft convention currently under discussion
at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit), which has its
headquarters in Rome.
It is also the subject of the draft directive on which the Council of Ministers
responsible for the Internal Market will have to take a decision on 10 November of this
year in Brussels, but which is limited in scope to the recovery of goods which have
been unlawfully transferred (the term "export" will no longer be used in the Single
These texts are the subject of slow and laborious discussion, but it should not be
thought that their adoption will be a complicating factor: on the contrary, common
substantive rules would be much less problematical than the implementation of rules on
conflict of laws, which are terribly complex and uncertain and vary from one country
I should like at this point merely to underscore the characteristic features of these
draft texts, which must be maintained if success is to be ensured:
these are specific, substantive civil rules applicable to civil claims concerning
movable cultural goods (all such goods in the case of recovery after theft; those of
a certain degree of cultural importance or significance in the case of recovery
following illicit transfer);
the right to recovery or restitution is absolute if the above-mentioned conditions are
fulfilled; the only room for discussion concerns the owner's right to receive
compensation from the person making the claim.
This right will be evaluated not from the standpoint of assumptions concerning
complete or non-existent good faith, but in relation to the degree of care taken.
This is an essential point: it will be possible to abandon abstract evaluation and an
"all or nothing" approach in favour of a concrete assessment taking into account all the
circumstances of the acquisition, the personality and expertise of the purchaser
(scientific institution, more or less specialist professional, erudite collector or ordinary
purchaser, etc), and the quality of the object (rarity, price, availability of information
on the type of object concerned, etc); it will be possible to take all these factors into
consideration in order to assess the right to compensation and the amount thereof.
From this point of view, no presumption of good or bad faith, nor even any
presumption concerning the burden of evidence, is applicable any longer each of the
parties, that is to say the person applying for restitution or recovery and the defendant,
the current owner, will be required to demonstrate straightforwardness and to give the
court all the items of information which might help it form its judgement.
Similarly, it is possible to envisage a graduated approach depending on the
professional or non-professional status of the parties, the country concerned and the
degree of "sensitivity" of the category of object.
This approach may also be progressive: with the passage of time and as the
awareness of a moral obligation grows, it will be possible to be more demanding with
regard to the need for caution in a given situation.
The adoption of a standard-setting framework specific to claims for restitution and
recovery is therefore one of the mechanisms needed to clean up the international art
market and combat illicit dealing.
The second mechanism - as you will have guessed - is the development of
information about the heritage and specific information concerning stolen or missing
The ability to require a purchaser to show more caution and diligence in a given
situation will depend on the pace of progress with regard to the store of information and
its actual accessibility.
What might such information comprise?
First of all, it will concern the extension of scientific or protective inventories, an
essential means of reducing the number of unknown or inadequately described treasures.
The main issue will be that of progress in the actual accessibility of such
information, whether it is open to all or reserved to certain professional circles (police
or customs, insurers, heritage conservation services, dealers, experts and auctioneers,
etc), free of charge or against payment, or whether it be information concerning the
market as a whole or specific categories of objects (paintings, religious wooden statues,
Naturally, data bases permitting the rapid transmission of picture and text arc
indispensable for this purpose.
The various professional circles should therefore urgently develop their work on
descriptive systems, methods of marking specific to certain objects, computerisation and
transmission of information, and they should organise international co-operation
networks starting at the European level.
Not everything can be made public, of course, but it will have to be remembered
that the level of demands made on purchasers can only be raised if they have access to
the relevant information. Standardisation and compatibility between one country and
another and one profession and another will have to be constant concerns.
Industrial interests are, no doubt, at stake in this matter, which would justify the
involvement of European research and technological development programmes.
As will be apparent, the standard-setting approach, the abandonment of an "all or
nothing" attitude based on good faith, and the practical approach involving the
development of information tools, are essential and complementary. They will be the
two mechanisms for cleaning up the art market in the decades ahead.
I have confined myself to the area of civil law because that is where there appear
to be decisive opportunities at the present time.
The fact remains that only items which have been discovered and identified can be
returned to their owners. It is therefore essential to strengthen co-operation in the fields
of law enforcement, criminal sanctions or customs procedures. At the same time, it
would be desirable, in the case of exports or unlawful transfers, for the state of
destination to stop considering itself defenceless and unconcerned: in some countries the
legislation on complicity, receiving stolen goods and the territoriality of offences would
already make "transnational" criminal proceedings possible. It will be necessary to go
further and accept the extension of law enforcement co-operation in this field, as is
starting to happen in the fields of drugs, terrorism and money laundering.
The situation in Central and Eastern Europe
For the last couple of years, crime and wilful damage have become a major threat
to historic buildings and their artistic contents in the countries of Central and Eastern
Europe. The significance of the losses incurred in this way cannot, however, be
adequately evaluated and comprehended without some knowledge of the fate of the
cultural heritage in this part of Europe in the last half-century. Therefore, I allow
myself to start this presentation with a short explanation of the causes of the present
situation, which, to my knowledge, are not widely known in the West. After that short
introduction, I will discuss a few most important new threats.
The current state of cultural heritage in the Eastern part of this continent is a result
of a number of interlocking factors, two of which were most decisive. The first one
was the sudden change of a political and economic system that happened several dozens
years ago and cut off the East European countries from the rest of Europe. For
ideological reasons, the first people to be affected by this change belonged to the
historically formed elites. Their homes, together with their contents, which had, in great
majority of cases, a historical value, were completely or partially destroyed. The range
of destruction was different in different countries, depending on how violent and
revolutionary the changes were. The most radical and severe was the change in Russia,
so the losses were largest there. Castles and palaces in Bohemia, on the other hand,
where the revolution was more peaceful and the expropriation was gradual, suffered
considerably less destruction. At the same time, the ideology led to the demolition of
places of worship, that is temples of practically all denominations. The fight with
religion brought the severest losses in Russia, where Orthodox churches were burned
down or blown up. On the other hand, there were no actions of this sort in Poland.
Thanks to the exceptionally strong position of the Polish Catholic Church, its
architectural and artistic heritage has been preserved. In some countries, the change of
the system occurred at the end of World War II, which itself was also responsible for
much damage. More devastation resulted from the impossibility of doing the
repairworks everywhere at the same time. The lack of conservationists, who either died
during the war or emigrated for political reasons, added to the difficulties. Poland was
obviously an extreme case with totally levelled cities such as Warsaw and Gdansk, and
many other cities in ruins as well.
The second main reason for the diminishing cultural heritage in Central and Eastern
Europe was a gradual process that has been going on to this very moment, or in the best
case, has just ended before our eyes. The revolution nationalized all, or so many
historical edifices and movable cultural goods that their new owner - the state - had no
chance to use them properly or provide adequate maintenance. Thus, many of the
palaces, churches, and museums that survived the revolution, especially in small towns,
had practically no owner and gradually went to ruin. The state-ownership status of
these historical monuments did not excite warm feelings from the local population, and
this enhanced their degradation. In many instances, these buildings became little more
but a source of cheap construction materials. In these cases when the buildings were
actually used, a complete change of their function did not help either. A typical
example would be the transformation of thousands of churches in Russia and Ukraine
into storehouses, often for storing chemicals used in farming. Only now is their original
function being restored; of course, if they have survived. However, the restoration of
their original appearance and furnishings is beyond the bounds of possibility. On the
other hand, hasty and inexpert renovations result only in further loss of the historical
character of many of these buildings.
As one of the results of the land reform in Poland, about 20,000 mansions were
deprived of their owners practically overnight. Today, a mansion - a typical element
of Polish cultural landscape - is almost nonexisting. At this point I cannot help
mentioning - please forgive me this personal comment - my family's mansion in Central
Poland, built in 1740, with a beautiful columned porch at its front. My grandfather and
mother had to move out of it in 1945. Being still a boy, I visited it in the 1960's and
found the mansion badly devastated and housing a scruffy village club. But when we
buried my grandfather some years later, there was almost no trace left of the mansion,
except for the remnants of the gate and a rock in the park which marked the place
where my great grandmother had buried her favourite dog.
In general, the process involved a few further components. It is obvious now that
there was no clear and consistent state policy for preservation of the heritage, which
would be compatible with the overall social and economic policy. The protection of
historical monuments was practically separate from the economic life of the country.
The value of these buildings as homes and their useable capacity were neglected. This
means wrong policies as well as detrimental legal measures. For example, in
Czechoslovakia, in the 1950's, the protection of historical cities was based on the
concept of "historical reserves". According to the 1958 regulations. 22 towns in the
Bohemian lands and 8 towns in Slovakia were put under a special legal regime. This
ambitious plan concentrated on the cultural values of the towns protected in this way,
while completely overlooked the economic and social aspects of the urban communities.
The maintenance of the reserves in a proper condition created so many technical and
organizational difficulties that it led to the abandonment of the idea of monument
preservation in 1973. In Poland, one of the mistakes was to concentrate on starting new
construction projects in unurhani/.ed areas. The urban planners did not make detailed
plans for the use of old city centres, which suffered from unplanned, irrational and
fragmentary development. In many instances, the lack of plan led to the intentional
neglect of old buildings to such an extent, that it was easy to justify pulling them down.
The inhabitants usually favoured this, as they wanted to be moved to new apartment
houses. Romania can serve as an extreme example of such actions. An immense
project for completely transforming villages was implemented there, rejecting all their
cultural values. This pernicious policy did not spare Romania's capital - Bucharest.
These facts arc quite well known, so I feel excused for not giving the details.
To conclude this introduction. 1 would like to point out some of the drawback that
have been the consequence of inefficiencies in the economic policy that has been
accurately called the "economy of shortage".
What I mean here is the constant decrease in the production of certain construction
materials, essential for conservation of architectural heritage. For example, in 1960,
Poland produced 100 million roof tiles, while in 1977, this figure dropped to only 30
million. Similar tendencies could be observed in the production of lime and bricks.
What is more, there was a large disproportion in the construction potential in
comparison to Western Europe. In France and Switzerland, for example, firms dealing
with repairs constituted over 30 % of all construction companies, while in Poland, only
Summing up the whole period, we must note that according to very approximate
statistical data, the loss in immovable heritage of some of the countries in Central and
Eastern Europe reached up to 50 %, compared to the state before the system changes.
Of course this figure is different for various types of buildings of the 17th-19th
century's houses belonging to the landed gentry before the Revolution, only 10 %
survived. In Poland, this figure is 20 to 25 %.
This picture of the situation is unfortunately true - I know that from my own
experience. But I would like to make it clear that on top of that 50 % loss already
incurred for the last few dozen years, any further losses will be greater than similar
ones in Western Europe, whose heritage has been spared this fate.
The fall of the totalitarism system in Central and Eastern Europe certainly changed
the situation. Many of the processes mentioned above are gradually disappearing or
have ceased to play an important role. The political limitations responsible for the
unrealistic status of most historical monuments are not present any more. The
monuments are beginning to have real owners - a process that is difficult but necessary.
There is no shortage of indispensable construction materials, while all kinds of services
are thriving. The democratic changes, however, have brought forth new threats typical
for a transformation period. They also resulted in a rapid growth of crime against
cultural goods or unprecedented scale.
A radical creation of the market economy means, among others, a drastic cut in
finances for culture, usually to a level below 1 % of GNP. This means less money for
heritage protection as well. This also means a "disappearance" of many former owners
or administrators of large palace estates - fanning cooperatives, state farms, state-owned
enterprises that used historic buildings as their rest houses or conference centres. The
fact that new users are hard to find quickly, more so because of the complicated legal
status of most of these estates, creates a danger that the situation of 1944 and 1945
could be repeated and encourages pillaging and mindless devastation. The countries
that decide to re-privatize on a large scale may face other negative consequences. For
example, re-privatization in Bulgaria may mean liquidation of 80 % of the country's
museums that are housed in buildings from before 1939. The new "old" owners will
certainly change today's museums into stores and restaurants, or they will adapt many
historical interiors for pragmatic reasons without respecting the requirements of
protecting the heritage.
This seminar is devoted to the question of protection against robbery, devastation
and fire. It must be said that the first two of these threats, especially a rapid growth
of art theft connected to illegal export of works of art, become the most important
problem in protecting the cultural heritage of Central and Eastern Europe.
Up to now, art robbery has not been a very frequent phenomenon, mainly because
in practice, the domestic markets were on a small scale, while the state borders were
tightly closed. The works of art, usually most endangered, located in churches, were
additionally protected by specific political position of the Church in some countries such
as Poland, where thanks to the popular support for this institution, cases of art robbery
and vandalism were exceptional.
Recently, however, the situation has changed altogether. The market for cultural
goods is rapidly expanding, with numerous new auction houses and antique shops
opening. The work of art has acquired a new, often exaggerated value as a means of
hoarding and a smart demonstration of wealth by the better-off part of the population.
The art of selling of art objects is not an art yet. just a way to make big money easily
by often quite casual traders. This functioning of the market is obviously stimulating
crime, while borders which are practically wide-open do not inhibit the illegal exports.
But what is the situation in individual countries?
It was not easy to collect more detailed and at the same time absolutely reliable
data that would illustrate the subject, cither because such statistics are not being
collected, or the relevant institutions, weakened by the changes and reorganization, arc
not able to collect them. On the other hand, however, the media often exaggerate when
presenting the problem. Having in mind both of these, it is certain that the worst
situation is in the territory of the former Soviet Union, especially in Russia, which has
the largest number of collections. The situation is worsened by the fact that art robbery
has become an organized crime there. In 1990. there were 1,124 cases of robbery in
public buildings and 1,441 burglaries to churches. Incomplete reports for 1991 mention
robberies in 30 museums, including 4 in St. Petersburg. According to the Russian
Internal Ministry, one of the main reasons for this is the lack of proper protection in
museums. The minimum protection according to modern international standards is
provided only in 57 % of museums, so we cannot be surprised to hear what happened
on one weekday in the Serpushevsky Museum, where a visitor took a painting by
Ayvazovsky off the wall and walked away with it undisturbed by anyone. Another
factor that encourages crime is the lack of sufficiently trained personnel, both in
museums and in the police force. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has created a special
unit with 13 positions, three of which are vacant. In general, it has been estimated that
about 2 to 5 % of the kinds of crimes discussed here arc solved. Recently, for example,
the police reclaimed a collection of artisan objects from (he 17th and 18th centuries,
including a silver 10-kilogram candelabrum, stolen from the Architectural Museum in
Arkhangelsk, as well as ancient statues of Dionisios and Arianc from the turn of the 3rd
century, stolen from the Hermitage. In the Moscow area, a criminal group has been
discovered, that under the cover of the "Eksprcs" cooperative, burgled at least 31 private
homes and churches in 1991-1992. One hundred and seventy six icons were found.
The most vital problem in Russia, however, is the illegal export of stolen works
of art, which practically precludes their reclamation. Export seems to be the chief
objective for most thieves and in most cases is highly organized. The Ministry of
Internal Affairs reports that at the moment, there are about 40 international criminal
organizations active in smuggling art objects from Russia. Germany is the primary
destination for the stolen works of art. In Berlin alone, there are a number of antique
stores specializing in trade in icons and Russian art, in many cases run by Russians.
In 1989-1991, over one thousand cases of theft connected with illegal export were
disclosed, and nearly 2,500 people from 25 criminal organizations were arrested and
prosecuted on these charges. The underworld has began to use more relentless and
brutal methods, such as terrorizing the journalists working for "The Moscow Magazine"
after the paper published materials on the mafia responsible for art thefts, or killing the
curator and deputy director of the Paintings Gallery in Lvov, in the Ukraine during a
raid on that museum. There are some reasons to believe that the death of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs Officer Anatoly Svidridenko, who was run over by a train, had
something to do with the fact that he had discovered one of the most dangerous
organizations dealing with illicit art trade.
The range of the illegal exports of art objects can be illustrated with the number
of works recovered at the customs clearance at Moscow's Sheremetyevo 2 Airport. In
the first half of this year, 930 objects with a total of over a dozen million rubles were
reclaimed there. More and more employees of foreign diplomatic posts, mainly from
the so-called third world countries, are engaged in this trade.
Last year, the authorities foiled 41 attempts to export art objects by diplomats
through that airport. In the first few months of this year, there were already 21 such
attempts. A high official of the World Health Organization was stopped from
smuggling six valuable icons, while 13 icons were found in the luggage of a diplomat
from New Guinea The employees of museums and archives have a substantial share
in this criminal activity. In 1991, a gang was arrested, which has letters by Tsarina
Catherine II the Great and unique documents concerning the trial of the participants in
the Decembrist Uprising. The investigation that followed showed that the group had
connections to a number of functionaries in the State Central Archive of the October
Revolution. It is also widely believed that art smuggling is facilitated by customs
officers themselves, who are prepared to overlook the checking of luggage thoroughly
for 150-200 dollars.
The value of losses of the Russian cultural heritage incurred for the last few years,
estimated by some at 80 % in the case of icons compared to their number in 1980, has
forced the representatives of the Museum Councils of the Russian International Cultural
Foundation and the Russian Committee of the ICOM to make two public appeals to
President Yeltsin for taking immediate remedial measures. The president answered with
a decree of July 30, 1992, "On the Principles of Protecting Historical Monuments and
Preventing from Their Illegal Exports from the Russian Federation". The document
introduced a general principle of control of exports of all cultural goods more than 30
years old. According to the decree, the Federal Service for Protection of Cultural
Goods is to be created. One of its tasks will be to issue export licenses for art objects
and to supervise the execution of the regulations regarding monument protection. It is
still too early to say anything about the practical effects of these regulations.
The 1991 statistics provided by the Bulgarian Ministry of Internal Affairs tell us
about robberies in 122 churches, 8 cloisters, and 7 museum collections. At least 5,000
icons and many other cult objects were stolen. Among others, the original seals of the
Bulgarian tsars were illegally exhorted via Serbia. According to the same source of
information, during the first six months of this year, 125 churches were robbed of over
700 icons and other objects that are difficult to identify because of the lack of
inventories. Objects of large size and volume are no obstacles for the thieves. In Stara
Zagora, a 200-kilogram bell was stolen from the metropolitan church, as well as a 70-
kilo Roman mosaic that was exhibited in the post office. But it was a kind of a record
when at the beginning of this year, in Ivaylovgrad, near the Turkish border, thieves
dismantled sculptures, mosaics, and other decorations of a Roman villa called "Armira",
which, after having been excavated, was exhibited in situ. The gang was caught trying
to smuggle the objects across the border.
The problem specific to Bulgaria is illegal excavations.
In that country, there are vast and rich archaeological sites of yet-unknown content.
Regular archaeological work started only after the war. To give the idea of the great
value of the potential finds I may mention the treasure found in Rogozcn in 1984,
consisting of 164 silver vessels belonging to the culture of the ancient Thracians.
According to a recent estimate, about 13.000 archaeological sites have been identified,
such as fortified cities, settlements, burial sites, and each of these sites may consist of
up to a 100 structures or individual mortuary mounds (tumuli).
This wealth, as yet not fully discovered and totally unprotected, has become one
of the interests of criminal organizations. In the 1982-1992 period, the Ministry of
Internal Affairs conducted 360 investigations, during which about 150 kilograms of gold
and 1,000 kilograms of silver coins, most of them ancient, were confiscated. It should
also be noted that illegal excavations, apart from the loss of objects, which, however,
sometimes can be recovered, always bring practically irreversible destruction of the site.
An example of this could be the recent events in the area of Haskovo. where six
Thracian burial mounds were destroyed. It turned out that the thieves used detectors
and other equipment technically much more advanced that the equipment used by the
Bulgarian official archaeologists.
The above picture of crimes against cultural goods is true for the whole area of
Central and Eastern Europe. In the case of Czechoslovakia, we can also talk about an
exceptional increase of this kind of crime. In 1991, the value of stolen cultural goods
has been estimated at 33 million dollars, according to official data. Since 1989.
approximately 30.000 historical objects have been lost, only 8 % of which have been
recovered. Especially dangerous is the quantitative growth: the number of monuments
lost in 1990 was 10 limes larger than a year before. In 1989. there were 50 church
burglaries reported, while in 1990. this figure was 500. Also here, the main destination
of stolen works of art is Germany, while Munich has become the chief centre of this
trade. In 1991, the Bavarian Federal Criminal Bureau investigated about 100 cases of
stealing and smuggling of works of art from the neighbouring Czechoslovakia. This
year, already 83 investigations have been started. The speciality here are numerous
statues of St. Wenceslas, while the most famous case was the stealing and smuggling
of six valuable violins from the National Museum in Prague. They have been recovered
by the Bavarian Police and returned to Czechoslovakia.
In mid-1980's, Poland was the scene of about 300-400 church burglaries a year.
The figure for 1989 was twice as high: 714, while in the following year, it tripled to
reach 1,157. Last year, the reports say about 1,143 church burglaries and 6 thefts from
museums. One of the reasons for such an increase of thefts from Polish churches is a
general lack of alarm systems and organized physical protection (guards, custodians).
The protection of the buildings is traditional, which practically means no problems for
burglars. For example, on the night of August 12, 1991, the offenders broke into the
Orthodox church in Siemianowka near Bialystok by cutting a padlock and breaking a
primitive door lock. In the Stettin Diocese Museum housed in St. James the Apostle's
Church, the burglars stayed inside the church after the evening service, and at night,
they forced open the internal door to the museum. In St. Stanislaus Church in
Sosnowiec, Silesia, the burglars climbed a decorative grille over the ground floor
window and then broke an unprotected window on the first floor. The burglary at St
Anne's Church in Szewce near Wroclaw, was facilitated by the scaffolding left near the
church. Inside, the burglars went to the sacristy through an unlocked door, where they
found a monstrance and the keys to the tabernacle, from which they took more liturgical
objects. In Mielec, in South-East Poland, a simple ladder was used to get inside a local
According to specialists such as J. Rulewicz, the typical shortcomings of protection
of religious buildings in Poland include:
the use of primitive door locks,
no antibreakage defense,
faulty installation of hinges,
the use of padlocks to lock doors,
a weak structure of doors and windows, and the lack of additional reinforcement.
Also in Poland, many works of art are stolen to be exported, although not all,
thanks to the relatively well developed domestic market for art. The statistics of the
attempts of illegal exports of works of art, reported by the Chief Customs Office shows
a growing tendency. While in 1990, 630 works of art were recovered at the border
crossings, in 1991, this number grew to 1,141, and in the first half of 1992, it had
reached 2,700. The magnitude of illegal imports of art from the former Soviet Union
can be illustrated by the fact that about 300 objects, including 169 icons, were stopped
at the border this year.
The growth of crime against the cultural heritage was the reason for the creation
of the Centre for the Protection of Public Collections on January 1, 1992 in Warsaw.
The centre is a specialized agency within the State Monument Protection Services, that
works for the improvement of the security of museums, churches, art collections,
historic books and other collections. Its personnel trains, controls, and informs on
various methods of monument protection. One of the Centre's activities is also
documenting and searching for the stolen cultural goods.
All these actions are done in cooperation with the police, fire brigades, and customs
offices. The Centre recognizes threats to the cultural heritage caused by fires and wilful
damage. Because data from other countries are not available, on the basis of Polish
experience only, it can be said that today, the fire threat is not radically greater than
before. It is, however, substantially larger in Central and Eastern Europe than in the
West, because of a larger percentage of wooden buildings in the total number of
historical monuments. There are for instance, nearly 500 churches in southern Poland,
that are completely wooden, and some of them were built in the Middle Ages. The
great majority of them are still used for religious purposes.
Fires are especially dangerous, because their results are irreversible. The most
common causes of fires in historical monuments in Poland include: recklessness and
carelessness of the users, faulty electrical installations, and the lack of elementary fire
protection. Over the last couple of years, there were also a few cases of arson. In
1988, a Greek Catholic church in Majdan Sieniawski was set on fire, while the well-
known Orthodox Church sanctuary in Grabarka, the site of pilgrimages, was completely
burnt down by a mentally ill person in 1990, and a 14th-century Roman Catholic church
in Biestrzykowicc in 1991.
The data hardest to acquire concerned wilful damage of monuments, including acts
So it is hard to detcnninc the range of this phenomenon, or to point out the type
of monuments especially threatened by this type of loss. Of course, if we talk about
vandalism in its usual form, the most endangered objects are small detached buildings,
often in secluded places, such as wayside shrines, memorials and cemeteries.
The situation is worsened by the fact that these objects are practically not
protected. The culprits of these acts arc very hard to find and persecute. However,
recently, there have been a growing number of prosecutions, many of which end with
court sentences, even imprisonment. This is for example what the Lithuanian
Republican Inspectorate for Monument Protection expects for those guilty of the
destruction of a German World War I military cemetery in Alkiskis near the Latvian
But the concept of wilful damage is broader than this. It covers all kinds of
actions that lead to the destruction of a monument or its part. It includes cases of
construction works conducted without permission from conservation authorities. My
interlocutors from Russia. Bulgaria. Lithuania. Belarus and the Ukraine, and also from
Poland of course, first of all pointed out that until recently, protection apinsi such
actions, and most of all, punishment lor them, was practically impossible for political
reasons, as the vast majority of historical objects were suite-owned. It was rather an
exception than a common practice, and usually there was much red tape, although there
were enough formal reasons for prosecution. For example, the Polish law on cultural
goods protection and museums, in force since 1962, included the following provisions:
1. The person who damages or destroys a historical monument faces the punishment
of imprisonment up to 5 years or a fine.
2. The person who:
i. conducts conservation works or excavations without a proper permit;
ii. while conducting construction or earth works does not inform the regional inspector
of monuments about finding an object that has the character of a historical
monument, or does not protect the found object, or does not stop the works that
might damage or destroy the object, until receives the instructions from that
(...) faces the punishment of arrest or a fine.
The person who, being the owner or user of a historical monument,
i. does not protect the monument from destruction, devastation, or impairment;
ii. does not inform the regional inspector of monuments about:
a. the events that might have detrimental effect on the state and preservation of
b. - d. (...),
faces the punishment of arrest or a fine.
The above regulations have been more widely used only recently, after the
introduction of changes in ownership in the field of monuments on one hand, and the
organizational changes in the monument protection services that gave them more
autonomy and force, on the other. As the result, only in 1991, the regional inspectors
of monuments sent 275 cases to the prosecutor's offices on the basis of the above
regulations. It is worth adding that one of these prosecutions ended with a prison
sentence, though a suspended one. Of course prosecuting the offenders will not prevent
the wilful damage of monuments, but it is a token of the law becoming one of the
instruments of the protection of the cultural heritage again.
All of the above is not optimistic, but it is optimistic to believe that the situation
may be improved by a consistent action against the negative phenomena taken jointly
by all European countries. Some initiatives have already been taken, for example by
the Council of Europe. Now, we have to define the fields of this cooperation.
The main factors that facilitate or even stimulate crimes against cultural goods in
Central and Eastern Europe, seem to be the following:
the low level of wealth of the population, connected with the decreasing sensitivity
for cultural values;
the developing art market;
the opening of the borders and weaker customs control;
insufficient technical protection of historical objects;
insufficient documentation on the monuments and their artistic contents, as well as
of collections in general, and the lack of inventories;
the increase of organized crime and small risk of detection.
Improvements in the standard of living will not come quickly or easily, despite
foreign aid. The closing of borders as used to occur not so many years ago is also out
of question. There is no chance of limiting the growth of the art market, or even the
need for such a measure, especially when everyone promotes market economy and
wants it to develop. Cooperation is possible, and should be undertaken, in such areas
as teaching an understanding of the importance of the cultural heritage for the regional
and European identity and the quality of social life. Initiatives such as European
Heritage Days, Ars Baltica, me Bronze Age Campaign, the Cistercian routes, etc., are
aimed in this direction.
They are worth continuing and should be promoted. European cooperation in
developing the technologies and techniques of protecting the historical sites and their
artistic contents from robberies, fires, and vandalism. It is extremely important to
cooperate in documenting monuments. The aim should be both to identify monuments
that have not been studied yet, and to create a system of standards and norms unified
as far as possible, for example, a system of inventory cards for movable and immovable
cultural goods. Such a unified inventory card form, despite the different languages that
would be used, could be an invaluable help not only for the monument protection
services and authorities, but also for the police and jurisdiction. And last, but not least,
I would like to mention the need for cooperation in the search for new forms of
financing the protection and maintenance of monuments. At this point, I would like to
express my appreciation for the Council of Europe's projects in this area, including the
ones on drafting the convention on investment in a foreign cultural heritage.
At the beginning of my presentation. I tried to indicate that the present situation
of the cultural heritage of Central and Eastern Europe is a function of many negative
phenomena characteristic during a period of transformation, as well as new factors that
add to the losses incurred in Western Europe. I want to stress again that all new
damage here should count as double, because today's cultural landscape of Europe as
a whole belies its true history and cultural development. Let us do everything to
prevent it from being even more false in future.
To finish this presentation, I want to tell you an anecdote, unfortunately a true one:
Recently, I have been told by the director of one of the regional offices of
Sotheby's about a Russian tourist who wanted to sell an old painting. The expert who
was called in, however, said that the painting had no real value and could not be put
for auction. The disbelieving Russian replied in an angry tone: "That's impossible, I
have taken this painting from a museum!"
Emergency planning and risk management
The most common risks that threaten our heritage are fire, explosion (e.g. caused
by faulty gas heating), lightning strikes, theft, vandalism, or changing levels of moisture
These phenomena occur rarely but with consequences that are always detrimental
to the heritage. The chances of lightning striking a building are minimal (once every
30 years), but the consequences are disastrous when the building and its contents go up
in flames. The term used in this context is a risk of disaster.
The chances of theft of a religious work of art, be it a painting or a figure, are
considerably greater in comparison (1 every 3 years). The loss is in this case, however,
depends on its art historical value. The term used here is a major or serious risk.
The chances of damage to a painting through fluctuating moisture and temperature
levels are extremely great in certain buildings (sometimes every day to once every ten
days). Experts assess the damage incurred in each individual case. The term used here
is limited risk.
2. Risk management
Risk management starts with the political will to protect the nation's heritage
against all risks and making available the necessary financial means. This is what is
known as the risk policy.
Then there is what is known as risk planning, which comprises the following
analysis and evaluation;
treatment and reduction;
maintenance and repair;
intervention and emergency planning.
The whole is co-ordinated and managed by the risk manager, who optimises the
invested means for the benefit of the whole of the heritage. This is what is known as
ANALYSE TREATMENT MAINTENANCE EMERGENCY
Risk analysis Risk elimination Users training Alarm procedures
Evaluation Follow-up of Measurement and Evacuation procedures
Compilation of implementation testing Annual practice and
specifications completion Checking and repair training
3. Risk analysis and risk evaluation
The risk analysis and risk evaluation phase is undoubtedly the most important in
the risk protection process.
The chances and consequences of the various risks must be assessed for each
monument and its contents. This requires great experience and expertise in determining
the weaknesses of a building, the value and appeal of specific works of art, the
vulnerability of the given piece of heritage, etc.
The risk manager, therefore, makes a realistic assessment of the chances of
damages and evaluates the acceptability of the risk taken. If this risk is loo high, he
can make the decision to compile and execute a protection plan in order to restrict the
risks which arc not being adequately averted.
4. Risk reduction
The risk manager has available to him a considerable amount of existing
knowledge contained in standards and codes of practice regarding fire protection,
lightning strike, etc., to assist him in compiling a protection plan.
FIRE: fire detection: NBN (Belgian National Standard) S21-100
extinguishing systems: water sprinklers: NBN 571 and S21-019
dry risers: NBN 713-914
open sprinkler systems: NBN S21-027 and 028
fire extinguishers: NBN S21-011 to and incl. 018
fire prevention: NBN 713-020
LIGHTNING: NBN C18-100 and NBN C18-300
GAS and heating systems: D51-003
The risk manager has no standards available to him to assist him in compiling a
protection plan against break-in and theft. However two models can be of use to him.
The first shows the need for an expertly devised combination of organisational,
structural and electronic means in order to attain complete protection.
The second shows the need for setting up several successive electronic barriers
around the object to be protected.
Organisational measures Structural measures
5. Maintenance and management
Once the risk has been reduced through the application of protective measures, the
system must be kept operational, at an optimum level, through long term management
User training, testing proper functioning of all the system components and checking
cleanliness and sensitivity are therefore essential. All repairs, as well as minor
maintenance and monthly inspections, must be recorded in a systems logbook.
In addition, a maintenance contract must be signed for the different systems, and
frequency of services, description of the type of action taken, guarantees regarding 24
hour service and method of reporting on the action taken must be recorded.
re-adjusting, cleaning and changing directed at the conservation of the nominal state.
INSPECTION Measuring, testing and counting directed at determining and
evaluating the actual state.
REPAIRS Repairing, fitting and exchanging directed at the repair of the
6. Intervention and emergency planning
The preventive and protective measures applied have, by this stage, considerably
reduced the chances of risks occurring. Provisions must nevertheless be made for
evacuation in the event of fire, explosion, or situations of war. Emergency plans and
intervention plans must therefore be compiled; yearly practice of these is useful.
Emergency plans consist of an organisational part, in which the alarm and
intervention procedures, functions, and scope of the various emergency services arc
described, and an operational part, in which the technical systems, equipment, and
devices are described.
Periodic training sessions allow specific incident scenarios to be tried out,
discrepancies in the emergency plans to be detected as well as the co-ordination
between emergency services to be improved and specific requirements for each
monument and work of art to be discovered.
Operational part Organisational part
YEARLY PRACTICE AND TRAINING
7. Application: the protection of the "Lam Gods"
("Lamb of God", retable kept in St. Bavon Cathedral, Gent)
Many of the above mentioned principles are comprised in the protection of the
renowned "Lam Gods".
The final design of the shrine was made by Prof. J. Cnops, Architectural Engineer.
However, one of the designs which was not executed, is worthy of note; the triptych is
hung in the cathedral and the visitors are put in a glass cage. It is quite obvious that
a design of this kind presents no protection against certain risks.
The final design of the shrine takes the following risks into account:
damage from mechanical impact from objects, projected glass fragments, bullet or
grenade or falling debris;
damage from direct water spray or from water running down as a result of
destruction through fire possibly caused by lightning strike or by arson;
theft by planned intrusion or theft during riots and war situations;
damage from excessively intense light and excessive temperature and moisture
fluctuations as a result of great concentrations of visitors.
The shrine ensures the mechanical protection of the "Lam Gods" and is made up
mainly of a layered glass partition and a steel ceiling plate.
The glass partition is resistant to impact from projectiles, fired from weapons at
an energy level of 2,500 Joules. The ceiling plate is resistant to impact from falling
debris. The whole shrine unit is watertight and has a certain degree of fire resistance.
The volume inside the shrine is illuminated (less than 200 lux) and climate
controlled. The ventilation system comprises a fire flap which closes automatically in
the event of fire.
Prof. J. Cnops, Architectural Engineer: De beveiliging van het Lam Gods (The
protection of the Lam Gods), M&L Journal. July-August 1986.
Olivier: Risk management en monumentenzorg; nota's van de studiedag F.T.I.
(Risk management and conservation of monuments and historic buildings, F.T.I,
seminar notes, 27 April 1989.
Prof. Van Overmeire, Engineer, and P. Olivier B Sc.: Betrouwbaarheids- en
risikoanalyse aan Industrie'le Systemen (Reliability and risk analysis of industrial
systems). Free University of Brussels, 1992.
Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique (Royal National Heritage Institute):
Vademecum pour la protection et I'entretien du patrimoine artistique (Guide to the
protection and maintenance of artistic heritage), I.R.P.A. Bulletin 21, 1986-1987.
Van Aart: Opleiding- en Ontwikkelingsfonds voor de elektro-technische bedrijftak.
Course 731: de werking van elektronische inbraaksignaliseringssystemen (Training
and development fund for the electro-technology industry). Course 731: Electronic
burglar alarm systems and their operation.
The role of the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO)-Interpol
1. First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Gordon Henley and I am a
Detective Chief Inspector of a United Kingdom Police force currently seconded to the
General Secretariat of the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol in Lyons,
France. I have been a Police officer for almost thirty years and prior to working with
Interpol I was a member of the Criminal Investigation Department of my police force
in England. I have a considerable amount of experience in investigating various
criminal offences including those related to art and antiques. On behalf of Interpol I
would like to thank the organizers of this conference for inviting me to speak. I hope
I can make a worthwhile contribution.
2. I note that this part of the conference deals with prevention and protection and I
will endeavour to direct my remarks along those lines. I expect most of you are aware
of the existence of Interpol but few of you know exactly what we actually do. Briefly
the organization consists of 158 member countries which during this current week will
increase by a further four or five countries. As I speak our General Assembly is being
held in Dakar, Senegal when these applications will be heard. Our basic purpose is to
facilitate co-operation between the Police forces of the world. We are a governmental
organization and membership is voluntary. The General Secretariat cannot force a
country to act or not to act in any particular police investigation. The Organization
does however specifically target certain types of criminal offence and in doing so
employs a number of police officers from member countries at the General Secretariat
to carry out these duties. One such subject relates to the theft and illegal trafficking of
works of art and cultural property.
3. Perhaps the best way to explain the action of the General Secretariat in this field
is to quote a hypothetical case of Burglary and Theft.
4. Let us say that a burglary takes place in the city of Antwerp. The offence takes
place in a museum during the night and is discovered as a result of the alarm being
activated. The police are called and investigations are commenced in the normal way.
It is of prime importance for the police that the scene is preserved for forensic
examination. It is also obvious that a full list of the property stolen be obtained. At
this stage however I do emphasise the preservation of the scene. On many occasions
well meaning employees and sometimes police officers have contaminated a scene by
lack of thought. Every thing is important. Items left at a scene by an offender such
as clothing, torches, blood stained handkerchiefs, vehicles abandoned, tools used to
force an entry, marks left at the point of entry, have all led to the identification of an
offender. One instance I recall was when the vehicle belonging to a burglary suspect
was searched and in the boot a small piece of bone was found. It was thought to be
part of the Chinese game Mah Jong. It was hand made and at first thought to be
insignificant. Enquiries were made at the scene, which in this case was a large country
house where a valuable collection of silver had been stolen. It was discovered that in
one of the rooms near the point of entry some similar pieces of bone were found. The
victims in this case revealed that they possessed a Mah Jong set and were in the habit
of placing pieces dropped on the floor in an silver bowl which was part of the property
stolen. A forensic examination of the control sample and of the particles found in the
suspects car revealed that the particles were ivory and most probably came from the
same elephant's tusk and therefore from the same Mah Jong set.
5. Going back to our offence, further enquiries lead the investigators to believe that
the offence could be of international significance. In a city such as Antwerp, where
within only a few hour's drive, or even less, one can be in a number of other countries.
It may be that witnesses have seen a foreign registered vehicle or it could be that the
items stolen have a particular attraction for the international market, it could any
number of things. In this case let us say that three valuable paintings are stolen and the
offenders have made good their escape.
6. The investigating officers are now faced with the task of identifying the offenders
and secondly circulating a description of the property stolen. On many occasions the
two are linked and finding the property, albeit that it may have passed through a
number of hands, could lead to the identification of the offenders. As mentioned
previously the police believe that the property could have left Belgium and not only do
they circulate its description nationally, but in this case internationally.
7. To facilitate a circulation internationally, ICPO Interpol have created a form printed
in the four official languages of the organization which can assist police officers who
may have a limited knowledge of art objects, to describe the articles stolen.
8. CR1GEN/ART form.
9. Initially, before this form is completed, it may be some time after the offence, it
is suggested that a telegram be circulated giving as much details as is known to give
police officers and customs officers on duly at borders controls at least a chance of
seizing the items stolen. This is most important in Europe where stolen property could
be across three or four borders within hours, although with the single European market
and the removal of some border controls our work will be more difficult in this sphere.
10. When the heal has died down it is more often the case thai specialist police officers
will assist in completing the form. It may be thai officers will assist in completing the
form. The NCB of the country in question complete the form. In any event the
completed form is passed to the NCB together with photographs if possible, fix- onward
transmission to the General Secretariat in Lyons.
11. On arrival at the General Secretarial it is edited in preparation for data entry and
initial search on the main frame computer. The General Secretarial uses a computer
which has a number of data bases one of which is specifically dedicated to stolen works
After this procedure the form is returned to the group of which I am the head,
when the specialized officers prepare a stolen art notice. I have here some examples
of the notice which you can keep if you wish. After printing, these notices are
distributed to all member countries in sufficient numbers to suit their needs. You will
note that each notice requests that member countries inform Galleries, Museums,
Salerooms, Pawnbrokers, Antique Dealers and Customs authorities. We supply the
International Council of Museums and UNESCO directly with copies of the notice. In
addition other international bodies such as ICEFAT and three international data bases,
namely IFAR, IALR and TRACE are supplied with copies via the NCB's of
Washington, London and The Hague. Obviously the wider the distribution the better.
In addition to the notice we also publish a poster twice a year. I have here some
12. On occasions we publish a notice on property which has been recovered by the
police and the owner is sought.
Museum, Art Gallery and Library Thefts
13. Generally speaking the majority of the requests for notices come from European
countries. This is not surprising of course because a considerable number of the worlds
movable art treasures I would think are housed in Europe.
Some of course are not removable, at least not easily.
Secondly the European member countries of Interpol are the most active.
14. Recently I carried out a survey of offences committed in the past two years which
has been reported to the General Secretariat. Most of the thefts in museums, I found
were simple walk in thefts and occurred during opening hours. The second most
prevalent were of Burglaries committed during the hours when the museums were
closed and in those cases a forcible entry was made. The third category of offences
were those believed to have been committed with complicity of staff or where after a
check of a reserve number of exhibits, a deficiency was found. One interesting modus
operandi I discovered was that a painting had been stolen and a similar sized worthless
painting had been hung in its place. Unfortunately these observations are based only
on the offences reported to the General Secretariat. We are not, contrary to popular
believe a central record office for criminal offences committed around the world. We
only keep records of offences considered international and criminals considered to be
15. On occasions a member country will report the theft of an archaeological item. In
some cases we receive information that an item on display at a museum is either stolen
or is believed to have been clandestinely excavated. In the latter case it is a difficult
matter to follow up because the Police can only act if a criminal offence has been
committed. One such case occurred a few years ago when we received information
from a confidential source that an extremely valuable statue of an "Aphrodite" was due
to be exhibited in a museum in the United States. The information indicated that the
statue had been stolen from Morgantina in Sicily. In this instance we made contact
with both the NCB of Rome and of Washington. The problem in this case was that the
Italian authorities were unable to confirm that the item had been stolen or removed
illegally from Italy. As far as I know the matter has yet to be resolved. In this
particular case Interpol has done its job. It was then up to the lawyers and experts to
sort out the problem. As many of you know this type of thing is very common.
Traffickers or dealers in items of this nature exploit the fact that in many cases the
items cannot be identified, more especially if they were excavated, albeit the law of the
country forbids the export of such objects. Usually it is many months or years
afterwards when items are recognized by historians or archaeologists.
16. The incident I have just described as you are aware is not new. Officials of the
colonial powers were perhaps the biggest offenders in the past. In recent times one
country I know of, Sri Lanka, is empowered to search the baggage of diplomats leaving
the country. The Far East suffers considerably from theft of objects from
archaeological sites. We are often asked to circulate descriptions of items stolen in such
countries as India. Thailand and Cambodia.
Offences other than theft
17. Persons responsible for security of museums and archaeological sites should also
be aware of other types of offence likely to be committed. Criminal malicious damage
is frequently committed for a particular reason, for example, political, religious or racial
objection to the exhibit. In many cases however the damage is of a mindless
destructive nature and in many cases these days consist of graffiti.
Many police forces of the world are able to offer crime prevention advice on this
and other similar matters. Another aspect as far as security is concerned is the transport
of valuable works of art. Again the police in many countries in particular in Europe
will facilitate an escort for those items being transported where a risk exists.
18. Offences relating to Cultural Properly in common with other types of property crime
have their specialist offenders. If identified by member countries Interpol docs have the
means to circulate (he description of these offenders. We have a "Notice" system in use
which facilitates the circulation world wide of the descriptions, photographs and
fingerprints of persons wanted and suspected of criminal offences internationally. A
warning notice can also be circulated outlining the activities of a particular criminal.
We also circulate details relating to a particular "Modus Operand!". These arc usually
of a forensic nature and offer advice to member countries.
19. The staff al the General Secretariat, in addition to the matters to which I have
referred are also responsible for organizing symposia, conferences and working groups
on all types of criminal offence.
The protection of historic buildings and their artistic contents
against crime and wilful damage in Italy
I'm Captain Alberto DEREGIBUS of the Carabinieri Headquarters for the
Protection of the Artistic Heritage. Since 1969, this Command in Italy has been the
only Police Body dealing exclusively with activities concerning prevention and
repression of illicit traffic in works of art at national and international level.
It must be pointed out that the Italian Ministry of The Interior, with decree dated
22 January 1992, established the guidelines in order to determine the preventive strategy
against crimes and to carry out investigative activities, assigned operational objectives,
confirming the competence of the Carabinieri in the various categories of crime, as
those regarding works of art, with respect to Interpol.
During the last years, in order to face the increasing interest of offenders in the
artistic heritage, remarkable efforts have been made to improve the quality and
technology of the unit. At this date the Command avails itself of a highly sophisticated
Electronic Data Processing Centre which makes it possible to catalogue the images and
information concerning stolen works of art.
In order to increase the operational capabilities, especially in those areas more
vulnerable by specific criminal activity, a unit of the Carabinieri for the Protection of
the Artistic Heritage has been established in Palermo and others in Naples, Florence,
and Milan are being set up. Other such initiatives are planned in order to increase our
efforts in this direction.
Carabinieri command for the protection of artistic heritage
The Command is located in Rome, Piazza S. Ignazio 152, and avails itself of the
Electronic Data Processing Centre. The Centre, based on high information technology,
can provide answers in real time to any requesting Police Force.
The Command employs over 100 agents (Officers, non-commissioned Officers, and
Troops), and operates with mobility on the whole national territory, in co-ordination
with other Law Enforcement units; via Interpol abroad it executes international
"commissions rogatoires" aimed at recovering of stolen works of art.
In a general guideline the Command is entrusted with the coordination, on national
level, of the Judicial Police activity, within the Carabinieri, aimed at prosecuting crimes
committed to the detriment of the cultural and environmental heritage.
It carries out prevention and repression activities in all cases of violation of Law
in this particular field, conducts a vast investigative activity in the field of the ait
market surveillance, using also photographic equipment, antique shops, restorers, art
markets, art fairs, auction houses, printing houses and examining all art publications.
It also maintains surveillance on archaeological sites and carries out investigative and
judicial police activities aimed at reducing traffic and stealing of art finds.
To this end the Command avails itself of helicopters and naval units of the
Carabinieri, and of the Carabinieri Scuba Centres in coordination with the Technical
Service for the Underwater Archaeology of the Ministry of Cultural and Environmental
Recently the Command has become member of a specific security ministerial
commission in which all the General Directions of the same ministry are represented
along with technicians of the Fire Department and of the Ministry of The Interior.
This Commission studies the issues concerning security systems suitable for
museums, alarm systems, fire extinguishing measures, preservation and transport of
works of art; furthermore studies are in progress in order to change the professional
qualifications of the personnel entrusted with the surveillance of works of art for the
purpose of adjusting them to new security concepts also in the light of tclcmatic
systems already in use and those that have to be installed.
Presently a general study of the problem and an analysis of the situation of each
museum is in progress.
Thanks to this accurate analysis it will be possible to intervene effectively in every
case, bearing (he different procedures in mind that have to be followed in different
situations: in fact, the security systems used in archaeological sites are very different
from those used in libraries or museums.
However, in the near future all security information concerning groups of museums
situated in the same geographical area, will have to be centralized in appropriate
monitoring centres manned permanently in order to face quickly and correctly an alarm
In such a sophisticated system the phase of installation is delicate and complex and
the difficulties to overcome are so relevant thai in most cases the necessary
compromises invalidate the results to be achieved.
To avoid this inconvenience a pattern must be established as a reference for the
technical offices with regard to the drawing up of the programmes concerning all
systems. Such a pattern would simplify the coordination of any kind of activity at any
time. In Italy this control may be carried out assigning (his task to firms that are
qualified by a technical Body as for example the "Isiiiuio Marchio di Qualitd".
Analysis of the Italian phenomenon and of the European situation
Data must be analyzed in order to evaluate the problem effectively.
Italy is an immense museum: every corner of our country is the expression of
thousands of years of civilization whose traces can be found in numerous art galleries,
libraries, churches (95 000), archives, castles (over 40 000), public and private
institutions, private dwellings as well as in the subsoil and in the sea depth.
The total number of the museums is remarkable: 2 364 of which 710 are State
owned, 924 are owned by municipalities, provinces, and regions, and 730 belong to
This inestimable heritage is continuously exposed to criminal activities. In fact,
in Italy from 1970 to the first six months of 1992,21 000 thefts have been reported for
a total number of 350 000 works of art. Most of them, 55 - 60%, are perpetrated to the
detriment of private collections; 10% are committed in private or public institutions; 3%
in municipal, provincial and local museums; 2% in State museums.
The Carabinieri have recovered about 120 000 works of art and 180 000
These data show how Italian museums are less affected by the criminal activities,
which mainly focus on the whole historical and cultural heritage.
It is therefore necessary and urgent to protect the artistic heritage more effectively
not only at a national but also at an international level.
First of all it is deemed necessary to arrive at transnational provisions, in order to
analyse the problem from a political point of view so mat the legislative obstacles of
the different States may be overcome, and in order to evaluate the national legislation
so that its "Guidelines" may be adjusted to the international conventions and
recommendations and not to national Regulations issued by the Committee of Cultural
However, apart from political problems, I would like to stress some international
situations. First of all, a higher degree of co-operation is necessary at Law enforcement
This result can be achieved only after each State, according to the 1970 Paris
Convention, has set up a unit dealing exclusively with this specific field, in order to
standardize all procedures.
Despite this, it should be pointed out that co-operation with European and overseas
law enforcement agencies is excellent, so that obstacles can be easily overcome.
Therefore, the first problem concerns the "principle of good faith".
Our legislation, which is generally considered extremely precise, strict, and severe,
although it does not thoroughly deal with contemporary art, protects the work of art, the
artist and the purchaser. Buyers should never talk about a purchase made in good faith,
since, in compliance with Sect. 2 of Law no. 1062 dated November 20,1971, they have
the right to obtain a certificate of origin and authenticity from the seller. Therefore, it
should be more difficult for him to maintain that he has come into possession of a work
of art in good faith.
In Italy, several significant cases have occurred, which have clarified the Italian
Ecuador had claimed the ownership of pre-Columbian archaeological finds,
fraudulently purchased and imported into Italy, in violation of Ecuador legislation, and
the Turin Court settled the matter in favour of Ecuador, thereby taking Ecuador
legislation into account.
The Court of Milan, with sentence dated March 2, 1987, modified the previous
juridical trend which had always considered the final purchaser as the owner of the
work of an, after proving his good faith. This Court in the case of a dispute between
an antique dealer, who stated that he bought furniture in good faith, and the owner who
gave proof of legitimate ownership of the furniture, settled the matter in favour of the
second stating that the antique dealer should have been more diligent in verifying the
origin of the furniture.
This difficulty could be solved by setting up a centralized data bank of stolen
works of an at EC level, that can be consulted by everyone before making a purchase.
In this regard I think I should stress that the Italian Government, in answer to the
EC, expressed its full willingness to establish such a centre in Florence. No response
has been received.
The Ministry of Cultural and Environmental Assets and the Carabinieri General
Headquarters are examining another possibility of invalidating the principle of "good
faith": in fact, in 1993, a text will be published concerning the most important cultural
assets that have been stolen during the last 20 years.
This text will be circulated to national and European law enforcement agencies,
auction houses, antique dealers' associations, and experts in (he field.
A thorough insight inio crimes concerning works of an enables us to combat them
Furthermore, the European law enforcement agencies should be connected via
computer so that photographs of stolen works of an can be circulated to foreign
In this connection, I would like to stress the problem of "prescription".
As far as archaeological finds illicitly recovered are concerned, the terms by which
the suit for returning can be brought, according to sect. 8 of the EC Regulation, must
be carefully examined, in addition to the measures taken by the Italian Government.
With regard to the above mentioned finds the date of export cannot be established; on
the other hand, it is possible to find out about them only when they come on to
Thanks to the Ministry experts' opinion, it is possible to ascertain without a doubt
that the finds come from Italy, but, with regard to foreign legislations, particularly the
American one, they would be subject to "prescription". This is due to the fact that the
owner can prove that he has bought them 10 years before, in this case in Switzerland,
whereas it is difficult for us to prove the contrary.
Archaeological finds that are illicitly removed, should be returned to the requesting
State without any immediate investigations except those aimed at determining where
they came from and how they have been illegally exported. Such finds cannot be
disposed of, since they are public property.
The idea that "State and Institutional property cannot be disposed of seems to have
been accepted with regard to State-owned cultural assets; property of this kind is
sufficiently protected, also at international level.
Church property, which is so often subject to illicit traffic, should be included in
the provisions concerning the protection of works of art.
It would be a help for cultural assets to have their own juridical status. Therefore
the fraudulent appropriation should be an aggravated circumstance.
Each State should commit itself to comply with the legislation of the requesting
The various initiatives, carried out by EC countries in order to protect cultural
assets, seem to have laid the foundations for an extensive co-operation.
A further initiative would be advisable in order to take the different interests of the
European countries into account.
This initiative, complying with the legislation in force in each country, should
prevent a work of art exported to EC countries from being easily exported to non-EC
countries as a result of lax legislation.
Social and psychological aspects of delinquent behaviour
Delinquent behaviour consists in exceeding or infringing the system of laws,
prohibitions and interdictions in force in a given culture.
Excess and infringement carry the implication of limitation, without which the
possibility of transgression does not arise. As Michel Foucault wrote in his preface to
"Transgression" (1963), "Transgression is the glorification of limitation".
It is not enough, however, to set limits. They must be clear and, above all,
capable of being infringed. The Ten Commandments are a model of clarity and of
this capability, because they are based on the assumption that men understand them and
are free to take upon themselves the responsibility for not abiding by them. There is
no breakable limit or responsibility in a "high security" prison. But there are not even
any clear limits or, consequently, any definition of responsibility in the wilderness of
rules and regulations which so many fearful and irresponsible adults lay before the
The Italian humanists used the term "vandal" in the contemptuous sense of
"destroyer" (of works of art in particular).
This word, together with the adjective "vandal" and the noun "vandalism", rapidly
spread across Europe.
In the Verbali delta Municipality Provisoria di Venezia (records of the provisional
municipality of Venice) in 1797, "vandalism" is defined as the "tendency to devastate
or destroy everything, especially fine and useful things".
The French term "vandalisms" was coined in 1793. The Abb6 GnSgoire,
constitutional bishop of Blois, boasted in his memoirs of having protested to the
National Convention in the following terms: "Such were the excesses carried out that
it was possible eventually to make my voice usefully heard, and I was authorised to
present a report against vandalism to the Convention.
I created the word to kill the thing." '
I have begun with an historical survey of words in order to introduce the central
themes of my statement:
1. the association of the terms "vandal" and "barbarian" with "destroyer";
Cortelazzo, M-ZoIli, P, Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1988, volume V, 1411-1412.
2. the emphasis placed on the tendency to destroy everything, especially "fine and
3. the Abb6 Gregoire's amusing claim that he "created the word to kill the thing";
4. taking care.
1. The association of the terms "vandal" and "barbarian" with "destroyer"
Obviously, this is a largely arbitrary association, which is influenced by the conflict
between cultures. The barbarians certainly did not bring only destruction, but also
civilisation, progress and vitality. In order not to insult your intelligence, I shall not
dwell on this point. However, if the pejorative connotation of these terms has gained
ground and is still widely accepted, there must be a good reason. We can think about
this while turning to the second point.
2. The emphasis placed on the tendency to destroy everything, especially "fine
and useful things"
The barbarians irrupted dramatically into a long-established and consolidated
system, albeit weakened by self-destructive internal forces. The fall of the Roman
Empire is not to be attributed exclusively to the Barbarians, but rather to a new order
which was a logical development since it replaced an ancient and by that time rotten
system. When a system does not find within itself the energy for self-transformation
and renewal, it exposes itself to disastrous changes. The new force strikes
unceremoniously at the moribund system, with the aim of destroying it once and for all.
We are familiar with such disasters within our own lives, both public and private.
When they occur and we are among the victims, we experience physical and
psychological injury on such a scale that it may seriously jeopardise our survival.
Everything that was built up by the old order is threatened with destruction: the
beautiful and the ugly, the just and the unjust, the old and the young. There is no doubt
that at such moments we are driven to despair by the loss of something which, in our
view, did not deserve to disappear "the Tine and useful things" of the Venetian report
Every day we witness phenomena of this type, which do not leave us indifferent
if we possess a minimum of alertness and sensitivity, but on the contrary produce a
profound effect on us.
I spent my childhood and my adolescence in Rome, amid the ruins of the most
powerful Western empire of ancient times. Today, in my home in Milan. I still keep
a book which illustrates the work of a famous 18th century engraver. Giovan Baltista
Piranesi. A note by the artist (1756) contains the following passage, which I shall
translate freely from (he original Italian:
" (...) Seeing that the remains of Rome's ancient buildings, scattered to a large
extent among kitchen gardens and other areas of cultivation, are diminishing day
by day through the degradations of time and the weather or the greed or owners
who, with barbaric licence, secretly destroy them in order to sell pieces for the
construction of modern buildings, I have decided to preserve them in my
You will no doubt recall engravings of this kind produced by an artist in your own
country. Climbing plants and weeds are overrunning the space. There is a feeling of
abandonment; time appears to be slowly burying the vestiges of a glorious past. We
realise that within the span of a few centuries nature will engulf columns, pediments,
courtyards and porticoes, concealing them behind an impenetrable wall of vegetation.
A parallel can be drawn with what happened to the Inca civilization of the Central
Andes after the arrival of Pizarro.
Piranesi perceives an environment in which the memory of the past is not
completely effaced, at least that is the impression given. Here and there I notice small
figures of men and animals: shepherds, beggars, vagabonds, oxen or sheep. They are
scattered about; some lean against the ruins, others shelter under what remains of an
ancient building. They seem to live, or rather survive, from day to day, getting
whatever support they can from what is at hand. There is a striking discrepancy
between the glory of the past and the wretchedness of the present These anonymous
little figures seem to be there by chance, as if passing through. There appears to be no
continuity between man and his environment, between past and present.
3. The Abbe" Gr£goire's amusing claim that he created "the word in order to kill
I could follow the advice of the Abb6 and try a radical solution: "kill" the problem
by using the word which he thought he had coined, "vandalism". From what I have
said, you will no doubt have realised that words are not always sufficient to create and
In the meantime, it could be objected that talking here about the Roman Empire,
to an audience interested in protecting the artistic heritage against criminal and wilful
damage, is completely irrelevant. When a boy damages a monument, urinates against
a 17th century colonnade, pens his signature on the wall of a Romanesque church, or
spits on a painting, we certainly cannot say that this is a new order which has come to
replace the old one, now out of date.
But, I am not seeking to justify such vandalistic behaviour. I am simply
investigating the causes in an effort to make my own contribution to the prevention of
I must therefore concern myself also with the reasons for that boy's indifference
or worse still - hostility towards works of art. He lives in his own town, his own
country, with the same sense of extraneousness, bewilderment, cultural poverty and lack
of memory as is expressed in the little figures of Piranesi's engravings. And it is he
who is the disaster victim. He is not a vandal, but an individual reduced to displaying
aggressiveness towards himself and towards his own history. This is because the only
trace which his experience of family and social life has left within him is one of
destruction, hatred, anger and fear. He attacks everything which is "fine and useful"
in the same way as he would like to - and often does - verbally and physically attack
his own parents, the values which he sees preached but not practised, the beautiful, the
good and the useful constantly displayed and proposed as models, but which his own
experience has shown him to be unattainable.
4. Taking care
The concept of "taking care", concerning oneself, cultivating in all possible senses,
is rooted in the etymology of the word "culture".
Abandonment and negligence, wherever they manifest themselves, give expression
in a dramatically obvious manner to the very negation of culture and the emergence of
its opposite, "sinecure", from the Latin sine cura, meaning lack of responsibility.
Locations (a monument, a bus, our house, a public office, a park) bear the marks
of the care or lack of interest, or sometimes even the hostility, of those who visit them.
Implicit in the concept of care is the more or less conscious desire to conserve,
improve and increase what we have received or constructed, and which we intend to
pass on to those who will follow us. Care of the present, in terms of innovation as well
as conservation, is the product of respect for the experience of the past and a sign of
attentiveness to the future. Heidegger wrote that "only someone who has a history is
connected with a future. The person who has a history can at the same time create
one". In simpler terms, ;ui Italian writer. Carlo Levi, claimed that "the future has an
A vandal is someone who no longer has a personal history or believes that he does
not have one, or else rejects his past experience. The environment in which he lives
is alien and hostile to him. He is not indifferent to this environment, and it is also true
that he attacks and assaults it. He is doubtless an individual who has not been loved,
or - if he has received love - has been abruptly deprived of it at some point in his life.
Camus wrote that "lack of love creates monsters", and the monsters are among us
because there is not enough love. Yet, the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
When these young vandals destroy, defile and attack, they arc not indifferent, or at least
not yet. Rather their aggressiveness is a protest, unacceptable in form but
understandable in substance, against the lack of love and more especially the
indifference shown to them.
The adult response to their unacceptable behaviour must be neither of the
justificatory, expiatory kind, based on a sense of guill over real or presumed
shortcomings on our part or on the part of "society"; nor even of the merely repressive,
punitive and exclusionary kind, based on the defence mechanism of "projection" through
which we vent our spleen on them; above all. it must not be one of indifference. Each
of these responses hits the defect of not recognising the "vandal" as an individual, as
someone who is responsible for his own acts.
If we want to prevent delinquent behaviour we cannot settle for forgiveness, prison
or indifference. Prevention implies a more arduous endeavour involving concordance
between what adults say and what they do, attribution of responsibility to the
transgressor, and assistance to enable the transgressor to recover his own past and that
of his culture and to come round to considering communal property as his own
Rejection is not in itself the opposite of "caring" when it implies a choice, the
decision not to accept, a determination to check and prevent anything which may entail
damage or medium- and long-term loss, even for a small part of our environment. In
the context of personal development, in fact, "rejection" is a decisive victory which lays
the foundations of our freedom and establishes the frontiers of our autonomy and
Rejection does contrast with "caring" when it implies selfish concern for one's own
present condition, indifference and hostility towards the past, lack of responsibility
towards others and towards future generations. It is these types of rejection, which we
either commit or endure, which leave a negative stamp on our time on this earth,
erasing the memory of the past, making the present unbearable and depriving us of
horizons which go beyond the span of our individual lives.
"Do you wish to prevent crime? Make your laws simple and clear, and ensure that
all the forces of the nation concentrate on defending them and that none of these forces
is applied to destroying them. Ensure that the laws are concerned less with social
classes than with men themselves.
Make men afraid of the law and of the law alone. Fear of the law is healthy,
whereas fear between men is fatal and strongly conducive to crime."
(Cesare Beccaria, Dei delitti e delle pene, 1764).
While it is true that we can only give what we have, the invitation to cultivate the
beauty of giving risks falls on deaf ears if it is addressed to a public of paupers. It is
from this standpoint that the "inculcation of understanding" is revealed as not only a
technique but also a suggestion for action. Only by setting an example, only by giving,
can we make people understand that it is more important to give than to receive. An
adult who wishes to communicate with young people can be advised of no more
effective method than his own example. From this point of view, the example which
adults set the young in private and public life is usually rather poor. It is true that there
is no lack of opportunities to meet individuals or organisations who propose and practise
positive, constructive and productive action. However, it is disheartening to see how
difficult it is for a young person to identify and appreciate them amid the welter of
powerful negative examples which are the "norm".
From our experience, and remembering our own adolescence, we know that young
people are particularly attentive to coherent behaviour. I would say that consistency of
word and deed holds such fascination that young people will tend to admire and emulate
someone who is disreputable but consistent rather than an adult, a school or a state
whose message is: "Do what I say, not what I do".
A child has an inborn confidence in adults, be they parents, family or teachers: they
enjoy a store of credit with him. As the child grows up and finds out how inconsistent
adults are, the store of credit shrinks, and disappears altogether in some cases. One is
then faced with an indifferent, distrustful or hostile adolescent. To win back the lost
credit, we must supply evidence of the sincerity of our actions.
In order to live, however, men in general - not just children and adolescents - need
dreams, great ideals, adventure and risk, as a means of measuring their own strength
and attempting to leave a trail of productiveness and change as they pass through life.
It will not be possible for an adult to establish contact with young people, to inculcate
understanding, if he has lost his capacity to dream, if he is devoid of ideas, if his inner
fire has been extinguished. Young people do not need just any adult: they need
examples of courage, independence and honesty.
The fact that the credit has diminished to nothingness does not mean that the young
person no longer needs the adult. If we shoulder our responsibilities, if we give him
the proof he requires, we shall have him on our side ... and let us hope that it is the
Insurance of historic buildings and their contents
This paper will not deal with the insurance branches and types of insurance
policies, conditions, and warranties related to the insurance of historic buildings and
their contents against crime and wilful damage as there are many different covers and
policies in the various countries of the European community. Moreover, such details
can easily be obtained from local insurance companies who can also provide
information on the rules and laws governing such issues.
A discussion of general aspects and problems is for such reasons more fruitful, in
particular as several of the aspects presented below can be used in connection with
general risk assessment and as such information is difficult to find.
For the benefit of those readers who are not only interested in one particular peril,
for instance, burglary, we shall first discuss the general approach in risk assessment,
whether for the purpose of insurance or for a general analysis.
It is helpful to list the entire range of perils which may be encountered in
connection with a particular site or element at risk. The spectrum of the generally
important perils can be presented in the form of a simple formula which can be taken
as well as a rudimentary form of a checklist, for instance,
X= f[Hg (W, S, E, TS, V, F, Ex, Tr, B, Th, MD, G, T, Hr)]
According to this formula which does not necessarily represent the complete
spectrum of risks, the exposure (X) is a function (0 the general human qualification and
risk awareness (Hg) of those responsible for the elements at risk at any time. This
human parameter determines the risk associated with practically all other perils
including those often referred to as "Act of God", like rain, flood, and inundation (water
= W), windstorm (S), earthquake (E), tsunami (TS), volcanic eruptions (V), fire (F),
explosion (Ex), and those commonly associated with human activity, like transport (M),
burglary (B), theft (Th), malicious damage and vandalism (MD), geology and soil
mechanics (G), accidents for technical reasons (T), and the residual human failure
When studying the exposure of an element at risk the following correlation should
not only be kept in mind but evaluated quantitatively whenever possible. Such an
investigation will indicate which perils contribute most to the exposure and suggest
which problems should be attended first.
I = LE x p
That is the impact of an accident (I) is the product of the loss expected (LE) and
the probability of its occurrence (p). This is a shorthand version of one formula for
rating risks proposed by the author already several decades ago which reads
X = 10 LE f u P p
X corresponds to the insurance premium rate in permille (%o) for one single
accident, viz the loss expected (LE), f and u are factors considering overheads and
uncertainty in the determination of LE and p. P is the period of exposure in years and
p is the annual probability of an accident causing damage equal to LE. SI represents
the sum insured, i.e. the new replacement value of the element at risk. The total rate
per peril for each element at risk is the sum of the rates for accidents of different
magnitudes each having a different return period or annual probability. If the perils
endangering a given element at risk are numerous, for instance, because of bad
protection and/or high vulnerability the total rate can be very high.
A different formula developed by the author at the same time does not employ the
annual probability p but the return period R in years of an accident which leads to a
loss equal to the LE. The advantage of this formula is that return periods are more
commonly used and that the return period concept is easier to visualize than
probabilities. This formula rends:
X « LE f u P HXK)
In this case the constant factor to calculate the premium rate is permille (%o) is
1 000. We cannot discuss details in this paper which are related to the probable and/or
acceptable exposure because of the very wide and often very complex scope of such
questions and decisions and we will therefore have to restrict ourselves to some
examples. Before examples can be discussed it is, however, necessary to discuss some
salient problems arising in connection with the parameters in the last formula. This will
also point at particular difficulties in the insurance of historical buildings and their
The loss expected is (he average cost of an accident. As accidents can have
different magnitudes, for instance, a Tire damaging only a small part of a historical
building or a conflagration gutting an entire building or even several buildings on a
given site, it is necessary to have at least a good idea of the damage probability
distribution correlating the LE with the magnitude of the accident.
It is immediately seen that this poses very considerable problems as no published
statistics are available and in particular not for many of the risk categories mentioned
in the first formula. The only practical solution is to contact very large insurers and/or
reinsurers who can be of assistance, if only by correlating fire losses with ordinary
losses on comparable buildings. Much needs to be done in this field to put risk
assessment, rating, and protection on a safer and economical basis.
Another problem related to the LE is specifically related to art treasures. Let us
consider a historical building which is, for instance, damaged because of arson.
Whereas it is not too difficult to estimate how much the repair of a modern
building would cost this is very different matter for a historical building. In the latter
case the condition before the accident must be restored as correctly as possible. This
can involve materials which are difficult to obtain and costly and it may require trade
skills which are hard to find today. It should, however, be said already now that if the
SI is correctly established the problem of assessing a reasonably precise LE decreases
noticeably. Let us therefore discuss the fixing of a proper sum insured before
continuing the discussion.
It is customary that insurers indemnify the full cost of repairs which are required
to restore the element at risk to its condition before the accident. That means that no
depreciation is applied. Such a form of indemnification requires that the sum insured
must correspond to the total expenses to be incurred when repairing the particular
element at risk, e.g. a historical building, using materials, techniques, and methods of
workmanship which are "identical" to the original ones.
This certainly does not mean that the timber used for reconstruction of the roof
must be worked employing exclusively hand tools. It would, for instance, be ridiculous
to fell the trees using axes and not chain saws, but the surface of the rafters will have
to be given their original appearance which means that they have to be shaped with
hand tools even if the preliminary work was performed by machines.
This shows that the replacement value has to be estimated in a very circumspect
manner, remembering that architects often have problems when calculating the cost of
a modern project and that it would therefore be wise to allow for a suitable safety
margin. Otherwise the sum insured would be too low and underinsurance would be
applied in case of an accident. It is also suggested to involve the insurance company
selected as early as possible to make sure that all aspects are considered properly.
If the SI has been established in such a circumspect manner the problems with the
anticipated LE shrink as mentioned earlier. In such a case one would have to estimate
the loss as a percentage of the value of the building and in this connection experience
form similar, more modem buildings can be used.
This LE used for rating is the average loss but not the PML (possible maximum
loss) or MPL (maximum probable loss), that is damage which is invariably much
heavier than the one corresponding to the LE. On the other hand those planning to
insure such elements at risk should not arrive at a wrong conclusion, thinking that the
LE represents an upper limit of a loss to be expected.
For very "exotic" elements at risk, like a cathedral or a large old palatial building
it may be extremely difficult to calculate a correct sum insured. As the resulting
amount is bound to be very high and if protection against perils like earthquake;
windstorm, and fire is impossible or difficult, already the resulting rate for one single
peril and a single loss can be high.
In the case of elements at risk for which a "market value" is available which is
reasonably stable, for instance, for paintings of certain artists the sum insured may be
less a problem than the LE. If restoration is possible after substantial damage, for
instance, from an inundation, by fire, or because of vandalism the difficult part is to
estimate in advance the expenses required for repair. Another problem may be the loss
of value which can be substantial irrespective of an excellent restoration job.
If the price of paintings is, however, subject to unpredictable trends one will have
to fix the sum insured with great care and to readjust it annually at the time the
insurance cover is renewed.
The next parameter which is difficult to establish in most cases is the return period
(R) of an event causing a loss equal to the LE assumed. Here again statistical data are
scarce and what has been said earlier in this connection holds here as well.
Sometimes one will have to resort to estimates if no published data arc available
on event probability. To give an example one may wish to estimate the return period
or annual probability of damage by fire to a cathedral. As such elements at risk arc
often not insured and as insurers are not likely to have prepared statistics even if
churches are insured which is the case in only some countries one may proceed, for
instance, as follows.
We estimate that during the last 25 years 3 cathedrals north of the Alps sustained
substantial damage by fire. Assuming that there are approximately 100 cathedrals of
this class in this region we arrive at an observational sample of 2 500 cathedral-years.
Therefore the average return period for such accidents appears to be about 830 years.
Mathematically minded people may now plunge headlong into calculations selecting
this or that model, like Bayes theorem. Poisson. Weibull. or Gumbel HI. but
overlooking that the problem is not the mathematical model but the poor sample and
probably different damage parameters. The many "breathtaking" papers published, for
instance, in "Nature" after the Chernobyl disaster attest to such lack of understanding.
Mathematical genius alone will not suffice if those performing such "acrobatics" have
never seen a nuclear power plant, do not understand how the particular type functions
and have no extensive practical experience with damage analysis and parameters
influencing accident probability and extent of damage. The lesson here is that qualified
advice should be sought.
An observation period (sample) of 2 500 years may appear to be impressive but
the expert knows that it is the number of accidents which counts, that is which narrows
the error margin. Therefore before calculating probabilities and confidence ranges it is
better to try to improve the sample by hunting for more data. If eventually more data
are available which allows plotting LEs of different magnitude against the respective
return periods the graph obtained provides some insight into the quality of the sample.
A representative sample will nearly always produce a log-normal distribution for most
of its range except in the range of very large losses where an extreme value function
is found. The reasons for this cannot be explained in this brief paper.
The assessment of both LE and R are afflicted with an uncertainty (u) which can
be considerable. There is in general no reason to estimate two error margins or safety
factors, one for the LE and another one for R. One may as well assume a given LE,
e.g. 10 % or 25 % of the SI estimate the uncertainty of the return period correlated with
such a loss or vice versa. If statistical data have been compiled as described above one
may calculate the confidence range, e.g. for 95 % confidence and hence the uncertainty
factor. As a rule of thumb the uncertainty (u) will generally never be lower than a
factor of 2 in the field discussed here.
As insurers charge annual insurance premiums for the elements at risk discussed
in this paper the period of exposure is one year, i.e. P = 1.
The last parameter to be discussed is the factor covering overheads (f). In general
f is approximately 1.5.
Although natural perils are not the subject of this colloquium we shall include them
here to show their potential impact on the insurance rate. After all, the custodian
responsible, for instance, for a gothic cathedral or a museum built in this style and
housing a collection of valuable paintings will probably be interested in insuring the
whole range of perils and not just damage due to vandalism. As a matter of fact, it is
generally not possible to cover perils selectively.
Before starting with some examples it must stressed that it is possible within the
scope of this paper to present more than a very simplified version of a professional
The LE of a gothic cathedral or building of this style is assumed to be
approximately 30 % if the intensity of the shaking is MSK VIII. The return period for
such a very damaging intensity is taken as 1 000 years which corresponds
approximately to the seismicity along the Rhine Graben and its extension into the North
Sea If f = 1.5 and u = 2 and as the SI is 100 (we have estimated the LE in percent of
the SI) we can write:
X = 30 x 1.5 x 2 x 1 x 1 OOP = 0.9%o
100 x 1000
At this represents only the rate for one single earthquake intensity the actual rate
will be approximately two to three times higher to cover the damage from smaller and
more frequent intensivities and the substantially heavier damage from a higher but less
probable intensity. This holds mutatis mutandis for many of the other perils although
we will not repeat this.
Flood and inundation
It is assumed that the cathedral is located near to a river which produces heavy
floods once every approximately 100 years, e.g. the Arno in Italy. In fact most rivers
have similar characteristics. The LE to the building proper may not be grave, unless
a crypt is flooded or valuable mural paintings can be damaged, but the damage to
contents found close to ground level can be very grave. We assume an LE of only 3
% for the purpose of this example. If the other factors are as above the rate component
for a single flood would be about 0.9%o.
The windstorms experienced in northern Europe during recent years were not
particularly severe. This statement may come as a surprise to many but it must be
stressed that wind velocities in excess of 400 km/h have been measured in the northern
U.S.A. Such wind speeds arc possible also in Europe.
The forces resulting form wind velocities of 250 km/h and above can cause very
severe damage to the steeples of churches and to roofs and even some walls are liable
to collapse. In case of such an event the LE can be at least 25 %. If the return period
is 500 years and if the other factors are left unchanged the rate component for one
single event will be 1.5 %o
A larger fire, whether due to a "normal" cause or caused by arson, can be assumed
to cost approximately 30 % of the value. If the return period is calculated at about 830
years and if other parameters are left unchanged the rate component for this event is
Burglary and/or vandalism
The proper way to calculate this rale component would be to base it on the values
of the respective elements at risk and add the insurance premium calculated to those
obtained for the other perils. We shall, however, base our example on the SI of the
cathedral (100), as the other approach would require the estimation of sums representing
the SI of each clement at risk which is beyond the scope of this paper.
If the LE to be expected is only 1 % and if the return period of the event causing
such a loss is 50 years and leaving the other factors unchanged, the rale component
would be 0.6 %o.
The approach which has been described in brief does not only show how the
exposure can be rated for the purpose of insurance but also indicates where the main
general weaknesses are, for instance, uncertainties related to the loss expected, the sums
insured and with respect to the return periods. This helps to focus research on the most
Moreover, the method is of great help in pointing out which perils are most
prominent and - in consultation with experts - how the exposure can be reduced in an
economical way. It is mentioned in this connection that risk optimization is also
possible in relation to natural perils. In fact, measures which reduce the exposure to
earthquakes will in general also reduce the windstorm risk. It is obvious that any
efficient risk optimization will also influence the insurance rate in a positive way.
In all the field mentioned in this paper much remains to be done. The most
efficient manner to achieve results soon and economically is a coordinated broad-
spectrum approach employing the best expertise available.
Heritage under fire:
some problems in the protection of historic buildings from fire
The contents of this paper are based on the 1991 publication Heritage Under Fire
and on the forthcoming publication Fires in Historic Town Centres 2, both published
by the FPA. Fire threatens all buildings and its effects can be disastrous in both human
and economic terms. In the case of an historic building there is a further dimension -
the loss of property that forms part of a cultural resource which is finite, irreplaceable
and whose architectural and historical integrity can be destroyed as easily by
inappropriate fire precautions as by fire itself.
Fire can cause the total destruction of a building and its contents in only a few
hours; areas not directly damaged by flame or heat may be damaged by smoke, dirt and
falling debris or by the huge volumes of water used in fighting the fire. Following the
fire, the building may be structurally unstable, open to wind, weather and vandalism,
and susceptible to decay caused by the high residual moisture content in the fabric.
The fires at York Minster in 1984 and at Hampton Court Palace in 1986 brought
fires in historic buildings to the forefront of concern in the UK, but there have been a
succession of less well publicised disasters over the years. The recent tragic fires at the
Church of St. Mary at Hill in the City of London, at Uppark in Sussex and in the
historic town centre of Totnes emphasise yet again the vulnerability of historic buildings
and their contents to the effects of fire and its aftermath. As recently as August 1992,
a serious fire damaged a number of listed buildings in the historic centre of Canterbury.
Only determined and skilful efforts by Kent Fire and Rescue Service averted a major
conflagration. These disasters highlight the need for adequate and appropriate fire
One of the main intentions of this paper is to emphasise the need to balance fire
safety requirements with the special interests of our heritage and I hope to provide a
brief guide to the way in which government (local, regional and national), owners,
occupiers and managements of all types of historic buildings can help to ensure that our
heritage will remain for future generations.
The nature of fire
It is perhaps wise to pause briefly and review the broad principles of combustion
chemistry and physics.
This publication is a translation (with additional material) of "Brandschutz in der Aldstadt",
originally published by the Verband Der Sachversicherer, Cologne.
A fire occurs when a fuel (such as paper) is raised to its ignition temperature by
a source of heat (such as a match flame), in the presence of oxygen. Fires generate
large quantities of heat, flames and smoke which will spread rapidly to every part of
a building unless prompt action is taken to control the Tire.
The smoke and hot gases surge upwards, heating everything in their path. When
they reach a horizontal obstruction, such as a ceiling or roof, they spread out laterally
until they reach a wall. The smoke layer then continues to thicken unless it finds an
exit. Smoke, unless restricted by closed doors or other barriers will start to fill
staircases, lift shafts and, more particularly, smoke will discover any hidden cavities or
voids and appear in places far removed from the source of the fire. The flame front
following the rising column of gases will eventually ignite any combustible materials
in its path.
Fire can spread when heat is conducted through materials (such as steel) and also
by radiation when a heated surface can ignite materials some distance away. It should
be noted that even materials such as steel lose their strength when heated and will
eventually distort and perhaps collapse.
Fire spread occurs when hot combustion products move extensively through a
building. The most serious spread takes place when the smoke contains large quantities
of unburnt gases. When mixed with air these can ignite suddenly, creating an explosive
effect. When this takes place, all the combustibles in a room can ignite spontaneously.
The provision of fire and smoke ventilation reduces the speed at which a fire
spreads and helps those fighting it. Heat can be prevented from building up excessively
in roof spaces if fire ventilators with thermal latches arc incorporated. With care over
their siting and design, ventilators can frequently be incorporated unobtrusively.
Special problems of historic buildings
In the context of fire safety there are two particular areas where problems arise.
Firstly, the construction and form of historic buildings frequently incorporate features
which can assist in the rapid development and the spread of fire, for example, exposed
timber floor structures, walls lined internally with combustible materials such as wood
panelling, or externally with weather-boarding and roofs of shingles or thatch. Modern
buildings incorporate construclional arrangements (usually known as "passive" fire
protection) to control (he development and spread of fire and smoke, to protect escape
routes, and to prevent premature structural failure.
Such arrangements may be absent in historic buildings. There may be continuous
and interconnecting voids behind panelling and wall linings or undivided roof spaces
through which fire and smoke can spread quickly and undetected. Timbers built into
old chimney breasts or close to Hues can present further hazards. In addition, the fire
resistance of constructional elements (especially doors) can be adversely affected if they
arc in a poor stale of repair. Measures needed to improve fire resistance .should be
arranged according lo priority. Some may need to be taken immediately. Less
important ones may be delayed until there is a suitable opportunity. It may be possible
to enhance structural fire protection by increasing the fire resistance of elements, by
inserting fire stopping and by providing cavity barriers, without detriment to the fabric
of the building, during maintenance at small expense. One example of this is the
provision of cavity barriers in roof spaces. Frequently roof spaces are divided by
perforated cross walls beside chimney stacks. They can be made into cavity barriers
with little difficulty by the insertion of fire-stopping and fire-resisting doors. Where
such walls do not exist, roof spaces can be subdivided by fire resisting "blankets".
Another example is within floors where voids between joists may need to be fire-
stopped where they bear on partitions.
The form and layout of the building may increase the difficulty of evacuation or
hamper the fire brigade's rescue and fire fighting operations. Its location, which may
be remote, will affect the time taken for the fire brigade to attend and inadequate
supplies of water on site may cause further difficulties.
The second problem area concerns the measures adopted to provide the necessary
standards of safety, and the impact these have on sensitive architectural and historic
Many of the problems occur when the use of a building is changed: for example,
a country house converted to a school or a hotel, or a church turned into a dwelling or
used as a venue for entertainments.
Difficulties will often arise when additional staircases for means of escape are
required. The incongruity of fire precautions 'hardware1 such as exit notices,
emergency lighting, fire detection, warning and suppression equipment is another facet
of this problem. More serious still is the disturbance to historic fabric which occurs
when it is necessary to upgrade its fire safety characteristics. There may thus be a
conflict of interests between, on the one hand, the need to provide adequate fire safety
and, on the other, the need to preserve the architectural and historic character of the
In such cases a logical and systematic approach to the assessment of fire safety
requirements is needed to reveal alternative methods of achieving adequate, appropriate,
and cost-effective standards of fire safety.
What is important is that a proper risk assessment should be carried out before any
irrevocable steps are taken. This may well need specialist input and there are a variety
of organisations and professional practices who can help in this area.
To explain this concept, it might be useful to offer an example to show how the
risk assessment procedure can be used to decide how a particular generalised target can
be developed into specific objectives which can then be utilised into actual requirements
for work. Thus:
Improve fire safety measures
Upgrade fire safety measures on 1st floor
1. Fit door closers to all bedroom doors.
2. Fit 30 minute rated door to back stairs.
3. Install 2 x emergency lighting units.
4. Fix 'Fire Exit' signs as specified.
There is of course a need to differentiate between provisions for life safety and
those intended to protect property. Whilst standards of fire safety required for the
safety of the occupants of the building will generally help to reduce damage to property
in the event of a fire, additional measures may well be needed to minimize the potential
for loss in respect of the building and its contents.
When fire precautions involving alterations to the building cannot be avoided,
careful and sympathetic design is needed to minimise the impact these have on the
architectural and historic character of the building.
Where, in the UK. Listed Building ' Consent is required, owners or their advisers
must seek advice from their local authorities' conservation or historic buildings section.
Owners of unlisted buildings in Conservation areas should also refer to the local
authority (usually a District Council) planning department. This is essential, even where
work is specified in writing from the fire authority, usually a County Council.
The brigade, the fire authority and the law
In the UK, Fire authorities, usually County Councils have the power to obtain
information for fire-fighting purposes on buildings in their area. In the case of historic
buildings, inspections by fire crews can usually only be made to the larger or more
important buildings, but fire station commanders welcome invitations to visit premises.
This inspection is informal, but, in order to provide maximum benefit to the fire brigade
and to the occupier, it is desirable for the whole of the premises to be inspected, not
simply the public areas.
Fire brigade personnel should note the layout of the building and be briefed on any
items which arc particularly important and they will take the opportunity to establish
links with members of staff who may be able to assist them in the event of fire. Most
fire crews can quote examples of fires where the benefits gained from such routine
visits have led to saving of lives and property in the event of a subsequent fire. Fire
' In ItngUnd ami Walci. ccruin huildmgi of hulonc or architectural mehl can he formally 'luted'
by a government ••poniorcd body It then bccwnei • breach of law to change or demoliih the building.
authorities are also under an obligation (under the Fire Services Act 1947) to give
advice, when requested, on fire prevention and this advice is provided free of charge.
The fire safety legislation which applies to a particular historic building depends
on its use. As historic buildings may be used as hotels, schools, offices, shops,
residential care premises, or even factories, the relevant legislation which applies will
differ from case to case.
For example, a licence (which will take account of fire safety), under the Licensing
Act 1964, 1976, 1988 or the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982,
may be needed if the premises are put to commercial use involving the sale of alcohol
or provision of entertainment.
If the building is to be used as a hotel, office, shop or factory, then a fire certificate
will be required, unless the premises are exempt from the requirement. Even so, they
will still need to have adequate means of escape and fire-fighting equipment. Fire
certificates are required under the Fire Precautions Act 1971. They specify
requirements for means of escape, means for raising the alarm, and means for fighting
fires. They may also prescribe other fire safety requirements.
Even when premises are put to a use whereby no fire certificate is required, fire
authorities have powers to prohibit or restrict their use if they are of the opinion that
there will be a serious risk to persons in case of fire. These powers extend to any use
of premises other than as a single private dwelling (which does not require a fire
1993 will see the introduction of the most comprehensive piece of fire legislation
ever introduced into the UK. In order to implement the EC Place of Work Directive
and the Framework Directive, the Home Office will introduce The Fire Precautions
(Places of Work) Regulations 1992 which will probably be placed before Parliament in
November and come into effect on 1 April 1993 will eliminate many of the anomalies
and much of the confusion which presently exists.
From the effective date, all employers will have to:
carry out a fire hazard assessment of all workplaces;
draw up a plan (which must be in writing where more than five persons are
train all staff in the contents of the plan and in how to use fire fighting equipment;
u/addition, train certain staff in supervisory duties;
keep records of training;
provide a means of escape which must be available at all times;
provide exit signs and emergency lighting;
provide means for fighting fire;
provide means for giving warning in case of fire;
maintain all the above facilities and keep records of such maintenance;
take steps to ensure that contractors or other persons carrying out work on the
premises do not start fires;
hold regular fire drills.
Clearly, there will be an impact on a wide range of historic premises to which no
specific legislation currently applies. The only relevant exemptions are granted to single
It is not difficult to foresee problems with listed buildings used by schools
(particularly boarding schools), universities, institutions, religious groups and care
premises. In addition, for all premises built or converted on or after the commencement
date, higher levels of structural fire protection and fixed fire equipment (than currently
exist) may have to be provided. This will be introduced for existing premises on 1
The specific requirements will vary from building to building depending on the
hazard assessment but it will almost certainly mean that all premises where there is a
sleeping risk (hotels, hospitals, care premises) will require full automatic fire detection
systems as well as higher levels of protection to escape routes.
Legislation relating specifically to Historic Buildings
Most historic buildings in England and Wales are statutorily listed under the Town
and Country Planning Acts and any alterations, external or internal, affecting their
character as buildings of special interest, which may include those necessary or
desirable to improve fire safely, must be the subject of an application for Listed
Building Consent to the local planning authority.
Applications affecting Grade I and Grade II* buildings must be notified by the
authority to English Heritage and may not be approved without concurrence of the
Secretary of State for the Environment. (Similar arrangements exist in Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland).
Informal advice is usually available from the local planning authority's
Conservation Officer or Historic Buildings Adviser and from officers of English
Heritage direct in the case of higher-grade listed buildings.
In addition to Planning and Listed Building controls, alterations and changes of use
may be subject to the Building Regulations and advice should be sought from the local
authority's building control department.
Although most of the advice and information contained in this text applies
throughout the United Kingdom, legislation relating to historic buildings obviously
differs as do the bodies charged with enforcing such legislation.
The legal position of premises owned or occupied by the Crown differs, in some
circumstances, from that described earlier in this chapter. Advice can be obtained from
the Central or Local Government Departments responsible for the legislation, or where
appropriate from the Property Holdings Branch of the Department of the Environment.
Causes of fires
Malicious fire raising (by vandals, disgruntled employees, thieves or even by
visitors) is one of the leading causes of fire in buildings. As historic buildings are often
chosen as targets by arsonists, the dangers of arson (and consequent need for
precautionary measures) cannot be overstated.
A high standard of physical security is required to prevent unauthorized entry into
Electrical faults are a common cause of fire in all buildings and the likelihood of
a fault occurring increases with the age of the installation. Danger signs include:
obsolete or damaged plugs and sockets, switches and fuse boxes; overloaded sockets;
rubber-insulated or lead-covered wiring; worn flex; taped connections; timber channels
Electrical installations should be inspected and tested, ideally, every two years, by
a qualified electrician, who should carry out any necessary repairs or rewiring. All
electrical inspections should be clearly recorded in a log book.
It is worth noting that if re-wiring is being undertaken, this can be a convenient
time to undertake additional passive fire protection measures such as fire-stopping.
Sufficient sockets should be provided so that appliances do not need excessively
long flexes and at the same time this will ensure that there is no need for 'adaptors'
allowing more than one appliance to be connected to a socket. Overloading of sockets
should be avoided at all costs. The electricity supply should be disconnected to sections
of the building which are not in use. (This, of course, does not apply to intruder alarms
or fire detection systems).
The existence and enforcement of non-smoking policies must be made known to
all visitors and contractors and included in contract documents. Carelessly discarded
smoking materials are one of the main causes of fire, particularly in living
accommodation. Whenever practicable, and this will depend on the use to which the
building is put, smoking should be banned and this fact should be made known to
visitors. Consideration should be given to the need for "no smoking" signs and ashtrays
at entrances to buildings. If smoking is permitted, it should, if at all possible, be
restricted to specific areas and strict attention should be exercised under careful control.
There are a large number of cases on record of serious fires in historic buildings
being caused by the careless actions of building contractors.
A stringent prohibition procedure must be operated before commencement of any
hot work, with 'permit' procedures stated clearly in writing for any relaxations.
Assignment of responsibility to a named member of staff for enforcement of the permit
system is essential. In the latter case, the arrangements must include the provision of
any additional fire-fighting equipment together with implementation of other necessary
fire precautions. Competent monitoring of the possible spread of fire during the whole
period such tools or equipment are in use, and for a period not less than two hours after
cessation of such use is essential. Due regard to weather conditions, in particular wind
speed and direction, must be paid.
Examples of fires started by contractors include:
woodwork ignited by lighted blowlamp being used carelessly for removing
woodwork ignited by primus stove;
woodwork surrounding fireplace ignited by burning rubbish;
flammable vapours from adhesives ignited by pilot light;
sparks from oxy-acetylene cutting equipment fell down shaft and ignited waste;
faulty electric lead to lamp ignited roof timbers;
workmen set light to roof timbers whilst relaying lead, burning/welding in relaying
woodwork ignited by electric paint stripper;
ignition of flammable vapours from solvents in pesticides used as a spray treatment
for insects or decay causing fire in timbers.
Occupiers must be fully aware of the vulnerability of an historic building to
damage by fire during the course of repair or conversion work and all possible
precautions should be taken while the work is in progress.
These precautions include (as necessary):
initial consultations with architect, surveyor, local planning authority and insurer.
This should include clear allocation of responsibilities for issue and receipt of the
hot work pennils;
non-flammable solvent-type paint stripper should be used wherever possible (in
preference to the use of blowlamps or electric hot air blowers):
when work with a blowlamp is essential this work should cease at least one hour
before the end of the working day. Thorough checks for smouldering fires should
be made during the next 2 hours;
regular checks of the work place by senior personnel;
combustible material in the vicinity of any work should be removed. If this is not
possible, it should be protected;
at least two fire extinguishers of the right type should be provided close at hand
during these operations;
if it is essential to use oxy-acetylene or LPG-powered equipment, this should be
secured to a wheeled trolley stored out of doors when not in use;
special care is required when work involves hot bitumen or similar material;
if work makes it necessary to block corridors, stairways and exits forming a means
of escape, then an adequate alternative must be provided and signposted;
ensure that access to fire-fighting facilities, such as fire extinguishers, hoses,
hydrants and emergency water tanks, are not obstructed by building materials,
equipment and scaffolding;
the work of the contractor should be carefully supervised by a responsible member
of staff who has the authority to dictate the fire precautions which will be taken,
ensure work is not carried out carelessly and operate the fire-fighting equipment;
permit to work system;
all contractor personnel must be conversant with the method of raising the alarm
in the event of a fire and locations of telephones or other equipment for calling the
hot work permits should also take into account the presence of fire detection
equipment and the possibility of false alarms.
It is strongly recommended that, whenever structural conditions permit, historic
buildings should be heated by means of modern central heating systems using gas or
oil-fired boilers. Prior to making any decisions about changing heating systems,
insurers should be consulted and specialist advice obtained.
Central heating systems should be installed in accordance with the relevant British
The presence of water may cause a hazard to the fabric of buildings and it is
essential that a high standard of maintenance is carried out by qualified and competent
The slow combustion stove can be an attractive form of heating but certain
precautions must be taken:
flammable liquids should not be used to kindle the fire. A gas poker should be
used if possible;
green or unseasoned wood makes chimney fires more likely - from tar and other
Portable heaters using paraffin oil or liquefied petroleum gas are a serious fire
hazard, and their use is to be avoided. If portable heaters are unavoidable and essential,
they should be of (he electrical convection type suitably installed and properly
Chimneys and flues
Fireplaces in historic houses are often beautiful structures forming an intrinsic part
of the house's design. Over the years however their flues may have become fire
hazards. Open fires are not to be recommended but if they are to be used, the
following points should be considered:
where flues have become defective as a result of decayed pargeting or brickwork,
these deficiencies may permit heat to pass into the roof spaces or floor voids and ignite
the timbers. Floor or ceiling joists may be built into the chimney's structure and timber
subjected to continuous heat in this way may smoulder and even burst into flames.
specialist advice should be sought on the condition of chimneys and consideration
given to the installation of Hue liners before the chimneys are re-used. If in day-to-day
use, they should be swept regularly, at least twice a year if wood is burnt.
sparkguards should be fated.
Do not overlook the fact that 'domestic' fires can occur in historic buildings.
Most cooking fires occur during frying processes. Other causes of fires include
clogged grease fillers or hoods and improperly maintained fuse or fittings. It is
essential to ensure that the spaces around cookers are kept clean and free of grease.
Ductwork should also be regularly inspected and cleaned frequently. Care should be
taken to ensure that an appropriate type of fire extinguisher is available. Powder, foam
or carbon dioxide are all acceptable for this purpose. Fire blankets should be available
in all kitchens.
Historically, churches have been prone to damage from lightning strike and
consideration should be given to protecting all historic buildings against this possibility.
The supply and installation of lightning protection equipment ('lightning arrestors' or
'rods') is a subject for specialist advice and individual considerations applied to the
design of the method of protection.
Lightning protection should be provided in accordance with established standards,
for example BS 6651: 1985: Code of practice for protection of structures against
lightning, or other well established principles.
Consideration should also be given to the possible effects of lightning strike
through TV aerials or dishes. It should be emphasised that a poorly installed or
maintained lighting protection system poses dangers to both people and the building.
Regular maintenance by a specialist engineer is essential.
The fire load
Furnishings and fittings
The amount and quality of furniture and furnishings in an historic building will
vary enormously. Some historic buildings are magnificently furnished in their original
style and contain priceless works of art, while others contain little in the way of
furnishings; most, of course, will contain some modern furniture and fittings.
In the past, furnishings were made from natural materials such as cotton, wool,
wood, felt, horsehair and canvas. These materials can be difficult to ignite and burn
less briskly than synthetics.
Most modern upholstered furniture contains polyurethane foam. Standard
polyurethane foam furniture is readily ignited by a lighted match and burns fiercely,
producing large quantities of dense, toxic smoke.
In the UK, from November 1988 the use of standard polyurethane foam in new
furniture sold for domestic use was banned and only combustion-modified foam
permitted. However, while this type of foam is more difficult to ignite, it will still burn
freely with the emission of dense, toxic smoke once alight.
Escape routes should not contain furniture but where it is unavoidable it should be
of the type containing the fire-resistant foam.
Timber in construction
Large amounts of timber have been used in the construction of many historic
Floors are nearly always constructed of timber and the cavities between floorboards
and ceilings are occasionally packed with insulating material. In addition, parts of older
structures may have been dried out by constant heating.
Timber is a readily combustible material, although solid wood beams generally
cannot be ignited by small ignition sources. Once ignited by a larger ignition source,
wood burns rapidly and can produce large quantities of smoke.
As timber chars it tends to form a layer of charcoal on the burnt surface. This
layer will often partly insulate the unburnt material. Therefore large timber sections
may possibly continue to carry their load even when badly charred.
Even a fairly large timber can be ignited by a small ignition source when the
surface has been made friable by decay or insect attack.
The combustibility of timber is often temporarily increased by the need to treat
wood to protect it from rot and infestation. While such treatment can be carried out
using water-based solvents, many of the other liquids used are often highly flammable.
Any source of ignition should be removed from the area, and care should be taken when
spraying in the vicinity of electrical junction boxes. Timber treated in this way gives
off a vapour which is highly susceptible to fire for about a week after the application.
Adequate ventilation of any treated area is therefore required until drying is completed.
Particular attention should be paid to the adequate ventilation of voids and all normal
precautions and inspections increased during this period, and immediately after the work
has been completed.
Oil. petrol, butane, propane used as a fuel for heating, cooking and lighting
installations or to power electricity generators are relatively easy to ignite and can
quickly become involved in a serious Tire. Such fuels should therefore be stored under
specified safe conditions.
All fuels (including coal and logs) must be stored away from buildings. Some
authorities on historic buildings suggest that all fuel must be kept outside the buildings.
Rubbish should not be allowed to accumulate in the building. Particular attention
should be paid to areas such as boiler rooms, cellars, roof spaces and empty rooms.
All rubbish should be placed in metal bins with close-fitting metal lids, out of
doors. This particularly applies to oil- or polish-soaked rags. (Such rags can be
involved in spontaneous combustion.)
Rubbish should be disposed of without burning, but if this is unavoidable an
incinerator must be used. Bonfires should only be used if sited at least SO metres from
Ashes and clinker from boilers should be damped down, placed in metal containers
and removed each day to a safe place.
Ashes from coal and wood fires should be removed immediately from within a
building, being carried in a closed, metal container.
Concealed spaces and roof cavities should be inspected regularly to remove
combustible materials such as birds nests, rubbish and builders waste.
In no circumstances should aerosols, empty solvent containers or empty gas
cylinders be disposed of by burning.
All plant and equipment rooms should only contain equipment appropriate to that
use and should not be used for storage.
Straw or reed thatched roofs are found on many cottages, public houses and farm
buildings (Indeed, in one Cambridgeshire village, there is a thatched bank!). While the
average thickness of thatch is from 300 mm to 400 mm, far greater thicknesses may be
present on very old buildings.
Straw can be ignited by sparks from a chimney or bonfire or by the heat from
faulty electric wiring, particularly in very dry weather.
Flame retardant treatments for thatch are available, but may have to be renewed
annually to remain effective. The chemicals used may encourage decay.
Other precautions include:
fitting spark arrestors in the chimney pots;
separating the straw from the chimney's tack with heavy-gauge aluminium foil;
using quick-release wire netting to hold the thatch in place, so that the netting can
be removed quickly in an emergency in order to get at smouldering straw;
trap hatches (for the dwelling below) should be provided to allow easy access to
the underside of thatching;
fitting a simple sparge pipe (suitably concealed in the ridge) connected to an inlet
at ground level to which the fire brigade can connect a suitable pumped water
In this short paper, it has been impossible to do any more than skate over the
surface of a subject which, to do it justice, should be the focus of a complete
conference rather than just one day.
Given the inevitable pressure of new regulations and the need to find new uses for
old buildings, it is clear that a new approach to providing adequate and realistic levels
of fire safety in heritage buildings is essential.
The partnership approach, involving owner, architect/contractor, regulator and fire
authority is the only way this is ever going to succeed and the adoption of the fire
engineering techniques means that it is essential that local authority planners and
building control staff will have to acquire yet another range of skills and knowledge if
they are to ensure that all the interests are properly served.
The Fire Protection Association
140 Aldersgate Street
LONDON EC1A 4HX
Tel: (44) 71-606-3757
Fax: (44) 71-600-1487
The action plan • historic buildings
Make one named person responsible for fire safety
In any occupancy, whatever its si/,c, a named individual of senior grade must be
made responsible for fire safety. In many locations this job may be combined with
health and safety or with security.
Assess the risk
In any premises there is no way that fire safety can be considered if the risks, in
their totality, have not been considered first. Look at the building and what goes on
within it. Set down in writing: the possible starting points for fire, weaknesses in the
structure, scope for a small fire to spread, the way people could be trapped and killed,
and the possible extent of loss both direct and as a result of temporary closure.
Consider all the 'key' areas and equipment that could be affected (and brought to a
halt) by a fire and by fire-fighting operations. Insurers and the fire brigade can help in
this risk analysis. The first effective steps towards preventing fires cannot be taken
until the possible sources of ignition and potential damage have been appraised in this
Draw up a plan
When the risks have been identified, an action plan needs to be established in the
same way as for any other operation. Key members of staff need to be identified and
liaise with the fire-safety manager to confirm their roles.
Action should also be taken to mitigate the effects of a fire from a commercial
viewpoint. Vital records, for example, should be kept in a separate location or building.
Salvage companies and building contractors should be identified in advance and an
emergency list of contacts prepared.
Make sure you comply with the law
Most buildings and premises are subject to whatever statutory fire safety
requirements are relevant in your area This includes specific regulations for the type
of use to which the historic building is being put as well as more general regulations
which may be imposed by regional or local authorities. Certain other uses involving
public entertainments or sale of alcohol may require a licence which may impose fire
However, it is important to bear in mind that most legal requirements relating to
fire safety are intended to protect people and not property, management's approach
should be to aim for higher standards not just to achieve the minimum required by law.
Regulations, however, are rarely framed with the special problems of historic
buildings in mind and are capable of a wide variety of interpretations, so while the
principles should always be respected, authorities should be flexible in their application.
Alternative solutions should be evaluated.
Establish the basic procedures to be followed in the event of a fire
Every fire safety plan has to begin with the procedure to be followed in the event
of a fire and clearly understood by all who may be on the premises. The procedure will
set out, step by step, what must happen if a fire occurs when the building is occupied,
including the method of raising the alarm, method for alerting those in the premises
taking early action to limit damage, and the allocation of responsibilities to all
concerned. Do not forget those who use the premises outside normal working hours.
Ensure that staff are familiar with fire safety procedures
All staff need to know from their first day at work, how to raise the fire alarm on
discovering a fire and exactly what they should do if they hear the fire alarm. Training
regarding the use of fire extinguishers should be given as early as possible. Staff
should be acquainted with all fire exits that they are likely to have to use and know
where and to whom they should report. Records of training should be kept. Fire drills
should take place at regular intervals and at least twice a year. Do not forget contract
workers and visitors.
Make the building safe from the spread of fire
Much can be done (at little cost) to prevent horizontal and vertical spread of fire
e.g. by ensuring that fire doors separating one area from another are closed. Lining
materials that support combustion can be replaced covered, coated or undersheathed by
materials which do not. Partitions which provide smaller compartments or which
enclose potentially dangerous processes where fires may start, or key equipment
specially vulnerable to fire damage, should be considered. Bearing in mind the very
high incidence of arson, the building needs also to be made as secure as possible against
Consider also whether your building is vulnerable to fire spread from elsewhere;
ensure that rubbish is placed in closed, non-combustible containers.
Install appropriate fire protection equipment
Portable extinguishers and hose-reels for use by people on the spot need to be
considered as part of an overall package. Buildings are frequently unoccupied or parts
of them infrequently visited. The use of an automatic fire detection and alarm system
could mean the difference between a small fire and a major disaster. The installation
of a fire protection system which will not only sound an alarm but will automatically
fight the fire is a further advance in fire safety protection. After installation, regular
maintenance and inspection programmes must be carried out by a reputable contractor.
Prevent a fire happening at all
To achieve this, each potential ignition source requires a set of regulations to
minimize the risk of a fire starting. Each piece of electrical equipment will therefore
need to be inspected regularly to ensure that electrical cables have not been chafed.
Areas where smoking is pennitted will need to be identified and checked prior to the
premises being vacated at night. Heating appliances will need regular maintenance and
checks should be made lo ensure that piles of paper and other combustible materials are
not stacked upon or uguinsl neuter cabinets.
Outside contractors cause many fires and building workers need to be specially
instructed and supervised using a permit to work system.
Checks last thing at night or when the premises are shut-down at weekends or for
annual holidays are a vital part of the safety programme. Periodic safety audits will
ensure that safely systems are properly maintained.
At least every five years there should be a meeting of the owner or manager
together with his insurer, the architect, service engineer, a fire engineer, with possibly
a fire detection equipment supplier, the fire prevention officer and a security expert.
Together they should review every aspect of fire protection in the building and
undertake a full fire audit.
Train the staff
While every possible effort must be made to prevent a fire starting, the most
important single step is to educate and train staff as to the danger of fire, the threat it
presents to life and their jobs, the simple ways to prevent fire occurring, and to react
correctly should a fire occur. This has to be a constant process - not just a fire-drill
once a year. If staff are motivated to be fire safety minded the chances are that fires
will not happen - and if they do the people discovering them will more certainly deal
with them effectively and quickly.
Protection from fire
I am very pleased to see that the fire brigade has also been invited here today.
It is a fact that fire brigades are not always looked upon as monument minded
people. On the contrary, their contribution is often judged with a certain anxiety. One
often prefers not to listen to their advice. Such an attitude has its reasons.
This lack of contact with fire authorities and insurers has to be admitted. On the
other hand however, there is also the lack of knowledge on the part of historians,
architects, monuments preservation personnel, and policy makers. Indeed, there is little
knowledge of how to fit fire prevention measures into old buildings or valuable
interiors. First, therefore, I would this colloquium to contribute to a significant
rapprochement of both parties. After all, they are both striving for the same aim: the
conservation of the historical and cultural heritage.
I could of course, as an engineer-architect, offer my opinions about adequate
protective measures, but I will deal, within the scope of this lecture and as a fire
brigade officer, with the aspect of intervention problems with regard to monuments.
First, however, I would like to refer to the lecture of my engineer colleague,
Mr Van Baelen. When one is dealing with protection from fire, an integrated approach
is a "conditio sine qua non".
Fire protection should fit within an explicit global fire protection plan that also
provides concept planning (accessibility, location, evacuation, fire resistance, etc.), with
indications having regard to the management (periodic checks, occupation regulations)
and especially to the damage resulting from fire and the inevitable fire-fighting
Whilst conception, maintenance, and occupation regulations are customary in
current safety minded policy, it is also unmistakable that damage planning for
monuments is an essential pillar in a sound security system.
In the past it has regrettably been concluded that there were no adequate evacuation
facilities for artistic contents (paintings, sculpture, etc.) or that no precautions had been
taken to drain the water or even that an emergency roof was not replaced for 20 years.
Therefore, I hope that you will situate my lecture within a global thinking principle and
not take it as a compilation of a number of separate ideas.
Interventions in historic surroundings and buildings are creating increasingly serious
problems for the fire brigades. We just have to consider the following:
the high building density, which easily leads to flames spreading from one
building to another;
the dense network of narrow streets and alleys, which are not adapted to the
modem mobility standards and so hampering accessibility during interventions:
increasing traffic, parking inconvenience, etc;
increasing tourist attractiveness, which, because of the massive onrush of
people during events, render areas with enjoyable historical elements
inaccessible to emergency services: fairs, outdoor concerts, parades, etc;
the previously obvious and recognizable building structures have become
even more complex as renovation tends to create more horizontal and vertical
space: buildings are horizontally connected (level differences), vertical
connections are fitted in (empty spaces, elevator shafts, duplex-apartments,
simultaneous and intensive building activities, modification of streets and
squares, which force emergency services to make detours;
the public water supply is totally insufficient in the neighbourhood of old
buildings (diameters too small), so that water for fighting fire is always a
All these factors seriously hamper the fire brigades during their interventions.
Because of their specific nature. I want 10 discuss them in more detail.
Accessibility (phase 1)
One of the most important matters with regard to fire security of monuments is the
accessibility of old buildings. In this respect, fire brigade officers have different
opinions than public administrators. At present, there is a clear tendency on the part
of the authorities to opt for speed inhibiting solutions such as residential areas,
breakable bollards, street narrowing, and the like.
Fire brigade vehicles, however, have to be able to rush to a fire. This is first
paradox in safety-minded thinking. In one respect, one tries to minimize traffic victims
by reducing speeds, but. on (he other hand, one increases intervention time and thus also
the risks of tardy assistance. It would be advisable for fire brigades to be involved in
official consultations with regard to urban planning, traffic planning, parking problems,
and so on.
Furthermore, the purchasers of fire brigade vehicles should consider the use of
adapted vehicles that are more manoeuvrable thus being capable to turn out in shorter
time spans: ladder vehicles equipped with a high pressure pump, lighter pump vehicles,
and the like.
Accessibility to historic buildings or buildings in historic surroundings
unmistakably is certainly one of the major problems. City planners and policy makers
should always bear this important aspect in mind.
Situation (phase 2)
The situation of most of the monuments causes a lot of problems to the fire
brigades once they have arrived. Either monumental buildings are isolated from others
(far from streets, on stairways, in a park, etc.) in such a way that fire extinguishing
equipment can't be used, or they are integrated in such a way in building blocks that
they can only be reached from the front or through a gate.
Their situation hinders efficient intervention in both cases. Valuable manpower has
then to be put into the fire fighting action in order to carry ladders, fire-hoses,
respirators over large distances. When that kind of situation compromises the fire
brigade's intervention, it is necessary to increase the internal fire security of the
One might consider an early warning system, architectural modifications with
regard to the fire resistance, sprinkler systems, and so on.
Accessibility to the buildings itself (phase 3)
In addition to the difficulties I have just mentioned, emergency services are
frequently faced with a second paradox in the safety-minded thinking.
More and more monuments are being rendered burglarproof, which makes it
difficult to enter them in the event of a fire. The access to a building is an even more
essential factors for the well-balanced security of a monument than the delay caused by
possible traffic obstructions.
In my opinion, technicians could easily anticipate these problems. When dealing
with fire security issues, electronic detection systems turn out to be the most installed
in monuments. By connecting a warning system to electronic unlocking of the access
doors, a simple compromise between burglar and fire security system is achieved. That
such a solution is not being applied is just a typical example of a non-integrated security
methodology. After all, burglar security systems constitute another matter and have
hitherto not been related to fire security problems.
With regard to very important monuments or buildings containing valuable objects,
one might also consider by-passing this automatic unlocking by means of a manual
operation from the fire station via a lock operated by telephone.
One could even opt for a double combined unlocking system. The first lock being
operated by the detection system that also warns the emergency services. On arrival,
the fire officer in charge requests the fire control centre to open the second lock. This
system is already used in Antwerp at the Rubens Museum and the Opera. The keys of
the inner doors should be kept in a fire proof safe that is to be opened in a similar way.
Any other system that requires handing the keys over to the emergency services
or that uses master-keys cannot be justified and is therefore unacceptable. This would
lead to management problems that interfere with fail-safe security.
Internal circulation (phase 4)
Once in the building, the Fire brigade is often confronted with narrow stairways or
spiral stairs leading to higher floors, attics, or cellars. This poor vertical circulation can
only be rectified by installing external fire escapes that are used not for evacuation but
for the easy passage of the emergency services. The situation at the Antwerp church
St. Jacob shows that this can be carried out in a discrete way.
Attics with arches create other critical problems with regard to the horizontal
circulation. This renders it almost impossible to move forward to the seat of the fire,
which can be at a distance of over 70 m in larger attics. The presence of such fire
escapes equipped with solid hand rails is essential. Note that these hand rails can easily
be combined with dry fire extinguishing conduits.
Most monuments suffer from another historical heritage: a poor water supply. The
public water supply has historically been installed to provide drinking-water and not to
deliver large quantities of extinguishing water.
Especially older parts of towns or remote areas (typical locations where monuments
can mainly be found) have to contend with a poor water supply: small diameters (4» 80
and reduced due to calcification), low pressures on the end of the network, few if any
hydrants spaced at loo large intervals. It goes without saying that such equipment is
insufficient to fight "monumental" fires.
In this respect, buildings of a specific historical interest should have their own
water reserves. The Antwerp city hall, for instance, has 2 reservoirs each with a
content of 100 m3.
Even if it seems thai water reserves arc sufficient, one should still give special
attention to the internal fire extinguishing equipments when dealing with the vast spaces
of structures like monasteries, churches, and industrial archaeology sites. I have in
mind here a fixed network of fire extinguishing pipes, be it dry conduits with wall
hydrants or grid patterns of sprinkler heads.
A dry conduit network with hydrants is always chosen for in the Antwerp churches
within the scope of safety works. In the Netherlands, however, automatic fire
extinguishing equipment is routinely installed.
In any event, one should always consider a network that has at least 2 independent
water supplies making it possible to continue to fight fires even if one collapses or fails.
A second starting-point is the subdivision into sections by means of cut-off valves,
which makes it possible to use the remaining water supply in the event of pipe rupture
(collapse, melting, explosion, etc.).
As I pointed out earlier, the fire department suggests installing fire escapes in
spaces offering little access possibilities (such as attics with arches). These fire escapes
could have hand rails that are dry conduits to the hydrants. This offers a good guidance
and at the same time a reliable water supply.
In any event, a hydraulic diagram indicating all supply points, cut-off valves,
hydrants, hose reels, etc. has to be on hand in the monument. This diagram should
preferably be kept in the key locker near the main entrance.
It is also important that fire fighters become aware that fire fighting in old
buildings has very specific demands. However, it is regrettable to find that fire brigades
paying little attention to monuments.
First, extra attention should be paid to a certain structural knowledge of old
constructions. An example: it was believed in the 19th century that buildings built out
of non-combustible materials would be fire safe. These buildings were designated as
"fire-proof. Nowadays, however, there is an awareness that materials such as steel,
cast iron or stone (marble, limestone or granite) don't have any fire resistance.
Second, one has to be aware that fires in historic buildings (with their contents)
require adequate extinguishing methods. For instance, computer fires are extinguished
with carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons with foam, metal fires with special D-powders, so,
the extinguishing means in monuments should also, in my opinion, be used in their
proper context. Bearing in mind that microscopic powders may cause serious damage
and, as far as fire extinguishers are concerned, priority should be given to carbon
dioxide and a few additional powder extinguishers.
The use of water should be kept to a minimum. One possibility consist in
increasing the pressure thus obtaining better extinguishing results with less water. This
means that medium or high pressure hoses should be chosen with regard to valuable
Third, emergency services are trained to carry out rescue operations and evacuation
of persons, which of course is essential. They are, however, never trained to evacuate
valuable contents with discernment. Too often, these operations are improvised and
carried out by firemen with the best of intentions and with the help of volunteers.
There almost are no procedures or techniques known to fire brigades that cover the
evacuation of valuable contents. Nevertheless, it has to be mentioned that monument
administrators have taken important steps to organize a well regulated and prepared
damage planning. An introduction to "disaster planning for museums" took place
during the most recent conference of the Dutch Central Laboratory for Research of Art
and Science Objects (Amsterdam, May 13th, 1992). It constitutes an important
document for heritage administrators and provides a clear impetus that shows that the
emergency services too should put a great deal of effort into "safeguarding'' valuables,
although it must be clear that the "safety" of persons remains the absolute top priority.
Alarm and reporting
Another weak link with regard to interventions is the slow start of post-incident
In this respect I plead for the introduction of a reporting obligation on the part
of emergency services when they are confronted with a preserved monument (marked
with a logo). In such cases, the person in charge of the first emergency group has to
report this to his dispatching service, which reports the event to a central office that
centralizes the surveillance of monuments.
The procedure for requesting the presence of officials, salvage teams, experts, etc.
on site can then be started much more rapidly. This is a rather simple operation, but
it yields very substantial time gain in the global approach to damage control. Perhaps,
but this is only a suggestion, such reporting could be linked to the system of urgent
conservation projects, which can already benefit from a possible emergency procedure
but which would (hen come under a disaster emergency procedure.
In addition to reacting to incidents, the fire department is also concerned with
prevention. Although beyond the scope of my present subject, the organizer has given
me permission to present what, in my opinion, is the fundamental problem in protecting
monuments from fire.
The application of modern fire-safely norms indeed docs require substantial,
fundamental, and mutilating adaptations. This means that fire safety is one of the main
factors that makes an application of the Charter of Venice impossible in practice: many
monuments cannot be given a new function because the application of rigid
contemporary norms requires unacceptable adaptations.
In the past, legislatures made several attempts to integrate or not integrate existing
buildings into the laws and regulations regarding fire protection. Nevertheless. I am of
the opinion that the solution is neither the exclusion of certain kinds of buildings such
as museums, churches, and libraries (which are often classified as protected monuments)
nor the relaxing of the requirements for existing buildings.
Therefore, I here want to state that buildings with a cultural and historical value
are entitled to a specific approach to protection against fire. In my opinion, listed
monuments should have a general exemption from the prevailing fire-safety regulations.
Therefore, too, it seems appropriate to me that the protection of such buildings
would be determined on a case by case basis by a team of experts from the world of
fire departments and monument conservation who are certified by the authorities. I am
even convinced that these "monument-exemption" experts should function under the
auspices of the Council of Europe, since the acquisition of experience in this area is
difficult within city, regional, or national borders.
Only in this way can an acceptable compromise be reached between safety of
users, protection of property, and historical quality be achieved.
Salvage and restoration following a fire
Salvage and art treasures
Salvage, i.e. rescue, assistance, and restoration following a fire, is a familiar
concept in the Netherlands, especially in the fields of fire fighting and insurance. How
has this come about?
In 1987, after a one-year trial period, "salvage" went ahead with the aim, on behalf
of the fire insurers, of providing nation-wide assistance after a fire. Continuous
availability was an essential requirement; "salvage" had to be available 7 days a week,
24 hours a day, and a salvage co-ordinator had to be available and be on site within 60
minutes of the call. In the Netherlands, this involves an arrangement of 16 salvage
sectors; at present, about 200 salvage units can be deployed very promptly.
Salvage applies only after a fire; the reports are passed on to the salvage VHD-
emergency centre, via the person in command and the radio room. Salvage operations
are then initiated, co-ordinated, and recorded and final settlement of all salvage
operation efforts is completed with the insurance companies (several companies are
What is unique about the Netherlands however, is the fact that all fire insurers take
part in "salvage". This is essential if assistance is to work at an optimum. The great
advantage of this comprehensive participation is that, directly after the fire brigade has
brought in "salvage", immediate assistance can be initiated, without the need to check
whether there is insurance coverage, and, if so, which company.
In many cases, contents and buildings are insured with several insurance
companies. This means that, in the Netherlands, in collaboration with the organisations
directly involved such as the Stickling Salvage [Salvage Foundation], VHD-emergency
centre, coordinators, and companies recognised by the Stichting Salvage, assistance can
be optimised and the method of approach adapted to each individual case.
This brings us to today's topic.
How can "salvage" make the greatest contribution towards the conservation of
historic monuments and objects, both in terms of prevention and during restoration
Experience has shown that in the event of fire and/or flooding of historic objects,
the fire brigade and salvage co-ordinators carry out salvage operations relatively quickly
but haphazardly, with the possible result that, owing to a lack of relevant information,
less valuable treasures are rescued. Indeed, the items first seen are those first brought
to safety, resulting in more valuable items being lost.
I would like to refer you to the video presentation in the hall, where a practical
example of a salvage operation can be seen at the end of the video film.
If we, as a nation, want to protect our art treasures in a systematic manner then
more is required. This is something "salvage" recognises. Great improvements can still
be made in collaboration with local and national authorities.
If a salvage operation is to work optimally, the correct information must be at the
disposal of all those directly and indirectly involved. Here, information,
communication, and organisation are key-words.
a. Information: the manager will have to ensure that information regarding object,
location, identification, and priority has been recorded. This also applies to floor
plans, routing, and possible salvage areas.
b. Communication: who informs whom, about what, and when. This applies to
prevention as well as in the event of disaster.
c. Organisation: on the one hand, updating and keeping information, on the other,
regulating communication regarding information in the event of a salvage
operation. This applies to managers/curators as well as to the VHD-emergency
This might seem self-evident to you and me but it still does not appear to be so in
practice. The opportunities are there, however.
In the Netherlands the VHD-emergency centre is a unique communication centre,
where the fire-brigade reports are received and deployment of salvage co-ordinators and
initiation of salvage assistance are organised. Upon the coordinator's arrival on site
and, after a brief investigation, upon the implementation of a plan of action, professional
assistance is summoned via the VHD-emergency centre. Progress is co-ordinated and
Of the order of 70% of all salvage operations occur outside office-hours. Third
party assistance is. therefore, called upon in the evenings and at night. Obviously, the
greater the amount of information available to the insurers' emergency services, the
greater the effectiveness of the salvage operation.
A perfect situation would be if the VHD-emergency centre had at its disposal all
the relevant data regarding historic objects. Information regarding the manager,
contacts, floor plans, salvage area, priorities for rescue etc. could be communicated over
a data line or by means of a floppy disk.
In the event of disaster, information can then be made available to the salvage co-
ordinator within seconds and necessary action can be taken from the emergency centre.
Salvage of museum treasures is not an operation that occurs regularly or one in
which salvage co-ordinators are generally involved.
A museum-information module as part of fire service and salvage co-ordinator
training, together with the provision of information previously outlined, enables the
VHD-emergency centre to organise effective salvage operations, thus providing a greater
guarantee of conservation of our art treasures.
Effective salvage organisation is already operational in the Netherlands, with 3500
reports each year (10 a day).
Salvage of historic objects is an operation requiring a specific method of approach.
Relay of information enables a more targeted approach.
Current salvage organisation in the Netherlands can serve as an example to other
Better provision of information regarding our historic objects and wide experience
in salvage in "ordinary" fires, enable "salvage" to make an excellent contribution
to the conservation of our art treasures.
Monument and historic building conservation:
fire safety precautions and risks
Koen VAN BALEN
In the practice of monument and historic building conservation, fierce discussions
often precede decisions concerning fire safety precautions. This is due to the need both
to protect the historic buildings and to ensure the safety of visitors. The aim of this
document is to elaborate on both aspects of the issue before the matter is put to the
floor and discussions refer to fire protection techniques and to the way in which to
tackle the problem.
1. Monuments, people and standards
Throughout history, people have built to match their needs (or suit their lifestyles),
using the means at their disposal (materials, techniques), in an often hostile environment
characterised by harsh weather conditions (great heat, bitter coldness, rainfall, etc.),
natural hazards (earthquakes, lightning, etc.) and hostility from fellowmen (vandalism,
destruction, arson, etc.). Changes in the (technical) know-how of the socio-economic
organisational structure and climatic factors have changed the level of satisfaction of
needs. This change has expressed itself, for instance, in the diversity of architectural
Many of the historic monuments we consider worthy of protection and whose
future we wish to ensure translate the technical know-how and socio-economic context
in which they were built, and subsequently altered. The decision to renovate was made
within a specific social context. We have at our disposal different building and
renovation techniques, our functional needs differ from those who constructed the
historic buildings, and more importantly (in the context of this seminar) our opinion of
what constitutes an acceptable fire risk has changed.
Standards, legislation, decrees, and regulations laid down by the government upon
its people usually translate a social consensus on the functioning of society and the
responsibilities of its members. Legislation and regulations are frequently a reflection
of what the society enacting them considers an acceptable risk. We have found that,
as society evolves and advances (develops) in material terms, so does the concept of an
acceptable risk, in terms of loss of human lives. Our life expectancy has increased
steadily and statistics show that this is true for all age groups. Not only does this mean
that, on average, we live for longer but it also means that, for all age groups, the death
rate has decreased. This is due to the combined action of an improvement of technical
know-how, which enables us to exert control over our environment, a rise in health
standards and better living conditions achieved via a number of regulations.
This problem can be illustrated by the following historical example: the effects of
town fires on the evolution of timber framed town-houses in Mechelen.
An attempt was made to record the effects of successive (town) fires and town
regulations regarding architectural typology 4, using data from cultural historical
research 5 on the evolution of timber facade architecture in Mechelen during the late
It became evident that regulations were often enacted after a tragic incident such
as a town fire (1268 - 1278) (consider in comparison, for instance, the fire protection
standards applicable to department stores following the fire at the Innovation in
Brussels) and that compliance with these regulations gradually weakened as these
incidents faded from people's memory. New incidents serve often to remind people of
existing regulations (as was the case in 1348) or result in the proclamation of new
regulations with identical (or more stringent) specifications (1592).
Regulation is the usual response to the acknowledgement of new hazards. In 1344,
it became compulsory to plaster the inside walls of houses to a height that put them out
of reach of candles (probably one of the main causes of fire). Thatched roofs were
banned because of the fire spreading hazard (1344) and, for the same reason,
construction with stone dividing walls was made obligatory (1442). From the
seventeenth century onwards, safety standards were raised and timber facades were
ruled out by legislation. The Tire risk had probably decreased by then because thatching
was no longer used. First, the construction of timber facades was banned, and later this
was extended to their repair (1627). Once again regulations needed to be reviewed; the
1627 regulation was revised in 1687 and the latter was maintained until 1822.
These events led to the coaling with cement of timber frame architecture in most
Flemish towns; in this way fire protection regulations influenced the evolution of
architectural styles in urban areas, as well as in the countryside.
This example shows how regulations are enacted to reduce the risk of death (by
fire) in response to a new form of community life (urbanisation) and how a rising life
expectancy leads to greater stringency as regards acceptable risks.
You may wonder what all this has to do with the conservation of monuments and
VAN BALEN K.. L'influtnct dti cauulropliti • It* inctnditi • tur Involution dt la typologit dti
batimtno »n pain dt hois in Flandrt (The effects of diiMten (firei) on the evolution of the typology of
limber frame wall building* in Flanders), unpublished lecture at the seminmr "Vulnerability ti diagnostic
lilt paaimoint arcHiltctural data Its tout* a ruqutt tiimiquti" [Vulnerability and diagnosis of the
architectural heritage in seismic risk areas). RaveUo. 8-11 December 1988.
' I. OROOTAEKS J., lloultn gevtlt van laal-middtlttuwtt kuiztn it Mtchtltn (Timber facades of
houses of the late Middle-Ages in Mecnelen). unpublished Master's thesis. Catholic University of tauven.
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts. Department of Archaeology and Humanities, Leuven. 1983.
2. Conservation of historic monuments and fire safety precautions
When historic buildings portray the safety concepts of their time, problems arise
with regard to the present-day use of these buildings because the fire risks we consider
acceptable have decreased considerably. More techniques are available now to respond
to the demand for higher levels of safety, but this comes into conflict with the aim of
conservation itself: to preserve for as long as possible the remains of monuments, for
the sake of future generations. The question men becomes: "What is more important;
man or the historic building?" The answer is man, obviously. Responsibility must be
taken with respect to man and his safety aspirations. Regulations and safety standards
serve to turn these aspirations into reality.
Rules and regulations transcribe what society considers acceptable. Professionals,
who are responsible towards their fellowmen, must comply with these rules and
regulations. As long as these professionals (who, on the whole, are technical engineers)
comply with fire safety standards, society takes on their responsibility and no blame can
be attributed to them in the event of an accident. These professionals sometimes
express regret that standards, as a form of social consensus, are drawn up by politicians
and that they, as professionals, are not properly consulted. This often results in
misunderstandings as to their share of responsibility. Measures are sometimes proposed,
as a result of a dramatic incident, in order to put minds at rest, but these measures later
appear to be inoperable or, at least, to have been drawn up too lightly to constitute an
effective solution to such problems.
The historical example I mentioned illustrates that rules and regulations are the
response to dramatic incidents. The fire at the Innovation department store in Brussels
has been referred to, but the same applies in other fields. Football stadium regulations
changed following the Heyzel stadium disaster. Rules and regulations aim to give
concrete and tangible results and guidelines. The statistical formulation of safety
standards to be attained by regulation is considered to be insufficient As a result, fire
prevention regulations are frequently aimed at specific types of buildings with specific
functions (e.g., residential homes for the elderly, department stores and hospitals) and
often give detailed building specifications (e.g., fire doors, floors and stairs with a fire
resistance lasting for up to two hours). These detailed specifications are not a problem
when buildings are being newly built or when they are intended for existing buildings,
as long as the materials used in their construction have no historic value. Rules are not
drawn up specifically with historic buildings in mind. Fire safety standards and
regulations merely differentiate between the various functions of buildings and do not
take into consideration whether a building is listed or not.
The problem is an obvious one: how can these regulations be applied to historic
buildings? Who is to decide when these regulations are not applied? Can the safety of
visitors be adequately ensured (in terms of our current safety standards) when
regulations are disregarded in order to preserve historic material? Who is in a position
to settle this issue?
In order to conclude, it is necessary to go back to the heart of the matter. The
users of a renovated building should be guaranteed that the risk incurred is tolerable;
the damage done to a unique historic building needs to be limited (in terms of heritage
The "destruction" of the historic substance of a monument, via fire safety
provisions intended to protect it against fire, must be avoided. The choice between
"certain" or "possible" destruction needs to be made.
As subsequent speakers will explain, a wide array of instruments and strategies is
available for this purpose, far more than could possibly be laid down in a standard.
They fall into what could be referred to as a "global" approach, in which objectives are
clearly defined and blind application of standards is abandoned.
The following items should be considered when deciding upon increasing fire
safety in historic buildings:
1. A distinction must be made between the protection of users and that of the
monument. Specific strategics can be devised for each of these, to achieve a
global protection plan.
2. An appropriate safety level for users must be attained, using the instruments
available (for example alarm systems, fire delay structural measures, preventive and
organisational measures). If measures are unacceptable for the monument in
question, the users could be requested to comply with certain conditions (limitation
of numbers, definition of a specific profile, obligation to go on a training course).
3. Supposing the user issue is resolved, fire protection measures for the building itself
can be compared more objectively and a comparison can be made between the
impact of a specific protection measure and the (statistical) possibility of
destruction by fire. Obviously, a great deal can be achieved via appropriate
management and proper organisation, without even "interfering" with the
4. A body must be set up to check that fire safely regulations match the socially
acceptable safely standards, in order to avoid that inappropriate and excessively
rigid standards be applied (generally intended for new constructions). It is the idea
behind the suindard that should be remembered, to the benefit of the historic
5. On the subject of protection against theft, which is on the agenda of this seminar,
it is worth noting (hat requirements in terms of fire protection and protection
against theft are often contradictory. Closing off a building completely is an
important objective in the protection against theft. But this hampers evacuation
from the building. Similarly, mechanical protective measures for movable heritage
frequently hinder evacuation in the event of fire. The approach should be "global"
and should take into consideration both fire safety and the protection against theft.
It is now clear why these two issues are being looked at together in this seminar.
Fire protection in the Simonpetra Monastery of Mount Athos
Kyriakos K. PAPAIOANNOU
1. Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain
The expression "Holy Mountain" was used in the Middle Ages for areas in the
mountains where monastic communities were settled. Among these were Mount
Olympus in Bithynia and Mount Latros in the area of Miletus.
Mount Athos is a 2033 m high pyramid-shaped mountain, which lies at the
southern point of the peninsula of the same name in Chalkidiki - an area in Northern
Greece - that stretches as a 60 km long spit of land into the sea. The first monastic
communities in Athos date back to around the year 800 A.D. In 857, the Byzantin
Emperor Basil I recognised Athos as a territory belonging exclusively to monks and
hermits. Around 1000 A.D., Mount Athos numbered more than 40 monasteries. They
made up a large economically powerful community of great prestige and influence in
Constantinople and their reputation had spread throughout the Empire. The proud name
"the Holy Mountain" appeared and became common use at the time and is still used
At the beginning of the 13th century there were about 300 monasteries, both small
and large, scattered all over the Holy Mountain. Athos became a Pan-Orthodox
spiritual centre in which new ideologies were investigated. As the defenders of the
eastern tradition, the Athonite monks had a number of ideologies but adopted
hesychasm, which appeared in the 14th century as a spiritual movement with ideological
and even political implications.
2. Main characteristics
There are 20 inhabited monasteries on Mount Athos today; the foundation of new
ones is forbidden. There are also a number of other big and small buildings belonging
to the monasteries (skites, kellia, kalyves). About 2 000 monks and a few civilians live
on the peninsula Mount Athos constitutes a unique religious and cultural centre for the
Orthodox Church. Access for the public to the area is restricted, and according to an
old Byzantine tradition, women are not granted access to Mount Athos.
The morphology of the land on the promontory and the lack of human disturbance
of the flora sand fauna make the natural environment very beautiful and different from
the rest of the Greek countryside. There are no roads, other than forest roads or narrow
footpaths passing through forest areas. There are no ports, other than a small port and
some mooring points which can be approached by small boats. Only a few monasteries
are supplied with electricity and only recently have means of telecommunication been
installed. Heating and cooking are usually based on the use of wood and in some
instances propane is used as a source for gas lighting and heating. In the past and to
the present day, structural damage and substantial loss of cultural property have
occurred due to fire. Although the problems of fires is predominant, problems due to
humidity, earthquakes and structural collapses are equally serious.
3. The Monastery of Simonopetra
The monastery of Simonopetra is one of the oldest high-rise buildings; it was
erected in the 13th century on a precipitous rock overlooking the sea on the south
western coast of the Mount Athos peninsula
The architecture of the Holy Mountain developed within the broader context of the
medieval and post-medieval architecture of the southern Balkans but retained, however,
special features common to the whole Athonite peninsula and to the metochia outside
it The majority of the Athonic monasteries, following the established lay-out for
Orthodox religious buildings, have grown on the basis of a plan of a fortified compound
(usually rectangular), the buildings of which enclose a spacious courtyard wherein the
Katholicon (main church) is situated. However, the old parts of some smaller
monasteries diverge from this standard lay-out, as is the case of Simonopetra, which
was founded in the late Byzantine period on the top of a huge precipitous rock. The
church is not an independent building but is incorporated into the upper part of a larger
complex. The various areas and functions have been arranged on a vertical axis, with
the use of superimposed levels around the rock, up to its summit, where the courtyard
The monastery complex is made up of three main wings (the north, southwest and
east wings). On the level of the courtyard, the catholicon, the refectory, the kitchen and
the bakery can be found. Above the level of the refectory, the whole of the upper floor
of the southwest wing is occupied by the guesthouse; beneath it there are cells for the
monks and the old library.
The upper floor of the new wing (1897 - 1902) houses the Abbot's quarters. The
hospital, the cells, the boiler room, the warehouses are on the other floors of the wing.
The two lower floors are intended to host the new library and sacristy. In this building,
some of the European architecture techniques of the time were applied. The rooms on
the floors of the east wing arc built with double T iron girders with shallow brick vaults
between them. This technique was introduced to Mount Athos by Russian monks and
is often referred to as the "Russian technique".
Most of the outside walls arc made up of wide stone masonry. 1 - 2 m thick.
Inside, there is a mixture of brickwork, masonry and light-weight traditional walls built
from sticks and plaster, referred to as bagdaioiichi. As for the floors and ceilings, there
are limber floors, domes. Russian and concrete floors. The timber roofing is covered
by slate tiles.
There are other less significant buildings outside the monastery. Among them, a
four-storey building which houses the blacksmith and the labourers' workshops (creeled
in 1894). Slightly further to the cast is the so called vordonario, the monastery stables
(1867). Nearby, another two-storey building houses the olive press (oil house) which
dates back to the middle of the 19th century and was rebuild recently. To the north east
stands the water-mill built in the middle of the 19th century. It is part of a
sophisticated water supply system which includes a classical aqueduct The water was
brought to the monastery by an open top pipe. Further away to the north is the
kathisma of St Simon (built in 1868). To the east of the monastery lies the cemetery
with its chapel, a two-storey building, built in the 18th century. Another two storey
modern concrete building has, unfortunately, been built recently to the north of the oil
house. Finally, one must mention the small harbour of the monastery, the arsanes,
which has a four storey tower (16th cent.) to which the boat-house is attached. Chapels,
metochia and other buildings found far from the monastery and belonging to
Simonopetra have not been mentioned here.
4. Fires having occurred in Simonopetra
The most important fires that damaged Simonopetra happened in:
a. December 1580 (conflagration);
b. June 1622;
c. May 1891 (conflagration);
d. August 1990 (forest fire).
On the 14th of August 1990, a major forest fire broke out on Mount Athos.
Although many fire fighting forces took part in suppressing the fire (forest firemen, the
army, fire engines, CL-125 aircraft, helicopters etc.), the fire burned for almost two
weeks due to the strong winds blowing at that time; 2230 hectares (1350 hectares of
which were chestnut and oak trees and 880 hectares, scrub land) were destroyed.
The fire caused serious damage to property and the water supply and irrigation
systems of Simonopetra; it ruined nine outlying buildings belonging to the monastery
and seriously threatened the main complex of the monastery.
The fire approached the monastery from the east, on Monday 20 August. Although
the monks, with the help of firemen put it out, it started off again two days later and
surrounded the monastery. Dry evergreen oaks and bay trees on the south side at the
foot of the rock were ignited, and a gust of flying sparks attacked the southeast side of
the buildings. At the time, some old wooden balconies had been pulled out for
replacement. The fire spread inside via some old timber beams and window frames and
through the holes and cavities in the outside walls. This happened to the four upper
floors of the east wing. The monks had the idea to cut the burnt timber building
elements in order to prevent the fire from spreading into the building. At the same
time, they used the existing hose reel system to extinguish the fire. Precisely one
century later (1891) the self-sacrifice of the monks and the work of the firemen saved
the monastery from a new conflagration.
5. Fire protection measures
After the last large fire, the monastery commissioned the author to design a modern
fire protection system. The study lasted for almost one year. It covered the following
(Fire safety objectives, contents of the study, causes of fires, fire protection
2. Simonopetra' s history
3. Data on the large fires
4. Architecture and construction of the monastery
(Historical development - Analysis of building elements).
5. Fire protection of the main buildings
(Emergency exits, partitioning, fire resistance of the ancient materials, existing fire
6. The new library and sacristy
(Emergency exits, protection aspects in the construction, smoke-detectors, fire
extinguishers, hose reel system etc.).
7. Fire protection of outlying buildings
(Oil house - Labourers' workshop - Old stables - Carpenter's workshop and
In the fire prevention study of the Simonopetra monastery, the importance of
prevention was emphasized upon. The time taken by the fire brigade to gel to Mount
Athos is considerable. Prevention of fires requires, among others things, a reduction
in the amount of combustible materials, smoking and the safe use of energy. It is
suggested a Fire Safety Plan be drawn up. which includes the establishment of a Fire
Safety Group made up of 6-7 monks and the use of a Fire Safety Manual. A Fire
Safety Plan includes the maintenance of fire safely systems and the training of the
monks. On the other hand, the Fire Safety Manual will refer to the actions to be taken
every day, month and year and in case of fire (life saving operations, isolation of
valuable contents etc.).
Although Simonopetra is built up high, it does not belong to the high risk category.
Weak points in the structure (timber elements, cavities, etc.) were identified by our
study and protective measures were proposed. More fire doors, improvement of
partitioning, emergency exit staircases, smoke-detectors, fire extinguishers in certain
parts of the building, improvement of the hose reel system, were some of the
After having experienced the last fire, the Holy Community of Simonopetra
monastery is ready to apply a modern Fire Fighting method to this unique setting so as
to keep the natural environment safe and the orthodox tradition alive.
Theft, burglary and vandalism
Theft of objets d'art continues to be a lucrative business for criminals. The
protection of objets d'art in Dutch museums is not always as good as it should be, as
experience has shown. The destruction and theft of objets d'art still takes place.
Prevention against vandalism is not always easy to carry out; prevention against
burglary and theft, however, can easily be applied. In any event, when measures
against theft are well organised, observed, and complied with, they encourage a positive
attitude that might reduce the tendency towards vandalism.
The protection of museums requires specific skills because of the size of the
buildings and the number of corridors, doors, and windows. Effective safety measures
depend on the type of museum. They have to be designed and adapted to each museum
individually. If one considers the current security situation of Dutch museums, it is
striking to note the emphasis is placed on technical equipment. Technical apparatus
such as security systems with cameras and electronic burglar alarms are, and continue
to be, mere instruments. When such a device registers or reports an unusual situation,
a suitable response should follow immediately. People, however, should play the
leading role in the protection of museums, whether or not they are assisted by technical
In practice, it is necessary to keep checking what measures are appropriate for a
specific situation, i.e., what measures lead to the rapid identification of criminal
behaviour and enable a suitable response to it? Experience has shown that only a clever
combination of organisational, architectural, and electronic measures leads to the desired
effect. The protection of museums is a field of specialised expertise that requires
knowledge and experience in terms of fire, burglar, and theft prevention as well as of
general criminal behaviour.
Two situations should be considered with regard to protection of objets d'art in
1. the situation during opening hours,
2. the situation after closing time.
The threat of theft and vandalism is at it highest during opening hours. Criminals
might even prepare a possible burglary during these hours or have themselves locked
in so as to strike after closing time. Putting this type of theory to one side, break-ins
via doors or windows or any other openings in the walls usually occur after closing
time. These factors should always be taken in account when establishing a security
All protective measures for a museum and their respective costs should always be
balanced against the interests to be protected.
The protective measures to be taken are determined by the following criteria:
a. the value of the item to be protected;
b. the possibility of replacing it;
c. the concentration of valuable items;
d. the dangers that threaten the items in relation to the location and nature of the
building in which they are placed;
e. the level of criminality in the area surrounding the museum.
Protective measures must always be adapted to the permanent and temporary
circumstances in and around the museum. These protective measures must be flexible.
There is no conceivable fonn of protection that will, whatever the circumstances, be
invulnerable to a well-planned and carried-out attack. It is vital that security always be
kept to a maximum, even though this may cause a certain amount of inconvenience to
the staff and public.
Another point to be remembered is that the threat to a museum need not necessarily
come from the outside. The museum's own staff may constitute a threat through
negligence or even intentional behaviour. The protection of treasures is, and remains,
a matter of compromise.
Security is the result of a combination of measures taken in several areas:
organisational, structural, and electronic measures. There is no hard and fast rule that
guarantees maximum protection at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances.
The protection of works of art is entrusted to properly trained security personnel,
with or without dogs. Structural and electronic preventive measures may support,
improve, complement and monitor this surveillance, but they can never completely
Protection against break-ins
Once the museum is closed, the protection against break-ins is of prime importance.
Break-ins are usually carefully planned and carried out. The situation of the building,
possible access routes, the ease with which the walls can be climbed, possible escape
routes — all of these elements arc studied and examined in detail. The habits of
supervisory staff, their rounds and the signalling and detection equipment in use are also
carefully studied. Once (his information has been collected, the criminal can draw up
a plan. Counteractive measures must therefore be directed at either discouraging the
criminal, or reducing his chances of success by increasing the potentiality of him being
Preventive measures against break-ins
Preventive measures against break-ins are always made up of a meaningful
combination of organisational, structural, and electronic preventive measures. When
drawing up a protection plan against break-ins, it is important to try and think like a
criminal. First and foremost, the outside of the building must be carefully inspected.
The building will have to be made as "break-in proof as possible. This also
applies to new constructions. If, however, the museum is housed in a building whose
original purpose was different, "in-built" protection problems arise.
If the museum lies in between other buildings, a break-in may be planned via an
neighbouring building. In cases such as these, attention will be given to inner walls,
roofs, cellars, and possible crawl space between these buildings as well as to hidden
Organisational protective measures
The keeping and updating of inventories, documentation, and photographic records
of the works of art of a museum collection are not only valuable from the point of view
of art history, but are also an essential aid to protection.
Continuous monitoring of works of art within a collection, by means of an
inventory and personal inspection, makes immediate detection of a disappearance
possible and constitutes a form of prevention against theft. A clear description is thus
immediately available to assist with the tracing down of a stolen item.
Conscientiously updating inventories and documentation on works of art within a
collection are of such importance that every possible effort must be made, especially
with large museum collections, to achieve this objective.
Marking and recording
As soon as an objel d'art becomes part of a collection it must be given a code and
a number, which must be recorded in the inventory list. Application of this code, in an
invisible manner (with a U.V. marker) and in an inconspicuous place, is recommended
to enable identification, should the official mark be removed after theft.
Photographs and descriptions
As soon as possible after the objet d'art has been placed in a collection, it must be
photographed, notably from different angles. Important details must also be noted.
This visual data must be completed with a description of the objet d'art. The
following details must be included: its dimensions, weight, colour, technical structure,
specific creation characteristics, decorative elements, creator's mark, and other special
details that make the object unique. The description should contain no jargon; it should
be as simple as possible so that anyone is able to understand it.
Protection of data
Photographs, descriptions, lists of codes with numbers and locations must be
carefully stored to prevent theft after break-in and damage/destruction from fire. Ideally
a data back-up file should be stored elsewhere.
Structural protective measures
In addition to organisational measures, structural protective measures form an
important part of the fight against criminals. In theory, structural protective measures
only relate to the openings in outside walls, which are easily accessible from the
outside. Thought must also be given to access via the roof or neighbouring property
and balconies. Anywhere where there is room enough to crawl, there is a possible
Roof and basement windows deserve special attention. The locking of windows
presents a problem because window frames generally are of a much lighter construction
than door frames. Reinforcement bolting devices must therefore be fitted to ensure that
locking is secure. It is advisable to install fixed framed windows in places that cause
concern with regard to security. Slide ventilation is preferable in this case.
A number of options are available with regard to glass windows/doors:
The replacement of existing glass with shatterproof (laminated) glass. Even though
this can be an effective measure, it makes the installation of detectors, which
would give an early warning in the event of a break-in, more difficult.
Fitting a guard in the form of expanded metal grates or a roll-down shutter, for
example, to the inside of existing windows. This option requires the glass itself
to be incorporated into the electronic detection system.
Fitting a glass-guard to the outside of openings in the walls. This option is
frequently taken with old buildings, where decorative bars are used as guards. If
roll-down shutters arc used, their movement must be detectable at all times.
If the windows or dwrs of (he building could still be forced because of their
construction and/or location, filling a guard in (he form of bars, extended metal gauze
or a roll-down shullcr/rolling gate, is appropriate. This form of guard should be fitted
to the inside of the wall opening, which would set off a mechanical barrier to stop the
Furthermore, easy climbing of the building must be prevented. In places where it
is possible, with the help of drainpipes, lightning conductors, decorative elements, and
cables, anti-climbing devices must be installed.
In addition to these structural protective measures, care must be taken that wall
openings remain within sight. This means, for example, that vegetation must always
be kept low. It is advisable to illuminate openings in the walls at night with low
voltage sodium bulbs placed in shatterproof boxes.
The locking-up system
Once the openings in the outside walls and the inside doors are properly closed off,
an effective and safe locking-up procedure is essential. Depending on the size and lay-
out of the building, a system must be chosen so that it-
creates the least amount of obstruction possible in the event of fire;
offers the greatest degree of protection against break-ins;
presents the least risk in the event of negligence on behalf of staff;
creates the least amount of hindrance to the carrying-out of daily activities by staff;
requires the smallest number of different keys;
makes it impossible for anyone to enter or leave the museum without being
There are a great number of different locking-up systems on the market. Expert
advice is required in choosing an appropriate system.
Electronic preventive measures
Electronic protection is available to complement the organisational and
structural/mechanical preventive measures. It is available in various forms.
Fitting detectors to all windows and doors in a museum is expensive. It is,
however, advisable to fit detectors to those doors and windows that give direct access
to the building in order to ensure that a break-in is rapidly detected. Even within the
museum a number of doors, in particular cellar and attic doors, should be included in
the detection circuit.
This type of protection is commonly used as large rooms can be protected by a
limited number of area surveillance detectors, i.e. passive infrared, radar, and/or
ultrasound detectors. The selection, planning, fitting, and tuning of detectors is specific
to each situation and must be carried out by well-known specialist firms.
This type of protection entails detectors such as contact mats, active infrared rays,
etc., which are installed at critical spots within the museum.
The success of a protection system depends on the alarm sounding system used.
The signalling of an abnormal situation to the reacting party must be carried out as
quickly as possible. In practice, this means that a private emergency centre (PAC,
Particuliere Alarmcentrale) is called by means of an automatic telephone dialling device
(ATK, Automatised Telefoon Kiesapparaat). The private emergency centre will then call
the police, who will proceed to the scene of the incident.
This type of alarm circuit, inevitably, requires a lot of time. At the time of
devising the protection plan, a schedule must be made up which is as realistic as
possible. It is vital that the preventive measures fit into this schedule; only then is it
possible to create effective protection.
Protection of museum property
The protection of the museum showrooms is much easier to ensure than the
protection of each individual piece of museum property and is, therefore, preferable.
However, certain objeis d'an might require specific protection. Mechanical and
electronic measures are available for prevention of theft.
fixing the items by means of brackets, pins or wire, using screws that are difficult
to reach or are impossible to loosen or break off (single-turn screw) requiring no
exhibiting smaller items and books, for example, in closed and locked display units
made of shatterproof materials such as polycarbonates;
placing items out of reach (up high).
fitting a pressure sensitive detector, for example, under small sculptures;
fitting movement detectors;
fitting proximity detectors (active infrared systems).
This is only possible should a minimum distance between the visitor and the
displayed item be guaranteed by spatial provisions.
Another method is to store the item in a safety vault after closing time. Fitting an
item on display with a detector may also have a theft preventive effect during museum
Prevention of theft
It has been said that a museum thief can be compared to a shoplifter. Choosing
a time when the museum is quiet, he pacifically seizes the loot unnoticed and escapes.
The following measures are suitable for the prevention of theft:
Continuous physical surveillance:
This surveillance should begin as soon as visitors enter the building. It is advisable
for small museums to keep a visitors' book, where the visitor's name and address are
recorded. The halls must be patrolled continuously. The attendant must be aware of
friendly visitors who could attempt to distract his attention to enable an accomplice to
make a move. The attendant must call for assistance with his walkie-talkie if anything
suspicious occurs. The presence of all museum items must be checked at every closing
time. With the exception of the main entrance door, all doors should be locked.
Emergency exit doors must be watched, since these cannot be locked during museum
opening hours. No item should leave the museum without the appropriate
documentation. After closing time, the whole of the building must be thoroughly
checked for any persons left behind.
CCTV (Closed Circuit Television)
Closed circuit television is an effective theft prevention device for small museums
and in cases where no security personnel is available. The use of a CCTV system must
be clearly announced at the museum entrance. Furthermore, it is important for
personnel on duty to show that the system is in working order and that visitors are
being watched closely on monitors.
This is the only way to frighten off potential thieves. A CCTV system produces
static pictures of halls and store rooms which few people visit. Watching static pictures
is not conducive to a satisfactory level of vigilance. Research has shown that a
supervisor is able to keep up his/her vigilance for fifteen minutes at the most, after
which his/her attention fades or he/she may even fall asleep.
Area(s) which are not frequently visited should be fitted with a detector, which is
activated as soon as a person enters the area. Upon activation of the detector, a signal
is transferred to the surveillance post and immediately, the supervisor on duty is able
to see on the monitor who is in that area and watch what the person is doing.
When installing a CCTV system, it is important to realise that there is little point
in being able to see what is happening if no means of intervention are available. A
detection and alarm system is pointless without adequate follow-up!
In addition to a CCTV system for the surveillance of the museum during opening
hours, a video recorder should be connected to the system to record potential incidents.
A time-lapse recorder is most suited for this purpose. This type of device makes
recordings at set intervals. In the event of trouble, it can be switched to continuous
recording manually or by activation of a detector.
A time-lapse recorder can also be switched on in the event of a break-in or a
break-in attempt. Lighting in those areas swept by the camera must be adequate to
assure good recording.
Damage caused by the public is not the greatest threat to objets d'art, but it is the
most common. The causes of accidental or intentional destruction and damage,
generally referred to here as vandalism, range from indifference or carelessness to the
destruction by children or sheer madness.
The mad vandal is unpredictable. His motivation is obvious, his behaviour abrupt
and erratic. In certain cases, surreptitiously and unobserved, he will attempt to damage
an object in a far corner of the museum. In others, he will carry out his deed before
the very eyes of the public and the attendants. The consequences of his actions don't
matter to him. He is generally psychologically disturbed.
Children may also constitute a danger from this point of view. Either they find it
amusing to break something, or they see the museum halls as play areas and
unintentionally cause accidents with their boisterousness behaviour. Children are fond
of "completing" portraits with moustaches and beards; this can seriously damage works
Many adults arc inclined to check with their fingers what they see with their eyes.
Paintings, especially those thick with paint, are touched and even scratched. Textiles,
wall coverings, are rubbed between finger and thumb. Marbled wood is stroked to
check whether it is wood or marble.
The problem with this habit is thai this is always applied to the same, accessible
spots. After twenty or thirty thousand visitors, worn patch appears. Normal wear and
tear becomes a serious problem, especially in buildings that are monuments in
themselves and where sculptured and gilded doors, damask wall coverings and narrow
through-ways suffer considerable wear and tear from the continuous, shuffling crowd.
A large crowd of people can cause a rise in the temperature and moisture level.
In certain areas, this creates an adverse micro-climate for the objets d'art.
Demonstrators and people performing a "sit-in" may also cause damage because of the
number of people involved.
Of course, measures can be taken to prevent different forms of vandalism: paintings
may be exhibited behind glass, fragile objects may be placed in display units, wall
coverings may be hung out of reach. It is possible to prevent the public from coming
too close to the objets d'art with the help of ropes and platforms.
None of these measures, however, are very popular with those who want to present
the objets d'art in an aesthetic and appealing manner. The only adequate protection is
intensive physical surveillance, which prevents all kinds of trouble. However, even the
most intensive surveillance will rarely prevent a surprise attack from a mad vandal.
Acts of vandalism seem to encourage others to follow suit. Giving wide publicity
to such acts is therefore unwise.
If, owing an increase in interest from the public, overcrowding occurs in museums
and temporary exhibitions, the following options could be considered: lengthening
opening hours or setting a limit to the number of people granted access. Maximum
authorised floor load (generally three persons to every two square meters) must also be
taken into consideration.
Furthermore, school visits could be restricted during the busiest times. It is
essential that museums display their main works of art, i.e., those attracting the most
visitors, in an area with sufficient space to avoid congestion.
Sounding the alarm
Alarm systems, those used generally against theft and break-ins, are only effective
in the fight against vandalism if they give out a local signal, thus warning surveillance
personnel on the spot and enabling a rapid response.
When an object d'art is damaged, it is not the arrest of the criminal that is of
utmost importance but the preservation of the objet d'art and the prevention of further
damage. It is essential that the item be immediately removed and examined.
If, for example, an unknown fluid is thrown at a painting [remember the incident
involving "De Nachtwacht" (Rembrandt's Night Watch)], the fluid must be removed
immediately, even with the help handkerchief, if need be.
Any immediate response can limit the extent of the damage. There have been
times where a damaged item was given to an expert to deal with a long time after the
incident. The acid had already had its destructive effect. Rapid counteraction is,
1. Definition or an alarm network
An alarm network is a group of components which serves to transmit signals from
a given location to another; the components and parts used in the latter location are
usually integrated in the alarm network, while the components used locally to generate
the alarm are not pan of the network.
Although this subdivision is entirely arbitrary, it is used very frequently because
different categories of professionals are involved and their respective responsibilities
have to be defined. Since the equipment to be used locally has already been discussed,
I will confine myself to the above-mentioned definition and refer to local equipment
only when it affects what happens downstream.
2. Why is an alarm network needed?
The need for an alarm network is explained by the requirements of an effective
In view of the high number of offences committed, it cannot be said often enough
that a security system will be effective only if three categories of elements are
1. electronic devices, which make up an essential part of the detection category.
Rapid detection of incidents is vital;
2. construction elements, which fall into the resistance category. Rapid detection is
not enough in itself; the intruder's actions must be delayed so as to allow an
appropriate response to be taken before he attains his objective (when protecting
works of art, it should be noted that requirements in terms of resistance and
response are far more stringent in cases of vandalism or wilful destruction);
3. organisational factors, which relate not only to response measures but cover a much
broader field. They include prevention, subsequent checks and continuity planning,
as well as measures designed to increase security awareness without creating
Traditionally, the security systems employed in buildings or premises considered
to be at risk were intended to permit two types of response:
* the first involved the employment on the premises of one or more persons who
could respond immediately to an alarm and alert the police.
In many cases, it was obvious from the outset that this solution was too expensive
in terms of operating costs. In addition, the "response capacity" of personnel was
limited, although this was often not realised at the time. Another solution had
therefore to be found.
* The second solution considered was the use of local alarms with outside sirens
which offered two important advantages: on the one hand, the noise of the siren
would scare off intruders and, on the other, people hearing it would call the police
(or so it was thought at the time).
Although this line of reasoning may initially have been acceptable, the technical
reliability of the system was still limited and the frequent false alarms prevented
it from operating successfully (the same problem often arises today in private
homes fitted with unreliable alarm systems).
When people actually called the police, it was not to sound the alarm (since they
assumed it was a false one) but because the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood
had been disturbed.
These findings required the need for other answers. The answer took the form of
an alarm network.
Under this system, alarms are transmitted to a 24-hour security agency or firm that
is ready to respond as soon they are received.
The idea of an nlarm control centre is by no means new, a first telegraph network
was brought into use as far back as 1848 for reporting fires to an alarm control
centre in Munich.
In Belgium, two methods developed from there for connecting alarm installations
to alarm control centres.
The first uses connections via the switched network, while the second uses direct,
point-to-point connections on leased lines.
The last two to three years have seen the first applications of alarm networks based
on packet-switching (X.25/SNA).
These new developments lire the result of advances in information technology.
3. Technical developments
While the original idea (which is still alive today) was to create systems with a
round-the-clock response, it soon became clear that this was only a partial solution.
The removal of the sirens, as the first alarm signal, meant that the neighbours were no
longer "disturbed", but the number of false alarms - and hence of unnecessary call-outs
• remained high.
This resulted from the poor quality of the systems used at the time, particularly as
compared to the state-of-the-art equipment available today. The main problem was to
eliminate doubt as to the genuineness of alarms.
More and more progress has been made in overcoming this problem and that in
various fields. But, as always, budgetary constraints play a major role and often prevent
the adoption of the ideal (or optimum) solution technically available today.
Nevertheless, I should now like to look at the systems available today and their
implications for alarm control centres.
3.1 Local alarm installations
The role and the effectiveness of an alarm control centre are determined, among
other factors, by the possibilities which local alarm installations offer.
There have been major developments in these local installations in the last ten to
fifteen years, and this has improved the potential for the effective operation of alarm
control centres. Broadly speaking, the following types are now available on the market:
3.1.1 Relay panels without local "intelligence"
Connection possibilities between this type of alarm panel and the alarm control
centre are extremely limited. The main shortcomings are as follows:
there is a limited number of areas, each with several detectors. Identification of
the triggered detector is therefore difficult (remote identification is impossible);
there is limited flexibility as regards the use of the alarm panel, which results in
many operating errors and a correspondingly high number of unnecessary call-outs;
there are very few alarm outputs, which rules out any subdivision into alarm
categories (genuine security alarm whose nature cannot be determined, technical
alarm, alarm caused by sabotage, etc). The alarm control centre is thus obliged to
interpret all transmitted alarms as genuine security alarms and to initiate a
there is inadequate control of day/night connections, which makes it impossible to
distinguish the type of response required or to transmit the "forced switch-off
signal of the alarm panel;
lastly, it should be noted that there is no question - at this stage - of two-way
communication and no possibility whatsoever, as yet, of remote detector tests or
3.1.2 Microprocessor-controlled panels
The implementation of microprocessor-controlled alarm panels has solved a number
of the above-mentioned problems, in that:
several loops can be processed, thus permitting subdivision into several detection
areas equipped with anti-sabotage protection, based on the principle of loop-end
some technical malfunctions are identified as such and transmitted as technical
more alarms (8 to 16) can be transmitted in various forms and, lastly, day/night
connection can be communicated/signalled;
some operational data is also stored locally, which helps to simplify maintenance
However, this still falls short of the perfect solution. Despite the diversification
of the data, problems of selectivity remain.
Particularly with regard to the detection of sabotage and technical problems, the
messages transmitted arc often limited to a single type of sabotage or malfunction alarm
without further specification.
In addition, alarm panel users still have inadequate remote control facilities and
problems remain regarding remote control of all the significant parameters.
3.1.3 New-generation alarm panels
A new generation of alarm panels has emerged in recent years. The aim of these
panels is to offer (the user) the maximum possible amount of highly selective
information, at both local and remote level.
This is accompanied by sophisticated parameterisation features designed to make
the system flexible, while ensuring optimum operation and management for several (or
all) types of risk.
The identification of each individual detector is a first step, while it is still possible
to group the detectors in areas;
a second important clement is the possibility of introducing local "intelligence" so
that some decisions can be taken locally. This involves logical combinations of
"objective system parameters". Their logic may be modified and controlled either
locally or remotely;
the people controlling the system are identified and have variable and progressive
access rights depending on the place, time and date;
measures obviating the need for human intervention are automated;
transmission is by way of exception;
major progress has been made in terms of the interfaces between alarm panels,
allowing - in theory - unlimited data communication.
As a result of these developments, the information transmitted to the alarm control
centre is very precise and selective.
Two-way communication offers the possibility of remote-testing some parts of the
installation and of remote-controlled action in some cases where on-site responses
would previously have been necessary.
The developments described above are only a selection of the improvements made
at alarm-panel level in recent years, all of them designed to reduce the number of call-
outs and to guarantee virtual certainty in terms of doubt elevation.
In order to achieve all of this, however, a number of other conditions have to be
3.2 The security system design
No matter how good an alarm system is, it will not produce results if the general
security system for the premises to be protected is inadequate. Above all, it must take
account of the principles set out above (2).
Maximum account must also be taken of the possibilities for using software in both
the alarm panels and the control centre so as to eliminate - as far as possible - any
doubt as to the genuineness of alarms.
As far as the concept of the system is concerned, it is vital to position the detectors
correctly and to use the appropriate detection equipment for the relevant problem.
With regard to the elevation of doubt, a major step can be made at alarm control
centre level by introducing correlation techniques, provided this is taken into account
when designing the local security installation.
Other means available include CCTV equipment or "listen-in" audio equipment,
and the effectiveness of both depends primarily on the quality of the design adopted.
Lastly, alarm control centres cannot function effectively unless the transmission
systems are perfect. This implies they be protected - a factor which is often neglected.
When using the latest network communication technology, it will be necessary to
take account of the autonomy of the nodes in the network and, in the case of some
applications, to encrypt the data transmitted and employ stringent authentification
33 The interfaces provided in the alarm panels
The interfaces used for transmitting signals to the alarm control centres determine
the quantity of information that can be transmitted.
Alarm panels fitted with output modules made up of relay contacts are still used
The amount of information that can be transmitted in this manner is limited to 8 -
16 or 32 outputs at the most. In recent years, information transmission protocols have
been standardised according to a number of specific formats. This has to some extent
simplified the task of engineers developing software for alarm control centres by
allowing them, at least, to develop a more general product.
Possibilities of microprocessor-based alarm panels have advanced, many units have
been equipped with RS232 interfaces. This has enabled information to be made
available to outside users through integral or non-integral modems.
With a view to the integration of the alarm panels in major data-transmission
networks, a number of network protocols have been implemented in recent years so as
to enable the panels to be connected to a "core network".
3.4 The actual alarm networks
Several different alarm transmission methods are currently available on the Belgian
market. The first difference relates the type of alarm control centre. Some alarm
systems are connected to police stations. This is only true today for the alarm systems
of public buildings, such as museums.
Other buildings arc connected to alarm control centres operated by security firms.
Lastly, there are also central alarm control centres installed and operated by
individual companies; as a rule, only their own premises arc connected.
The communication facilities available today are as follows:
1. Leased direct line
In this case, there is a permanent "direct" link between the premises at risk and the
alarm control centre.
The great advantage of this type of connection is its superior reliability both in
technical terms and in terms of security/protection.
The line is, in fact, reserved for one single application and its availability is
The disadvantage of this type of solution lies in the high operating costs, and it is
too expensive for many institutions and firms, particularly if several risk locations are
to be connected.
2. Connection via the switched network
This type of connection is still the most frequently used today. Its greatest
advantage lies in its lower operating costs. A connection is made only when it is
actually needed (alarms, testing, unloading, etc).
Nevertheless, this method does have several disadvantages. The first concerns the
technical reliability of the network. Although this has improved considerably in recent
years, there is still a risk that it may prove impossible to establish a connection when
an alarm has to be transmitted. The principle underlying this method means continuous
monitoring of the quality of the connection is impossible. Moreover, means of
preventing the transmission of an alarm exist, based on the very principle of the
switched network. This method of communication is therefore not suitable for systems
used to protect high-risk premises.
3. The most recent development in the alarm-transmission field is the management
and processing of alarms via data-communication networks. More and more firms and
institutions have access to private or public data-transmission networks.
In the context of a data-transmission network, the transmission load between a local
alarm panel and an alarm control centre is negligible. On the other hand, this
communication method offers the same guarantees as a direct line in terms of security
and reliability, without necessarily involving the same operating costs.
Networks of this type are currently operated by users themselves. Until recently,
they were still based largely on non-standard technologies, which differed from one
manufacturer to another (eg pole-select, SNA, DECNET).
For some years now, they have also employed X.5 systems. Although these
networks were primarily developed for data-transmission purposes and not for alarm
transmission, they offer possibilities that will be increasingly exploitable for the latter.
3.5 Alarm control centres
3J.I Standards imposed by governments and insurers
Persons wishing to set up alarm control centres, to which premises belonging to
third parties are to be connected, must comply with the relevant national legislation in
order to obtain authorization to operate such centres.
Insurance companies lay down equipment and operational standards for alarm
control centres before they agree to insure connected centres.
Insurance companies are currently drafting a European standard.
35.2 Development of processing facilities
Apart from the physical design of alarm control centres and the audio, telephone
and, in some cases. CCTV equipment used, it is the development of hardware and
software deriving from advances in detection systems that has improved the
effectiveness of such centres by dispelling the uncertainty concerning alarms.
Most alarm control centres currently in use operate on the principle of electronic
files, i.e. when an alarm is received the operator's screen displays a message or
procedure that depends on a number of conditions (tables).
All alarms are thus processed individually by the system. One particular alarm
may be accompanied by a message instructing the operator to wait for a second alarm
before taking specified action. The systems do not yet establish correlations between
the various alarms.
Priority levels are assigned to possible alarms. These are static and can only be
It can thus be seen that the capabilities of conventional alarm control centres in use
today are limited and (hut there Is still a considerable risk of alarms being
misinterpreted and (he response being inadequate.
Thanks to the development of new technologies in both the hardware and software
fields, the "intelligence" of the detection equipment has increased and thus considerably
reduced the risk of false alarms; the volume of information provided for the alarm
control centres has grown accordingly.
In order to make belter use of this information and to respond more effectively, the
intelligence of alarm control centres must be improved. Otherwise, much of the
information is likely to be wasted or not used to the full, resulting in inadequacy of the
entire alarm processing system.
This has recently led to the emergence of a new generation of software. This
conforms to state-of-the-art technology and is based on recent developments which
make effective use of the information supplied by the detection systems.
The use of new software tools (eg expert systems) considerably increases the
intelligence of the system. The alarms are no longer processed individually; instead,
correlations are established. This increases the effectiveness of the information and
instructions transmitted to the operator.
To this end, the concept of the "session" has been introduced, alarms received from
one particular location are no longer displayed separately, but are grouped together. A
functional link thus exists between the first alarm from one location and subsequent
alarms from that location until the operator terminates the session.
It is also possible to assign these sessions priority levels which are determined by
the importance of the various locations concerned. The sessions are presented to the
operator in priority order, an order calculated on the basis of the priority level of the
most important alarm of the session.
Grouping of alarms in sessions enables the operators to apply some degree of
expertise to alarm situations with the aid of the new software tools available.
There are also changes regarding alarm priority levels. These are no longer
determined statically, but can be calculated dynamically on the basis of several factors.
Under this system, priority levels depend on the type of alarm, the risk associated with
repetition of the alarm, the area from which the alarm originates, etc.
Thus a given alarm does not always have the same priority level and the different
alarms are processed more effectively, particularly in relation to their importance.
This should all simplify the operator's task and reduce the risk of human error,
since the number of decisions the operator is required to make about the importance of
specific alarms is reduced to a minimum.
This also allows responsibilities to be properly assigned. In crisis situations, it is
no longer the individual operator who has to decide one way or the other: instead,
decisions are based on rules incorporated in the system by the person in charge.
The new systems also enable certain procedures to be carried out automatically,
thus considerably reducing the number of tasks to be performed manually by the
This can be illustrated by one example:
When a particular alarm is transmitted, the police in a certain commune have to
be warned. The system is able to make the necessary telephone call automatically and,
when the call is answered, the line is connected automatically to the head-set of the
duty operator, who passes on the appropriate message.
Additional telephone numbers are also stored in the system as a backup and, if
there is no answer from the First number, the system switches to the second number,
and so on.
The operator is thus relieved of a considerable number of tasks and is able to
concentrate even more fully on any new alarms transmitted and also to analyse more
effectively the information received.
Great progress has also been made with regard to backup facilities (backup copies)
in the event of control centre failures. Several alarm control centres can, for example,
be grouped in closed loops.
If there is a failure at one alarm control centre, another centre in the same loop can
take over its functions. There are, however, some conditions to be met: the hardware
and software must be compatible and the alarm control centres concerned must share
enough common information in order for the alarms to be processed. They must
operate in "hot standby" mode.
Software developments have also increased training possibilities for control centre
operators, particularly through the use of simulation procedures.
Future operators can be familiarised with the system by means of simulation of real
life situations, thus greatly reducing the risk of errors.
4. Likely developments in the next few years
4.1 Development of detectors and alarm panels
The first likely development will be at the level of the "intelligence" of the
The first detectors belonging to this new generation have already appeared. They
combine various detection principles and are equipped with local intelligence. Thanks
to a form of signal analysis, they enable genuine alarms to be distinguished from false
alarms with much greater accuracy.
This represents a major contribution towards the elimination of doubt.
A second development, important in this respect and likely to occur at a biter dale,
is the combination of detection and images. Although detection signals have been used
in the past (and are still used) to transmit camera images, the detectors and camera
equipment were separate. The most serious disadvantage was the price of installing
Although the price of CCD cameras has fallen considerably in recent years, a
substantial additional investment is still required if a efficient system is to be installed.
The development in question is the incorporation of a "camera" in the detector.
The camera equipment should be imagined as a chip fitted with a contact lens. When
the detector produces a signal, the camera is triggered off almost instantaneously: a
number of images (the intervals between which can be parameterised) are generated and
transmitted to the alarm control centre, enabling it to "see" what the detector saw.
As regards alarm panel hardware, we do not expect any spectacular developments
in the next few years.
The most important development will be the wider use of "intelligence",
implemented into alarm control systems in recent years, and the development of
facilities for interfacing with networks.
4.2 Developments in alarm control centres
Developments here will probably consist in a move towards alarm control centres
taking on a more important part in terms of risk management. Whereas the task of
alarm control centres - with the exception of central control centres - is currently often
confined to the processing of alarms, more reliable and controllable means could enable
the centres to be assigned new functions.
4J Developments at network level
Over the next few years, there will be increasing refinements in the transmission
of alarms by means of data exchanges.
This trend will be further accelerated by the development of the networks
themselves, which will provide additional possibilities for eliminating doubt and
increasing the reliability of the system as a whole.
4.3.1 Increasing the network transmission rate
One development consists in increasing the network transmission rate. This can
be achieved by replacing analogue transmission by digital transmission (instead of the
digital signal being transformed by a modem, it is transmitted by pulse modulation; a
transmission rate exceeding 100 kbit/sec can then be achieved using conventional
twisted-pair copper wires). This is the main aim of ISDN technology.
This rate can be increased at least tenfold if the copper wires are replaced by fibre-
optic cables. In view of the high costs involved in modifying the existing infrastructure,
this development is unlikely to take place in the near future.
The above-mentioned bandwidth of 100 kbit/sec is not suitable for the interactive
methods currently employed between cathedral and alarm control centre. The
availability of this bandwidth could well lead to methods and possibilities being
modified or extended.
The polling frequency could be increased so as to improve the level of security.
Real-time transmission of sound and, especially, images (CCITT standard on ISDN
(H.261)) would then be possible. The images could be transmitted via a channel of at
least 64 kbit/sec, ie via an ISDN-B channel.
4.3.2 Development from off-the-shelf equipment to specialised equipment
The resulting expansion of scale will encourage competition and reduce the price
of products. This will make the development of alarm panels, specifically designed for
connection to data networks, more worthwhile. More intelligence can then be integrated
in the panel interface, allowing possible connection to several alarm control centres
43.3 Third-party-operated networks
Public institutions or firms may choose to use a data network: the alarms are
processed by a special agency, this being made possible by the network.
The main advantage lies in the cost. The main drawbacks are the same as in
ordinary telephone networks, i.e. problems of reliability and protection against
The technical means available when a data network is used, simplify the answer
to these problems.
4.3.4 The emergence of modern PBXs and private telephone exchanges
It is thus possible to install an internal telephone network in all the separate
premises of a company. This network is accessed via an "internal number". These
networks have integrated voice/data switches (the data lines are connected directly
without modems, using digital transmission via RS232 interfaces). In general, ISDN
technology is used. Institutions and firms mainly requiring telephony benefit
most, since they arc offered, so to speak, efficient data transmission free of charge.
This term, which care up several time in the text, will no doubt play an important
role in the future. Its introduction has been just as difficult as that of the X.25 concept
some ten years ago, probably because the standard is defined by a committee that is at
of touch with the real world.
From this point of view, it is interesting to compare the CCITT standards and their
acceptance by industry with the TCP/IP standards.
With regard to alarm processing, the ISDN system can be compared to an X.25
network (an ISDN-TE2 interface is used instead of an X.25 pad).
The difference lies in the enormous bandwidth offered by ISDN (3 channels, 2
B+D, 2 x 64 kbit/sec and 1 x 16 kbit/sec), as well as the above-mentioned possibilities
for alarm processing.
It is difficult to tell whether this technology will make a breakthrough, particularly
as there is already talk of a new substitute (broadband ISDN or B-ISDN) offering even
greater bandwidth (megabits/sec).
4.3.6 Standardisation of network management protocols
Another development which could have considerable influence on future alarm
systems is the standardisation of network management protocols.
The SNMP and CMIP protocols are designed for automatic capture and
transmission of the state of the connected equipment.
Although initially this concerns equipment in networks (modems, routers, etc),
there is no reason why alarm panels should not be included, since there are already
examples of "non-network" equipment controlled by SNMP commands.
Designing Tor fire safety and for the reduction of the risk of arson
Alan C. PARNELL
To be asked to be the last speaker in a colloquy is not an enviable position, and
I am sure all the other speakers appreciate the difficulty. I will try, however, to raise
the level of the debate by challenging what previous speakers have said.
More than 30 years ago I was suddenly initiated to the problems of designing new
and innovative buildings to meet Fire Safety Legislation standards. In those days the
regulations were archaic, rigid, and did not comprise any of the interesting
developments in terms of enclosure of space, use of new materials, and more
importantly, the introduction of a vast range of mechanical and electrical services to
provide the comfort expected of new buildings.
As an example, it was even thought then that smoke, rather than heat, was the
prime killer from a fire but there were no standards on how you could control and
evacuate smoke through protected emergency exits, and allow the access of clean air
for the Fire Brigade in the event of an emergency.
One of the buildings that inspired me to become an architect when I was a young
boy was the Guggenheim Museum in New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Today we would recognise it as being an atrium styled building, but no such concept
existed at the time. Today, we would naturally plan the evacuation of smoke from the
top of the spiral gallery to protect the people while they escaped by other means, from
a possible fire on the ground floor.
Thirty years ago, smoke control and the assessment of the efficiency of materials
was being developed by the Fire Research Station. I was able to study the results of
this research and their application to new types of buildings to improve the security of
occupants in the event of fire, but also to convince the statutory authorities that we were
creating security standards, even though there was no recognition of this in Building
Regulation controls. The Pompidou and Llyods buildings come to my mind.
The same applies to historic buildings; Hardwick Hall is a good example, the local
authorities wanted to close it, as they thought that its contents (tapestries, furnishings,
furniture, and the lining of the walls with panelling etc) represented such a considerable
risk that the public would be in danger at all times.
In my practice, one of our directors who was previously the Head of Building
Regulations research at the Fire Research Station, applied his knowledge to this case
and calculated the calorific load of all the contents of every room in Hardwick Hall.
This calculation showed that the fire load was very light, even lighter than a
normal domestic fire load, and that in the event of a fire the volume of smoke produced
by the contents would take 20 minutes to descend from the ceiling to the top of the
doors, so this amount of time was available for people to escape and for the Fire
Brigade to enter and attack the source of the fire.
Research and development carried out through Europe has enabled architects to
improve devices and meet the demands of their clients in terms of larger spaces and
volumes, previously considered unacceptable.
Some speakers mentioned the installation of sprinklers for the protection of
contents as well as structures, and of course number of you stressed the importance of
smoke and other forms of detection for a quick response in the event of a fire. The
association of these signals with the activation of mechanisms of smoke control, the
direct links to fire stations; as all systems that recognise that time is the essence are all
important, the quicker is the response, the lesser the risk incurred by people and
property. Such systems played an important point in the relaxation of mandatory
In the 30 years that I have been practising as an architect, the whole field of
operation has changed and become one of considerable excitement due to the challenge
of meeting our customers' demands and requirements for innovative designs and the
creation of buildings which offer flexibility in order to meet the constantly changing
requirements of exhibitions, presentations, or other cultural events, whereas the
legislative pattern of control has heavily weighted in the direction of solid construction,
small compartments, and the limitation of any flexibility in terms of space.
In those days, regulations were based on the adoption of old insurance standards
for the protection of a building and its contents, whereas legislation in the United
Kingdom is solely designed to protect the public and the occupants.
It is interesting therefore to refer back to the introduction of this colloquy, which
stated that The legal protection of historic buildings, including their artistic contents,
creates a framework aimed at preventing protected objects from being destroyed,
damaged or stolen". Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom, there is no legal protection
for historic buildings or their contents, but we do have considerable legislation
controlling the employment of staff, and even more relating to the access and protection
of the public. Therein lies the problem. If people were never allowed into a building
or near any of our protected treasures, we would have no Tires or temptation of theft,
arson or similar action. It is sad that our society still suffers today from the seven
deadly sins, and especially with respect to our historic buildings and our historic works
of art. These primarily include envy, greed, hatred and vindictiveness due to
professional or even emotional set-backs.
There is no doubt now that we must seriously consider arson within design criteria
when looking at proposals for new buildings, or even when anticipating events likely
to occur within a historic building or museum. The Fire Protection Association and the
Home Office in the United Kingdom recently created the Arson Investigation Bureau
as a response to the considerable increase in arson fires in the U.K., and this idea has
now been picked up by members of the European Fire Protection Associations, who
have joined together, not only to collect statistics of the risks of arson, but also to help
each other find the causes of this social disease and to develop means of fighting it
Unfortunately, these statistics have not yet been refined to the point of identifying
the incidents within the historic buildings and museum framework, but there is no doubt
that the prime risk in such occupancies encourages the competent arsonist, especially
if there is financial or a similar monetary award on completion of his work. Arson is
rapidly increasing in the United Kingdom and it is anticipated that in 1990 there were
24 000 identified cases. A survey carried out by each of the county authorities in the
U.K. demonstrated ratios between 75% in major metropolitan areas, down to 20/30%
in rural counties.
These figures are of course alarming to the Fire Service and those interested in the
reduction of fires in buildings, but they only represent 1% of the recorded crimes to the
police, and in the London Metropolitan areas the 1 000 cases definitely identified are
insignificant compared with the total number of crimes committed.
One could facetiously say - theft is only the recycling of capital!
It is therefore difficult to put a social relationship on the need to reduce arson
against the overall need to reduce crime, especially when, one realises that 10% of the
arson cases probably reach the court, where arsonists can be successfully prosecuted.
In the present economic climate, insurance companies are also expressing
considerable concern at the number of fraudulent claims being made as a result of arson
and are therefore supporting the Arson Investigation Bureau in their work to identify
the arsonist more clearly and to pursue cases through the courts on their behalf where
such incidents are fraudulent.
The Loss Adjusters in the U.K. anticipate that 20% of the arson claims made since
1989 have been fraudulent and directly related to arson, and the Insurance claims have
amounted to at least 10% of the total.
Similar figures have been assessed in the United States, where insurance companies
claim that losses from fraudulent arson attacks amount to 14% of the total claimed.
Historic buildings can be particularly at risk if there are proposals to extend, alter
or enlarge them or if such measures can lead to capital, when these are delayed by
Planning Applications. It is not unfamiliar for frustration to engender arson attacks in
order to get rid of the problem. Similarly, forest fires in France have been known to
be purposely encouraged when land property development is under consideration.
The Department of Environment in Northern Ireland now have extensive library
records of IRA attacks on buildings and a very scientific study on the placing of bombs
to achieve the maximum effect. The use of re-entrant angles, cover sites and even long
tunnels, as in the recent devastation in the City of London, demonstrates their skill.
This may be beyond the concept of arson but demonstrates that a devious mind can
create maximum impact with minimal devices.
As an extension of my work as an architect specialising in matters of fire safety,
I consider it a useful exercise to put myself in the role of a potential arsonist and to
consider what damage I could do to my client's building or its contents if I was so
One of the largest problems of arson are dissatisfied employees, especially security
staff, or maintenance and service engineers.
They, of course, are thoroughly familiar with the installed mechanical and electrical
services within a building and could therefore cause considerable damage without
necessarily the management knowing.
Members in this audience will remember the considerable damage caused by
flooding at the Victorian Albert Museum some years ago and that would have been a
very easy method of malicious satisfaction, on the pan of a service engineer, opening
a valve or creating a potential leak.
All service engineers nnd security staff will be familiar with the installed devices
to detect a Tire, the smoke and heat detection systems; the control panels, the electrical
systems to such services, the direct lines to the police or central control stations, the
sprinklers and the siting of their valves etc, so again if one wanted to be a serious
arsonist it would be extremely easy to turn off the sprinkler valve, which is recorded
on normal detection panels, and to isolate the electrical system without showing a fault
on the panel. From then on, the amount of damage is largely dependent on the
It is for all these reasons that I believe complacency on the part of management is
the worst thing that can happen to a building. So often I meet clients who say "but we
have installed a detection system or system of extinguishers and therefore we have
nothing to worry about"; this complacency is the worse danger to their own security.
All mechanical and electrical systems can fail partially or completely and therefore
the reports we have heard on preplanning for emergencies must obviously include
routine checking for maintenance, as well as testing for efficiency.
Many companies are gradually reducing their security staff for economic reasons
and perhaps considering the employment of outside contracting companies as a secure
alternative, but total reliance on any form of control can be equally dangerous. There
must always be a duality of protection, namely someone within the company monitoring
external contractors or equally considering the value of using external consultants to
carry out random checks against the capabilities of the in-house management and
security stuff etc. We have been doing this for one major U.K. company for 21 years
and they still believe we earn our fees!
Besides the museum's staff or management, they are many other people who might
consider the building to be a useful target. When I decide to set up the "Parnell Society
for the protection of the Porcupine" we will find that in the Natural History Museum
there is a range of stuffed porcupines which I would consider an insult to my society.
It would be easy for me to create an incident, by means of arson for instance, at
the Natural History Museum in order to draw attention to the fate of these poor stuffed
animals. There are probably too many idiosyncratic individuals in our society today
who would not hesitate to resort to such methods for the sake of their own publicity.
The ease with which one can obtain information is another key factor. Plans and
illustrations of famous historic museums and contemporary buildings are easily
obtainable from books, magazines and learned articles etc. There is nothing to stop a
determined arsonist from spending hours preplanning an attack and surveying the site
or building in order to reinforce his knowledge, as if he were a normal member of the
public. Catalogues of historic buildings and their contents only seek to encourage an
avaricious collector or an arsonist needing a media "highlight" to promote a cause.
There are probably many architects who intensely dislike the completed extension
to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and I might be considered one of them, as
I was a member of the design team that won the competition to build it and was then
sacked after the Prince of Wales referred to it as a "carbuncle on the face of a favourite
But, please believe me, that it is not the reason why I have chosen this building to
demonstrate the architectural aspects of designing for the reduction of fire and arson.
It is a recently completed museum building and one for which one should have
considered and analysed the risks of arson, attacks and other threats while it was being
During the day, recently, I spent half an hour walking round and round the building
taking detailed photographs of it, its locks, its security devices, access via external
window, its ventilation system; everything that could have made me stand out as
potential arsonist, and during the whole of that time I was not stopped by anyone or
questioned. So much for security surveillance and personal controls!
In walking round the building, I naturally envisaged the opportunities that the
design could give me to create a diversion, to create a panic within the building if the
public were present, to create a diversion so that an object could be stolen, to cause
damage to the building, to fill it with smoke, as smoke is the worse element that can
be let into a museum, especially one with paintings and fabrics. It would have created
total chaos, considerable damage and yet I doubt an insurance claim would be accepted,
as policies only cover the structure of the building.
With a series of slides, I would like to show you the elements which I consider are
failures of the architectural design and give opportunities to the arsonist. I believe that,
by showing these slides, I can demonstrate that there is a need for preplanning at the
design stage to consider all potential incidents, by creating scenarios to analyse the
design, again and again, until the probability risk is reduced to a minimum.
In conclusion, I would like to remind the audience that all building legislation for
fire safety is based on the assumption that the incident has occurred and therefore that
control mechanisms are the desired consequences for human life and property protection
following such an incident. There is far more to be gained by considering what one can
do to reduce the risk of a fire to a minimum before the incident, even to hope that it
will never occur. Preplanning, developing scenarios, defining the risks and evaluating
the protective means in operation are the key, but personal psychology must play an
The same attitude can be applied to considering the reduction of risks from arson
and theft, and it is as much an element of the design of the building and the behaviour
of the people within that building, be they visitors or staff, that provides the new
challenge for architects wanting to improve the services offered to their clients in the
historic buildings and museum Held.
Christian Nils ROBERT
Historic buildings and their artistic contents have always been subject to threats
from man and nature, notably to man's despoilment of his own heritage. Historic sites,
objects and monuments have been destroyed, damaged and misappropriated as a result
of wars, revolutions and ideological upheavals in both past and present times. At a time
when regular and irregular or uncontrolled armies are committing the worst acts of
vandalism against the pre-eminent symbols of certain cultures, it may seem absurd to
focus on crimes and wilful damage done by individuals or groups outside the
framework of armed conflicts.
It is, however, urgently necessary to study and closely monitor the contemporary
phenomena of covert crime - frequently unacknowledged, rarely punished and
sometimes even given the seal of economic approval - as ethically inadmissible, legally
questionable or blatantly illicit actions are taken against monuments and their artistic
contents, actions which are detrimental to the past, of which we are the guarantors and
trustees vis-a-vis future generations, rather than the owners.
Five main points emerged from our discussions, over the past three days, and I
shall attempt to summarise them.
1. Promotion or public awareness and education
A number of speakers took up an idea which has been promoted by other
organisations, including the Council of Europe, which is to emphasise the historical,
cultural and social importance of the symbols of our architectural, aesthetic and cultural
past, or simply of bygone lifestyles: churches, thatched cottages or castles, retables,
jewels and objects of everyday life must be the subject of close protection which is
proportionate to their contribution to the understanding of our history. If we have no
clear idea of where we are heading, we should at least be familiar with the road that has
already been travelled. However, the idea of promoting public awareness of
conservation and understanding of historic buildings and their artistic contents implies
that policies and strategies be subtle and diversified.
It would be dangerous not to distinguish between various population targets to
which consciousness-raising programmes should be addressed. It may be noted for the
record that while generalised programmes for the promotion of public awareness have
already been carried out with some success, the fact remains that fragmented and
individualised schemes must be devised for such diverse segments of the public as the
employees of public and private collections and museums;
visitors (by age group);
collectors, art dealers, auctioneers, experts;
emergency relief personnel;
experts and technicians responsible for the technical aspects of protecting the
historical, aesthetic and architectural heritage;
2. Prevention and protection
The colloquy may have blazed a trail in this field and has amply demonstrated,
through its multi-disciplinary wealth, that we have available to us today a very broad
range of means for the prevention of, and protection against, crime and wilful damage
to the historical, architectural and aesthetic heritage.
It is hardly necessary to recall that criminologists currently agree on the fact that
organisational, architectonic and electronic methods of protection and prevention have
made it possible to substantially reduce the incidence of criminal acts causing serious
damage to persons and property and that this has been achieved by means of situational
analysis and systematic study of the instruments of damage, the risks incurred and the
In this respect, a distinction should be drawn as far as protection is concerned,
between buildings or fixed monuments, on the one hand, and furnishings, i.e.
transferable and saleable items, on the other.
Buildings are protected mainly against the natural elements, but it would be wrong
to underestimate the need for protection against conscious or unconscious acts of
negligence attributable to the installation of inadequate or unreliable equipment (such
as heating and lighting). A paradox which should be pointed out in this respect
concerns the very substantial increase in the risk of fire in historic buildings during
restoration works. Historic buildings must be given both active and passive protection
by means of surrounding amenities and internal equipment. The risk of fire caused by
arson, accident or negligence is still a substantial one. and the location of such
buildings, in the fabric of an urban area, which is usually densely built up and unsuited
for such purposes, reduces the speed of intervention, hence the need for on-the-spot
emergency equipment and independent facilities.
The protection of monuments against wilful damage (graffiti, tags, etc) has been
substantially improved recently, and special coating substances arc currently available
to facilitate the repair of walls damaged by vandals.
The protection of furnishings, objets d'art and collector's items poses greater
problems, in view of their possible removal. Human surveillance obviously remains one
of the best forms of protection. However, it presupposes human resources which are
unfortunately no longer available to museums, churches, collections, etc. The following
remedies for this shortcoming may be mentioned:
a. mechanical surveillance, involving the installation of obstacles between the
object and the visitor, keeping it at a distance and providing physical
protection. In this case, the advantage of optimum protection may come into
conflict with the objectives pursued by the actual display of the object: it
becomes untouchable (whereas a religious object could or was meant to be
touched), and visual perception is diminished (which may be harmful to
pictorial and aesthetic works);
b. electronic detection devices, as an extension of, but not a full substitute for
human intervention, which can be set off inadvertently. The environment, the
surrounding area and the object itself may be monitored in different ways.
Current improvements in these technical means of control should make it
increasingly possible to maintain objects or works in their original cultural setting
instead of removing them to museums, where they are out of place.
By way of example of a comprehensive protection/prevention strategy in respect
of the artistic contents of buildings, one should mention or be reminded of:
the indisputable importance of inventories, irrespective of the selection criteria
applied (national treasure, asset of national or universal interest, etc);
the importance of the means of information which may be available from a data
bank concerning objects which have disappeared, have been stolen or unlawfully
moved, for the purpose of finding the object, the person or persons responsible as
well as the owner. Indeed, some works of art have no known owner and could be
withdrawn from public display for as long as they are not returned to their
the up-to-date advanced technique for marking the most diverse objects, using a
scientific method which makes it easy to identify the origin and ownership of a
stolen work. Here again, criminological research confirms that the marking of
even the most common of objects considerably reduces the risk of theft and hence
their circulation via illegal channels operated by thieves and receivers of stolen
To prove the necessity for such strategies, suffice it to mention three examples of
the current large-scale transfer of objets d'art in Europe. After Central America and
China, Eastern Europe is now being plundered, while the plunder of Italy is continuing.
The factual data compiled in two reports are overwhelmingly conclusive. The North
has pillaged the South; the West is pillaging the East, taking advantage of a situation
of economic poverty, making rare and coveted assets the centre of a traffic which is not
clearly outlawed, owing to the lack of coherent national legislation and the failure of
states to ratify effective international instruments which are directly applicable.
Church property is also frequently subject to thefts, which have increased in
intensity and scale over the last 15 years, in the wake of developments in the art market
which act as a powerful incentive to unlawful removal for the sake of profitable resale.
These three examples call for urgent solutions in order to curtail, if not stop a
shocking cultural haemorrhage, which should moreover be systematically and rigorously
condemned by the ethical codes of curators, experts, art dealers and collectors.
As insurance is based on the principle of intervention in the event of the occurrence
of a foreseen risk, for the purpose of repairs or compensation, this economic and social
activity has less than unambiguous links with historic buildings and their artistic
contents. Is insurance possible? Against what risks? If so, for what amount? This calls
for a number of clarifications. Insurance is a poorly understood activity, held to be
lacking in transparency, which deserves to be the subject of training, information and
dissemination. Despite the economic, social and cultural importance of this type of
insurance, there is an almost complete lack of case studies, risk typologies, risk
assessments and forecasting models.
For whatever purpose it may serve, a distinction should be made between insurance
for partial damage to movable property, which can be repaired (restored) by a system
of payments, insurance for destruction, with all the problems involved in the calculation
of value, especially when the object is irreplaceable, and real estate insurance for the
purpose of the restoration or even the reconstruction of an historic building. Emphasis
was placed on the importance and advantages of the current possibility of insuring
historic buildings and pans of their artistic contents, taking into account a range of risks
which are not confined to crime and wilful damage, but may also include damage
caused by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, storms, lightning, etc. A degree of
transparency in the information available on the foreseeability of the various risks would
be highly desirable, especially for property owned by local authorities.
4. Criminal sanctions
With regard to crime and wilful damage, one might have expected to see excessive
claims made in the name of criminal law, currently much in demand and for the wrong
reason, in the most diverse fields and for the defence of scattered, collective interests
which, in its conventional form it is not capable of handling effectively. It seems
sensible to dwell on general and specific aspects of technical prevention, in order to
avert the deterioration, destruction or disappearance of elements of the architectural and
artistic heritage, rather than resort to criminal law, in terms of mere lip service.
Indeed, criminal law has a number of conceptual weaknesses as it is relies on civil
law in property matters, and major difficulties exist regarding its application. Its results
are highly doubtful in terms of both general deterrence and specific deterrence ("I do
not think that an adult criminal can be educated", to quote Professor F. SCAPARRO)
and make criminal law an inadequate instrument for the protection of property whose
essential value is primarily collective, and a fragile means of dealing with offences of
a clever and consensual nature (theft and resale). The success rate in elucidating thefts
of works of art is, moreover, rather low and cannot be higher than 5%. Criminal law
has, and must continue to play only a peripheral role in this field. Prison, pardon or
indifference will not save us from misdeeds and acts of vandalism: the prevention of
such acts calls for a more arduous line of approach involving concordance between
words and deeds, and in this respect it has to be acknowledged that our mass behaviour
with regard to the built, aesthetic environment could sometimes be akin to vandalism;
certain forms of tourism were mentioned.
5. Legal aspects
Over the last 20 years or so, a succession of important works have attempted to
make their mark on international law in Europe and throughout the world, in the fight
against the traffic of works of art, and particularly against theft and the fencing of stolen
goods. For the time being, it is difficult to take stock of this question in an
authoritative manner. It seems to be doomed to withstand both cyclical fluctuations in
time and political fluctuations in space, ranging from a moderate and faintly
interventionist liberalism to rigorous protectionism.
Although the existence of bona fide purchases is a major obstacle to solving this
problem, the fact remains that an effort to clean up the art market is highly desirable,
and different methods are moreover envisaged in various legal instruments, such as the
uniform and specific civil rules relating to the restitution of cultural assets;
requirement of proof of manifest care by the purchaser;
compensation procedure in the event of restitution;
uniform extension of the prescription period for the recovery of property, or indeed
non-applicability of statutory limitation to certain assets of great value.
International co-operation in this field is fully justified. However, it is not certain
that it has to be based on the model of "mutual assistance in criminal matters", the
current achievements of which are modest to say the least.
By way of conclusion, allow me to borrow from Francoise CHOAY's history of
heritage protection 6 the following two sentences which, to my mind, perfectly sum up
the spirit of our debates:
"The acquisition of a proper perspective with regard to the buildings of the past
calls for a long period of apprenticeship which cannot be shortened: which is necessary
if familiarity is to be replaced by respect" and
"The preservation of ancient monuments is first and foremost a state of mind".
Frmnvouc fHOAY: "L'allfxorir <lu palrimoinr". Scuil. Pint IW2.
The participants in the colloquy on the protection of historic buildings and their
artistic contents against crime and wilful damage, having analysed the problems raised
in an interdisciplinary manner, transmit to the Council of Europe, to the member States
of the European Cultural Convention and to those taking part in the CSCE process, the
following urgent recommendations:
1. To focus prevention efforts chiefly on education and raising awareness of the
public at large on the existence, integrity, conservation, respect for, and survival
of, the cultural heritage.
2. To coordinate international and national efforts in order to clean up the
international art market (prevention of theft, pillage, illicit exportation, successive
purchase and resale of goods, restitution, compensation), bearing in mind the
current lack of co-operation of work undertaken, which is orientated in multiple
directions (in particular, revision of the Hague Convention, promotion of the
UNESCO and of the Council of Europe Conventions, international private law,
homogenisation of the principles of the national substantial law, European
Community law, Unidroit, Resolution of the Institute of International Law - Basle,
2 September 1992).
3. To improve the knowledge of the effects of natural hazards as well as human
activities on the cultural heritage, with particular attention being granted to case-
studies, events and other accidents occurring to monuments or elements of heritage.
4. To establish a typology of possible risks with particular attention granted to crime
and wilful damage.
5. To promote precise information on the evaluation of possible risks which
monuments, museums, different collections and their contents face, in order to
establish forecasting models for insurance purposes.
6. To stimulate studies on the regulation of security measures designed for historical
monuments, in order for them to benefit from conditions which will allow them to
continue to play a role related to their specificity and to their conservation.
7. To establish and disseminate general information on the nature, the contents and
the state of work in progress concerning the conception, the use of rooms and
buildings as well as security equipment and systems, materials and any other item
which may be of interest for subsequent use by the heritage.
8. To promote a multidisciplinary study of approaches to prevention, according to a
global model, using all human, physical and electronic means in order to record the
probability of events which can cause damage and to organise the prevention of
risks. The "risk management"- model, well known in private sector industry,
should be considered in the context of the organisation of the security of
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS / LISTE DE PARTICIPANTS
BELGIUM / BELGIQUE
M. Chris ADDIERS, Lieutenant Ing6nieur, Sapeurs-pompiers d'Anvers, Sint-
Jacobsmarkt 58-60, B-2000 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/233.38.15 Fax: 03/233.75.02
M. Francis BRENDERS, Inspecteur BML, Copemicuslaan 1, B-2018 ANTWERPEN
M. Frank BREUGELMANS, Cerberus N.V., Paepsemlaan 18G, B-1070 BRUSSEL
Tel: 02/520.02.48 Fax: 02/520.37.10
M. Gustaaf BRIERS, Bestuur der Gebouwen, Kunstlaan 53, B-1040 BRUSSEL
Tel: 02/507.46.94 Fax: 02/507.45.63
Mme Marline CARLIER, 45 rue de la Liberation, B-7080 LA BOUVERIE
M. Carl CHRISTIAENS, Marketing Manager, BATS, Pare Industriel du Sart-Tilman,
12 Avenue des Noisetiers, B-4031 ANGLEUR
Tel: 041/67.08.88 Fax: 041/67.13.14
Mme Nadine COLMANT, Micro Trace, Bd General Washington 26-28, B-1030
Tel: 02/245.05.63 Fax: 02/776.12.42
M. Bob COOLS, Bourgmestre d'Anvers, Grote Markt 1, B-2000 ANTWERPEN
M. Paul CRESPIN, Directeur du Complexe Touristique de Blegny, rue Lambert
Marlet 23, B-4670 BLEGNY
Tel: 041/87.43.33 Fax: 091/23.06.45
M. Jan DE BLOCK, Dienst Monumentenzorg, Onderstraat 22, B-9000 GENT
Tel: 091/33.00.42 Fax: 091/23.06.45
M. J. DECOCQ, Trint Electronics, 't Hoge 49, B-8500 KORTRLTK
Tel: 058/20.29.64 Fax: 058/22.40.80
Mme Eveline DE HAES, Koning Boudewijnstichting, Brederodestraat 21, B-1000
Tel: 322/511.18.40 Fax: 322/511.52.21
M. DEENEKENS, Architect Munumentenzorg, Gemeentebestuur Mechelen,
Befferstraat 4, B-2800 MECHELEN
M. Raimond DE GRIM, Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen, Desguinlei 33, B-
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
M. Yvan DE MESMAEKER, Civil Engineer, Security Consultant, Security Management
Consulting, Ijzerstraat 35, B-1560 BELGIUM
Tel: 02/466.00.34 Fax: 02/657.38.44
M. Guy DE MOOR, Architectenbureau bvba, Transvaalstraat 45, B-2600 BERCHEM
Tel: 03/218.73.88 Fax: 03/230.06.00
M. DEMUYS, Kolonel, Brandweer Antwerpen, Sint-Jacobsmarkt 58-60, B-2000
Tel: 03/233.38.15 Fax: 03/233.75.02
Mme Sabine DENISSEN, (Diamantmuseum). Tumhoutsebaan 274, B-
M. Francois DE PATER, Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen, Desguinlei 33,
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
Mrs Lydia DEVEEN-DE PAUW. Membre effectif de la CRMS de la Region de
Bruxelles-Capitale. Kluisstraal 50 bus 3, B-1050 BRUSSEL
Tel: 02/648.62.23 Fax: 02/346.53.45
Mme Leen DE VREESE. NVBB. Pare Scientifique. B-1348 LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE
M. Michel DE WAHA, Membre Effectif de la Commission Royale des Monuments et
des Sites (CRMS) de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale. Av. Capitaine Fossoul 12, B-
Tel: 02/523.53.08 Fax: 02/346.53.45 (woe + do)
M. Michel DIERCKXSENS. Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen,
Desguinlei 33. B-2018 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
M. Gilbert DUMONT. Codine S.A., Rue du Rivage 34, B-1300 WAVRE
Tel: 010/22.62.67 Fax: 010/22.62.69
M. Jozef ENGELEN. Dircclcur. Polilicoplcidingsccntrum, Noorderlaan 500. B-2030
Tel: 03/541.01.00 Fax: 03/541.37.83
Mme Doreen GAUBLOMME, Secretariat Culturele Zaken, Sint-Pietersplein 10, B-9000
Tel: 091/21.19.16 Fax: 091/20.08.22
M. Paul GEVERS, Kempenstraat 9, B-2460 KASTERLEE
Tel: 014/85.20.24 Fax: 014/85.30.60
Mme Miek GOOSSENS, Inspecteur BML, Oude Gentweg 75, B-8000 BRUGGE
Tel: 050/33.52.81 Fax: 050/34.53.05
M. COSSET, 13 rue des Quatre Bras, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. HERMANN, Limotec, Kasteelstraat 39a, 8750 HULSTE HARELBEKE
Tel: 056/70.25.40 Fax: 056/70.40.%
Mme Rita JALON, Nationaal Scheepvaartmuseum, Steenplein 1, B-2000 ANTWERPEN
Mme Franchise JURION, Conseiller au Cabinet du Secretaire G6n6ral, Region de
Bruxelles-Capitale, rue du Capitaine Crestel 35, B-1050 BRUSSEL
M. Guido KNOPS, Directeur bij de Koning Boudewijnstichting, Brederodestraat 21, B-
Tel: 322/511.18.40 Fax: 322/511.52.21
M. Luc LAQUIERE, Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen, Desguinlei 33, B-
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
M. Edwin LEFEVRE, Politic Stad Gent, Staakskenstraat 45, B-9000 GENT
Tel: 091/24.64.30 Fax: 091/24.65.04
Studio LENAERTS, Weg naar Ellikom 16, B-5670 MEEUWEN
Tel: 011/79.26.43 Fax: 011/79.26.44
M. Roger LUYCKX, Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen, Desguinlei 33, B-
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
Mme Anne MALLIET, Architecte BML, Copernicuslaan 1, B-2018 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/224.60.11 Fax: 03/224.60.21
M. A. MATTHYS, Inspecteur G6neial, Division des Monuments, Sites et Fouilles,
Region Wallone, 1 rue des Brigades d'Irlande, B-5100 JAMBES
Tel: 081/33.21.11 Fax: 081/33.21.10
M. Jozef MELSENS, Stevens Delannoystraat 9, B-1020 BRUSSEL
Mme le Commissaire MOULIN, 13 rue des Quatre Bras, Bureau 126, B-1000
M. Paul OLIVIER, Safety Engineer, AIB Vincotte, A. Drouartlaan 27-29/B, B-1160
Tel: 02/674.57.11 Fax: 02/674.59.59
Mme Marline PIETERAERENS, Dienst voor het kunstpatrimonium Oost-Vlaanderen,
Vogelmarkt 17, B-9000 GENT
Tel: 091/25.30.01 Fax: 091/23.85.85
M. R. POOLS, TELE-BREVA, De dry dreven 251, B-3520 ZONHOVEN
Tel: 011/81.36.05 Fax: 011/82.15.75
Mme Marcella RAETS. Dienst Toerisme Maaseik, Markt 45, B-3680 MAASEIK
Tel: 089/56.63.72 Fax: 089/56.39.82
M. Daniel RICH. Mouflonlaan 55. B-3090 OVERUSE
M. Luc ROBIJNS. Dienst v(x>r net Kunstpatrimonium Oostvlaanderen, Vogelmarkt 17,
Tel: 091/25.30.01 Fax: 091/23.85.85
Mme Annemaric ROSENBACHER. Koning Boudcwijnstichting. Brederodestraat 21, B-
Tel: 322/511.18.40 Fax: 322/511.52.21
M. Leon SMETS. Provinciaal Museum voor Religieuze Kunst, Begijnhof 59, B-3800
Tel: 011/68.85.79 Fax: 011/69.14.59
M. Philippe SPEECKAERT. Welrickendcdrecf 29. B-3090 OVERUSE
Tel: 02/647.76.75 Fax: 02/646.53.50
M. Rulgcr STEENMEIJER. Klcinc Pieler Potstraal 21, B-2(XX) ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/225.26.40 Fax: 03/225.26.71
M. Herman STIJNEN, Koning Boudewijnslichling. Brcdcrodcstraal 21. B-1000
Tel: 322/511.18.40 Fax: 322/511.52.21
M. Marc THIENPONT, Adminislraleur Dcldgud, U-Sofl Security Engineering NV.
Hasscllwcg 66. B-36(X) GENK
M. Koen VAN BALEN, Ing6nieur-Architecte, Universite Catholique de Louvain,
Kasteel van Arenberg, B-3001 LEUVEN
Tel: 016/22.09.31 Fax: 016/29.00.17
M. Lucien VAN BEYLEN, Secretaire, Politieopleidingscentrum, Noorderlaan 500, B-
Tel: 03/541.01.00 Fax: 03/541.37.83
M. Gudrun VANBRANDEN, Inspecteur BML, Buitendienst Oost-Vlaanderen
M. Marc VAN CANEGHEM, Politic Stad Gent, Staakskenstraat 45, B-9000 GENT
Tel: 091/24.64.30 Fax: 091/24.65.04
M. le Baron Andries VAN DEN ABEELE, President du Comite Beige d'ICOMOS,
Vice-President de la Commission Royale des Monuments et Sites, President du Centre
pour la Conservation R. Lemaire, Stijn Streuvelsstraat 56, B-8000 BRUGGE
Tel: 50/33.81.43 Fax: 50/33.90.93
Museum MAYER-VAN DEN BERGH, Gasthuisstraat 19, B-2000 ANTWERPEN
M. Didier VAN EYLL, Secretaire d'Etat de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale charge des
Monuments et des Sites, rue Capitaine Crestel 35, B-1050 BRUSSEL
M. Andre VAN DEN KERKHOVE, Conservator Bijlokemuseum, Godshuizenlaan 2,
M. Marc VAN RIEL, ADT Security Systems, Frankrijklei 199, B-2000 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/231.32.72 Fax: 03/231.34.56
M. Daniel VAN RIET, c/o Nordstern N.V., Luxemburgstraat 47-51, B-1040 BRUSSEL
Tel: 02/513.40.30 Fax: 02/513.80.51
M. VANSINA, Intercom Distibutie Noord, Electriciteitsstraat 68, B-2800 MECHELEN
M. Patrick VAN WATERSCHOOT, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Zandstraat 3, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. SIRJACOBS, t Pauluskerk, Veemarkt 11, B-2000 A'PEU
M. VAN STEENBRUGGE, 13 rue des Quatre Bras, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. R. VERBERCKMOES, J. Liesstraat 23, B-2108 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 02/642.67.53 Fax: 02/646.49.40
Mme Edith VERMEIREN, Koning Boudewijnstichting, Brederodestraat 21, B-1000
Tel: 322/511.18.40 Fax: 322/511.52.21
M. Luc VERMOESEN, Deskundige monumentenzorg, OCMW Antwerpen,
Ballaerslraat 35, B-2018 ANTWERPEN
Tel: 03/238.99.80 Fax: 03/240.07.12
M. Sieg VLAMINCK, Koningsstraat 17, B-8000 BRUGGE
M. Carlo WILLEMS, Departement voor Werken, Stad Antwerpen, Desguinlei 33, B-
Tel: 03/238.78.60 Fax: 03/238.64.59
Mr Charles GRUCHY, Director General, Canadian Conservation Institute, Department
of Communications. 1030 Innes Road, Ottawa KIA OC8. CANADA
Tel: (613)998.3721 Fax: (613)998.4721
Mr Andreas PAPADOPOULOS, Principal Administrative Officer, Ministry of the
Tel: 3572/30.35.48 Fax: 3572/45.34.65
CZECH AND SLOVAK FEDERAL REPUBLIC / REPUBL1OUE FEDERATIVE
TCHEOUE ET SLOVAOUE
Mrs Kamila HUSNER, Independent Memorabilia Union, PRAHA
Mr Pavel JIRASEK. Ministerstvo kultury, Valdstejnsk6 nam. 4, 118 11 PRAHA 1
Tel: 422/5132445 Fax: 422/532521
Mr Jozef MEDVECKY. Historian d'Art, Academic Slovaque des Sciences. Instilut
d'Histoire de TArt. Dubrnvska ccsta 9. 81364 BRATISLAVA 1
Tel: 00427/378-340-5 Fax: 00427/499-635
Ms Jana SOUCKOVA, Chairperson, International Council of Museums. C/echoslovak
Committee. Bcll6msk<S nam. 1. 110 00 PRAHA 1
Tel: 422/235.88.61 Fax: 422/236.94.89
FINLAND / FINI.ANDK
Mr ANTIPOIKA. SF-HELSINKI
M. Robert LECAT, Inspecteur G6n6ral de I'Administration des Affaires Culturelles,
Ministere de 1'Education Nationale et de la Culture, 4 rue d'Aboukir, F-75002 PARIS
Tel: 1/401.57.739 Fax: 1/401.57.762
M. J.M. SCHMITT, Institut d'Etudes Supeneures des Arts, 111 rue du Faubourg Saint
Honor6, F-75008 PARIS
Tel: 1/184.108.40.206 Fax: 1/42.25.06.16
GERMANY / ALLEMAGNE
Mr Herbert TIEDEMANN, Engineering Consultant, Stefan-Rottaler-Strasse 5, D-8052
Mr Kyriakos PAPAIOANNOU, Professor, Aristotle University, P.O. BOX 429, GR-
Tel: 031/99.1576 Fax: 031/99.15.05
HOLY SEE / SAINT SIEGE
Mr Tommaso MAURO, Professeur, Via Savoia 78,1-00198 ROMA
Mr Eamonn KELLY, Archaeologist/curator, National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street,
Tel: 1/618811 ext 309 Fax: l/r/66116
ITALY / ITALIE
M. Alberto DE REGIBUS, Capitaine, Comando Carabinieri per la tutela del patrimonio
artistico, Piazza Sant'Ignazio 152,1-00186 ROMA
M. Fulvio SCAPARRO, Professeur, Universita degli Studi - Istituto di Psicologia, Via
Large 19,1-20122 MILANO
Tel: 2/58.30.70.09 Fax: 2/220.127.116.11
NETHERLANDS / PAYS BAS
Mr H.B. RICHTERS, Director, VHD, Post box 361, NL-7300 HA APELDOORN
Tel: 55/79.25.74 Fax: 55/21.46.44
Mr Hugo HUGHS, Engineer, TBBS, Eemnesserweg 56, Postbus 54, NL-3740 AB
POLAND / POLOGNE
Mr Wojciech KOWALSKI, Petnomocnik Rzadu do Spraw Polskiego, Dziedzictwa
Kulturanego Za Granifa, Krakowskie Przedmiescie 15-17, 00950 WARSZAWA
Tel: 22/26.19.24 Fax: 22/26.17.02
ROMANIA / ROUMANIE
Mme Eugenia S.M. ILIESCU, Architecte, Direction des Monuments, Ensembles et Sites
Historiques, Str. lenachita Vacarescu 16, Bucarest, BP. 53, ROUMANIE
Tel: 13.70.08 Fax: 13.70.08
SLOVENIA / SLOVEN1E
Mrs Jelka PIRKOVIC, Director, Institute for Conservation of Natural and Cultural
Heritage, Plecnikov TRG 2, PO Box 176, 61000 LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
Tel: 3861/213.012 Fax: 3861/213.120
SWEDEN / SUEDE
Ms Kerslin ALEXANDERSSON. Architect. The Central Board of Antiquities,
Box 5405. S-11484 STOCKHOLM
Tel: 8/783.9017 Fax: 8/783.9079
SWITZERLAND / SU1SSE
Mr Christian-Nils ROBERT, Professeur & I'Universitd de Geneve, Facultg de Droit,
Wpartement de Droil P6nal. 102 bd Carl Vogt, CH-1211 GENEVE 4
Tel: 022/7058550 Fax: 022/3204620
UNITED KINGDOM / ROYAUMK-UNI
Mr Bryan DOVEY. Museums Security Adviser. Museums & Galleries Commission, 16
Queen Anne's Gale. UK-SW1H 9AA LONDON
Tel: 071/233.4200 Fax: 071/233.3686
Mr Stewart KIDD, Director. Fire Protection Association. 140 Aldcrsgalc Street. UK-
EC 1A 4HX LONDON
Tel: 71/61.01.487 Fax: 71/60.63.759
Mr Steven PARISSIEN. Education Secretary. The Georgian Group. 31 Spilal Square.
UK-H 6DY LONDON
Tel: 071/377.1722 Fax: 071.247.3441
Mr Alan PARNELL, RIBA Architect, Director of Fire Check Consultants, 12 Tonbridge
Chambers, Pembury Road, Tonbridge, UK-KENT TN9 2HZ
Tel: 732/771.609 Fax: 732/771.612
Mr Gordon HENLEY, Head of General Crime Group, INTERPOL, 50, Quai Achille
Lignon, F-69006 LYON
Tel: 72.44.72.09 Fax: 18.104.22.168
DIRECTORATE OF MONUMENTS AND LANDSCAPES OF THE MINISTRY
OF THE FLEMISH COMMUNITY / L'ADMINISTRATION DBS MONUMENTS
ET SITES DU MINISTERS DE LA COMMUNAUTE FLAMANDE
M. Edgard GOEDLEVEN, Directeur d'Administration, Bestuur Monumenten en
Landschappen, Zandstraat 3, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. M. FIERLAFIJN, Directeur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen, Zandstraat 3,
B-1000 BRUSSEL (
M. P. LAGAISSE, Adviseur-adjoint, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Zandstraat 3, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. Paul VAN LINDT, Adviseur-adjoint, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Zandstraat 3, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. L. TACK, Administrateur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen, Zandstraat 3, B-
Mme. A.M. LEIJSSEN, Administratrice, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Zandstraat 3, B-1000 BRUSSEL
M. R. BUELENS, Inspecteur-adjoint, Bestuur Monumenten En Landschappen,
Waaistraat 1, B-3000 LEU YEN
M. J. BRAEKEN, Administrateur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen, Zandstraat 3,
M. M. CELIS, Administrateur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen, Zandstraat 3,
Mme C. VAN THILLO, Inspecteur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Minderbrocderstraat 6, B-3800 SINT TRUIDEN
Mme L. WYLLEMAN, Inspecteur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen, Gebrocders
Van Eyckstraat 2-4-6, B-9000 GENT
M. MANDERYCK, Inspecteur, Bestuur Monumenten en Landschappen,
Copernicuslaan 1, B-2018 ANTWERPEN
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / CONSEIL DE L'EUROPE
670075 STRASBOURG CEDEX
PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY / ASSEMBLEE PARLEMENTA1RE
Committee for Culture and Education / Commission de la Culture et de 1'Education
Mr Takis HADJIDEMETRIOU, BP 5616, NICOSIA, CYPRUS
M. Georges LEMOINE, DepuuS-Maire, Maine de Chartres. Hfltel de Ville, F-28000
DIRECTORATE OF EDUCATION. CULTURE AND SPORT / DIRECTION DE
L'ENSEIGNEMENT. DE LA CULTURE ET DP SPORT
M. Raymond WEBER, Director / Directeur
Division for Cultural Heritage / Division du Patrimoine Culture!
Mme Annachiara CERRI, Administrator / Administratrice
Mrs Diane BOURCIER. Assistant / Assistante
Interpreters / Interpreter
M. Daniel ANDRE. 23 rue Slullacrt. B-1060 BRUXELLES
Mme Esther HUHN-BATES, Vcldlaan 15, B-3090 OVERUSE
Mrs May McKENNA. Claverlcy Grove 28-Finchley. UK-N3 2DH LONDON
M. Michel VAN DIEVEL. 167 av. Parmenticr. B-1150 BRUXELLES
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nlawful acts are a constant threat to the
cultural heritage and are very much in the
public eye at the moment, as much for the
consequences these acts may have, as for
the actual damage done.
The colloquy held in Antwerp provided an
opportunity to assess the situation in Europe
and to take into account the causes of wilful
damage. Its merit wasihe chance it afforded
to review both movable and immovable
heritage in an interdisciplinary manner and
to bring together policemen, lawyers, pro-
tection experts and professionals specialised
in the technology which can be applied to
The colloquy conclusions and recommenda-
tions provided the basis for future intergov-
ernmental work by the Council of Europe in
this field and notably for the drafting of an
international legal instrument on the pro-
tection of the cultural heritage against
Council of Europe Press