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How was the Church of Sweden transformed into a national cultural heritage?


In 2000 a new regime for the material church heritage was installed. It meant that the Church of Sweden became responsible for the preservation of all its churches. However, the state now pays (460 mil) for the "over costs" that result from the Heritage Law. The motive is that churches represent a cultural heritage common to all.

The major aim of this project is to conceive, describe and explain the process that, by the end of the 20th century, made it possible to recognize and formalise churches as secular cultural heritage emancipated from its religious context.


The project is organised in two chronological and four thematic parts. The chronological parts cover the periods 1828-1930 and 1920-2014. One thematic study compares restoration and musealisation of three churches since the 18th century. The second considers the making of a church antiquarian profession, and the third the conceptual foundation of the current heritage regime. The fourth thematic study delves into the future of the new regime.

The dominant method is a source critical analysis of published and unpublished sources. Additional methods are analysis of pictures; site observations and interviews. The project provides new knowledge about the transformation of churches into a national secular heritage. It has theoretical significance by developing a new concept of musealisation. It also clarifies the preconditions for formulating the values of churches and is highly relevant for considering the long-term sustainability of and alternatives to the current regime.

Page Manager: Linda Fröberg|Last update: 4/15/2014

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