Will Germany stop the sale of high-quality violins?

Will Germany stop the sale of high-quality violins?


norman lebrecht

October 13, 2015

The German Culture Minister Monika Grütters has proposed a law that will prohibit the export of cultural artefacts valued at more than €150,000 ($165,900) and older than 50 years without a special government license.

The law is furiously opposed by the German fine-art market, which faces wipeout. We’re seeking clarification as to whether it will – as it appears – also include valuable musical instruments.

You don’t get much in the way of pedigree violins for €150,000. Many German musicians will be unable to sell their pedigree Italian or French instruments abroad.

Monika Grütters


  • Simon S. says:

    The discussion on this law proposal has been ongoing for a couple of months, the original proposal has been withdrawn, a second version is in the process of discussion now (not yet in parliamentary proceedings). Some information in English is available here: http://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/EN/Artikel/2015/07_en/2015-07-17-protecting-culture-property_en.html?nn=811092

  • Holger H. says:

    You misinterpret the proposed law. The intention is not to forbid the export of these assets of world cultural heritage. The intention of the law is to CONTROL these exports.
    A sensible balance has to be found between the protection of private property and the protection of world cultural heritage.
    I personally lean to – if in doubt – slightly overweighing the aspect of protection of world cultural heritage.
    The 50 year limit btw is already an addendum in response to the previous proposal, after LIVING artists protested that they would lose their ability to freely sell their oeuvre world wide.