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„PCP Forum“, Guidelines, brochures, flyers

The Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) publishes its own journal entitled „PCP Forum“, which provides cultural institutions and other relevant partners with information on Protection of Cultural Property issues. PCP Guidelines serve as models and checklists for all work relative to cultural property protection. Since those working in this field often have to work on their own, these documents are a useful source of information. PCP guidelines are issued on request and where necessary.

Other Brochures, flyers, mobile display panels and photos on PCP-related topics as well as the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National Importance are available to order (see „Other publications“). You can also rent videos from the Electronic Media Center (EMC). Contact swisstopo directly for cultural property maps.

PCP Forum

PCP Forum - Journal for Protection of Cultural Property Issues

The Federal Office for Civil Protection publishes its own journal entitled "PCP Forum", which provides cultural institutions and other relevant partners with information on Protection of Cultural Property issues.

KGS Forum

PCP Forum no 39/2022 – Climate change and the protection of cultural property

After our coverage of the beneficial effects of water in the past issue of Forum, we will turn among other topics to the destructive force that water can unleash. But that’s not all… we want to address the effects of climate change on cultural property in general. As you will see from our contributions, on the European level, numerous research projects are underway using promising approaches. The future will show whether the foundations and measures we have developed will unfold the desired effects.

PCP Forum no 38/2022 - Water and the Protection of Cultural Property

Water is of essential, even universal significance: Without water, there would be no life on Earth. This element therefore has enormous importance for all cultures and civilizations. In its various forms, water can manifest itself as an existential, religious, destructive, or exhilarating force. Naturally, there are also connections between water and cultural property – which we will illustrate in the following with a few examples from the PCP Inventory. In the current issue of PCP Forum, we will consciously focus on the “positive” manifestations of objects in connection with water.

PCP Forum no. 37/2021 - Revision of the PCP Inventory 2021

At its meeting of October 13th, the Federal Council approved the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Importance (PCP Inventory). After 1988, 1995 and 2009, this is already the fourth edition of this Swiss Federal Inventory. It lists important cultural property in the areas of monument conservation and archaeology, together with collections in museums, archives and libraries for which measures to protect against risks caused by armed conflicts, disasters and emergency situations must be planned.

PCP Forum no 35/2020 - Cultural property shelters and emergency planning

One of the past failings in terms of cultural property protection was to think that everything was under control, that adequate measures were in place to respond to emergencies, and that their effectiveness was tested during exercises and drills. The continued loss of cultural property, however, proved that this thinking was misguided. Issue 35 of PCP Forum takes an in-depth look at two key protective measures: cultural property shelters and emergency planning, both in Switzerland and farther afield.

PCP Forum no 34/2020 – Baukultur and the protection of cultural property

According to the strategy which is being jointly developed by 15 federal agencies under the direction of the Federal Office of Culture (FOC), Baukultur refers to the past, present and future. It brings together various fields and requires them to step up their cooperation beyond the sometimes overly narrow confines of the discipline. In its Action Plan 2020–2023, the FOCP (Federal Office for the Protection of Cultural Property) stated that it would produce a publication devoted entirely to the subject. It would feature articles by Baukultur experts working in Switzerland, and document the ideas, objectives and activities of neighbouring countries, as well as the progress they have made. The publication would therefore serve as an interim report on Baukultur, the findings of which Switzerland and its neighbours could use to jointly plan and implement future measures.

PCP Forum no 33/2019 – Tourism and PCP

Tourism and cultural property protection can be mutually enhancing, their respective interests and objectives may sometimes collide. As concepts like cultural tourism, eco-tourism and ‘experience tourism’ show, the marketing, communication and preservation cultural heritage can co-exist in a constructive and complementary way. The most effective measure to safeguard valuable cultural assets is to (re-)use them in an appropriate and meaningful manner, as the regular maintenance work it implies tends to leave them less vulnerable to damage and disrepair. Increased tourism can be both a blessing and a curse. Social media and other advertising channels often attract such a large influx of visitors to a location that it ultimately suffers from tourism overkill. This observation has prompted many World Heritage Sites to take measures to curb visitor numbers. Yet, tourism can also be a source of opportunity for cultural property protection. The present issue of PCP Forum attempts to offer a balanced analysis of both sides of this argument.

PCP Forum no. 32/2019 - A musical PCP Forum

Music like language, art and dance is one of the most important forms of human communication. It is commonplace, transcends cultures, comes in an astonishing array of styles, is played on an equally astonishing array of instruments, and has the almost supernatural power to influence the listener’s emotions. From the sound of classical music in concert halls, of organ music in churches, of outdoor rock concerts, of music playing in the background while you cook or on your daily jog or music boxes lulling babies to sleep… the list is endless. Medicine and psychotherapy are increasingly harnessing the power of music, too. Film makers use it to heighten the impact of a scene, deploying emotive, suspenseful, discrete or loud music sequences depending on the mood they seek to convey. Many museums and exhibitions devote themselves to the subject. Buildings are constructed specifically for the performance of music, which have the right architectural acoustics to offer the audience the best possible listening experience. The present issue of PCP Forum endeavours to shed light on this multifaceted field and, of course, the steps taken to protect our audio heritage.

PCP Forum no. 31/2018 - Viticulture and the Protection of Cultural Property

Wine, its properties and effects have been part of the culture of humankind for thousands of years. Since time immemorial, it has been used as nourishment and a stimulant, a ritual draught, a source of employment and research, a subject in art and literature, and a drug. The present issue of PCP Forum celebrates the cultural history of wine and winegrowing and shows how this subject has become an integral part of important cultural documents, including UNESCO Conventions and Federal Inventories.

PCP Forum no. 30/2018 - Protection of Cultural Property and Textiles

For centuries, the Swiss textile industry was one of the country’s largest employers and exported its products all around the world. The present issue of PCP Forum explores the world of textiles from many different angles – research, theory, practice, training, mediation, archiving, conservation and social history. In doing so, it paints a fascinating picture of a multifaceted subject.

PCP Forum no. 29/2017 – The staging of cultural property

The term ‘staging’ originates in the world of theatre and describes the use of appropriate means to visually reinforce the impact of the work. Cultural property also lends itself to staging: It is important that staging accentuates cultural heritage in a positive way rather than using it for purely entertainment, commercial or manipulative ends.

PCP Forum no. 28/2017 - Cult of the Dead and Cultural Property Protection

Issue 28 of PCP Forum takes a closer look at the ‘Cult of the Dead’. The rituals and forms of expression that serve to honour, venerate and remember the deceased are as many as they are diverse, and can be found in all cultures around the world.

PCP Forum no. 27/2017 - A ‘Beastly’ PCP Forum – Animals and cultural property

Since the beginning of time, animals have occupied a special place in the human consciousness. This close relationship is also reflected in paintings, sculptures and figurative motifs, some of which are considered as important cultural assets. It is fitting therefore that Issue 27 of PCP Forum is given over entirely to this ‘beastly’ subject.

PCP Forum no. 26/2016 – Cultural property on the move

The transport of cultural property is a delicate operation. For some objects, this is simply not feasible. For others, temporary relocation is a routine occurrence. However, a whole range of precautionary measures needs to be taken first, especially for extremely valuable objects.

PCP Forum no. 25/2015 – PCP in disasters and emergencies

Protection of Cultural Property efforts in Switzerland have long focused on disaster and emergency preparedness. This approach is now enshrined in law thanks to the enactment of the new ‘Federal Act on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and in Disasters and Emergencies’.

PCP Forum no. 24/2015 – New PCP Act comes into force

The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and the Federal Protection of Cultural Property Act (CPPA) of 1966 came about in the wake of, and in response to, the massive damage and destruction wrought by the Second World War. The world has changed since then, and the main risks to the continued survival of cultural assets are now disasters and emergencies.

PCP Forum no. 23/2014 – ‘Special cases’ in the PCP Inventory

There is a select group of cultural objects which cannot be clearly categorised as buildings, archives/collections or archaeological artefacts. During the revision of the Swiss PCP Inventory, the umbrella term ‘special cases’ was created specifically for these objects.

PCP Forum no. 22/2015 - Cartography and the PCP

Historical maps not only provide important information on a specific geographical area, but they are also an important point of reference for researchers in many different fields, such as toponomy and military history. Moreover, many old maps are often considered works of art.

PCP Forum no. 21/2015 – Libraries and the PCP

The 21st issue of PCP Forum is given over entirely to one of the oldest and most important cultural institutions: the library. Until well into the 19th century, they functioned as book repositories, museums and archives, all rolled into one. The advent of designated archives and museums, coupled with increasing digitalisation, is eroding the status of libraries as cultural institutions.

PCP Forum no. 20/2013 – Wood and PCP

Wood is a material that is as fascinating and multifaceted as the objects and structures of great cultural and historical value that have been fashioned from it. Wood is a living and breathing thing. It is natural, renewable, lightweight, hard and extremely stable. Issue 20 takes a closer look at this medium: the fascination it exerts, as well as its importance and history. In doing so, PCP Forum helps to raise awareness of the need to take preventive and protective steps to preserve cultural property made from this material.

PCP Forum no. 19/2012 – 50 years of PCP in Switzerland

This year marks 50 years of Cultural Property Protection in Switzerland. In 1962, Switzerland ratified the 1954 Hague Convention, a move that would lead it to set up a Protection of Cultural Property structure of its own some 17 years after World War II. Responsibility was shared among the country’s three political levels (federal, cantonal and municipal), but cultural institutions as well as various specialist bodies and private associations were quick to come on board and play their part in safeguarding Switzerland’s cultural heritage. Half a century on from this historic milestone, Swiss PCP has achieved a great deal, and this issue of PCP looks back on the most important achievements to date.

PCP Forum no. 18/2011 – Safeguard documentation

Many of the disasters that have struck Switzerland and other countries in recent years have extensively damaged or even destroyed cultural property. The greatest risk to buildings and collections of particular importance, no matter where they are in the world, are earthquakes, floods, fire damage, not to mention acts of vandalism and attacks perpetrated during armed conflicts. To prevent this, in Switzerland, one of the most important PCP measures is “safeguard documentation”. The articles in this issue illustrate some of the efforts undertaken in this regard in Switzerland and supported by the PCP service.

PCP Forum no. 17/2011 - Archaeology

The purpose of archaeology is always the same: the study of human society, both past and present, through the material culture it has left behind. The first archaeologists were treasure hunters, collectors and oftentimes dreamers, whose interest in ancient art and architecture lay solely in the beauty and aesthetics of these objects. Over time, artefacts were increasingly catalogued and ordered typologically and chronologically. Issue 17 of PCP Forum takes a closer look at various fields of archaeology and the important contribution they make to cultural property protection.

PCP Forum no. 16/2010 – Restoration I

The key to all conservation and restoration work is understanding the artefact in all its material and historical complexity, then systematically recording and analysing every detail of these findings. Through its involvement in interdisciplinary cooperation with related professions and experts, PCP makes a major contribution to this work.

PCP Forum no. 15/2010 – Restoration II

As well as armed conflict, natural disasters, fire, theft, vandalism and the natural process of ageing can lead to the damage of and even destruction of cultural property. If not completely lost, objects can be restored, albeit often at great effort and expense. It is precisely the subject of restoration which will be focus of the two 2010 issues of PCP Forum.

PCP Forum no. 14/2009 - Microfilming

Microfilm continues to be a stable and reliable medium for the long-term archiving of valuable documents. The present issue of PCP Forum features articles by leading national and international experts working in archives, in cantonal agencies, academia and cultural institutions. Together, these generate an overview of best practices when it comes to producing microfilms and creating suitable conditions for the long-term archiving of this material. There are also discussions on the latest technological developments in the field and on the requirements governing the analogue and digital production of quality microfilms, as well as their conservation.

PCP Forum no. 13/2008 – PCP Inventory

An inventory is a management instrument that is used everywhere and in every way, and has become an integral part of modern life. It is part and parcel of a company’s year-end accounts. It serves to audit an ecological system or to document bequests. Archives and museums also use inventories as a search tool. However, an inventory is much more than a management instrument. One of its most important purposes ¬– especially a cultural property protection inventory – is to awaken interest in conservation. On the one hand, this happens because a value is placed on objects, buildings and collections by dint of the process of identification and publication. On the other, it is achieved through the analysis of the importance attributed to cultural property. This involves providing comparable and standardised descriptions of the history and character of each individual entry, which in turn makes it possible to measure their conservation value.

PCP Forum no. 12/2008 – Museums and PCP

Switzerland has more than one thousand museums and these come in all shapes and sizes. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) defines a museum as “a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment” (ICOM Statutes, 1986). The preservation and study of cultural property lie at the very heart of a museum’s work.

PCP Forum no. 11/2007 – Legal bases for PCP

Culture, its various forms and meanings have a long history. Nonetheless, appreciation of the need to protect cultural items against various hazards – wars, natural or man-made disasters, looting – only began to emerge over the past hundred years. It is against this backdrop that the legal foundations for cultural property protection were laid.

PCP Forum no. 10/2007 – Civil-military cooperation

Cultural objects succinctly express certain stories that every society tells about itself. Although the interpretation of these stories may vary, they are essential for a society’s understanding of itself. In order to guarantee the preservation of this cultural identity, cultural property protection services rely on the support of the civil defence and the army.

PCP Forum no. 9/2006 – Historic Gardens

Does the protection of cultural property, which has and will continue to be primarily concerned with natural disasters, their prevention and management, take due account of gardens? Does PCP also consider gardens as an allegory of an eternal paradise on earth? Unlike other items of cultural property, gardens are living things and subject to the vagaries of weather and man alike. They require constant care and attention to prevent them from running to seed.

PCP Forum no. 8/2006 - Floods

The catastrophic floods of 2005 have demonstrated that, particularly for cultural property protection which is not considered as a first line of defence in such situations, appropriate precautionary measures can greatly help to mitigate damage to property should such an incident occur. This issue of PCP Forum looks at natural disasters in the 19th century, sheds light on current and future preventive measures to protect against floods, and on the work undertaken when floods actually strike.

PCP Forum no. 7/2005 – Stained Glass

Switzerland boasts a unique collection of medieval stained-glass windows. This issue of PCP Forum explores the work being done in Switzerland to preserve its glass art. Articles by leading experts in the field look at, among others, some prize examples of historic stained glass, illustrate one form of protective glazing, and analyse the stained-glass art found in Bern Cathedral.

PCP Forum no. 6/2005 - Inventories

The Protection of Cultural Property Inventory is not going under a simple revision. It is being entirely reworked. The order and methods which are being applied have been developed according to stricter benchmarks, which themselves are harmonised with other inventories, and thus offer greater transparency and validity. This issue of PCP Forum takes a look at both Swiss and international PCP inventories.

PCP Forum no. 5/2004 – PCP Training

To ensure that the cultural heritage of a canton as well as all movable and immovable cultural property can be handed down to future generations, we must have trained PCP specialists. The Confederation and the cantons are jointly responsible for cultural property protection training. This issue of PCP Forum takes a closer look at this important field.

PCP Forum no. 4/2004 – Earthquakes and cultural property

The ‘Protection against Natural Hazards’ strategy developed recently by the National Platform for Natural Hazards (PLANAT) aims to optimise the protection of the population in terms of effective risk management, as well as improve the coordination of preventive measures. The ‘Cultural Property and the Threat of Earthquakes’ report commissioned by the Federal Council also pursues the same objective. This issue of PCP Forum will examine the impact of earthquakes on cultural property, discuss possible measures to protect and limit damage, and raise awareness of earthquake risks among those responsible and at all levels.

PCP Forum no. 3/2003 – Collaboration PCP / Fire Brigade

On 18 May 2003, the Swiss population voted in favour of the new Federal Civil Protection and Civil Defence Act (BZG). Cultural property protection is also covered by this legislation, the aim of which is to minimise and even prevent damage to cultural property in the future. The articles in PCP Forum show that workable PCP solutions are increasingly being sought both in Switzerland and abroad. Also of growing importance are planning issues, as well as the organisation and training of all concerned.

PCP Forum no. 2/2002 – Second Protocol

The International Conference on the Protection of Cultural Property, organised by Switzerland, offers the ideal platform to discuss questions raised by the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention. Like many other countries, Switzerland is currently carrying out the necessary preliminary work for its ratification. The debate focuses on the protective measures – set out in Article 5 of the Protocol – which should be implemented in peacetime.

PCP Forum no. 1/2001 – PCP Disaster Plan

We are delighted to present the very first issue of PCP Forum. The aim of this journal is to respond to the growing need for information on cultural property protection. Each issue will cover a particular topic of particular relevance to PCP. This issue looks at the PCP disaster plan drawn up by Switzerland in 1998.

PCP Forum no 37/2021


Models and aids

PCP Guidelines serve as models and checklists for all work relative to cultural property protection. Since those working in this field often have to work on their own, these documents are a useful source of information. PCP guidelines are issued on request and where necessary.

Guidelines 1 / 2003 - Protecting archives from water damage

Cultural institutions such as museums, archives or libraries are also at risk from flood damage. In addition tp prevention, appropriate and prompt action must be taken as soon as the damage occurs. In collaboration with Guido Voser, an expert in this field, the FOCP published guidelines on treating water-damaged archives.


Protective packaging for paintings

This video tutorial shows the professional packing of paintings with and without frames and the preparation for transport. This step-by-step tutorial is intended as a supplement to an already completed learning unit on this topic.

Roman mosaics of Vallon | First protection measures

This 1st explanatory video is about the Roman mosaics of Vallon (FR), which are listed as national cultural property in the inventory of cultural property. The Venatio mosaic is the largest of its kind in Switzerland. The film shows the first protection measures after the discovery until the construction of a museum directly above the site. With the construction of the museum directly above the site, an optimal protection insitu could be guaranteed.

Roman mosaics of Vallon | Documentation and inventory

This 2nd explanatory video on the Roman mosaics of Vallon (FR) deals with the documentation and inventory work as a central protective measure of the protection of cultural property. The film shows the recording and documentation of archaeological objects in a database system, the adequate storage and the presentation of the cultural property on the geoinformation services of the canton and the federal government.

Roman Museum of Vallon | Protective measures against flood hazard

In this explanatory video on the Roman Museum of Vallon - a cultural property of national importance - (A-object in the inventory of cultural property), the focus is on prevention against water damage. The object is located in a flood hazard zone, which leads to an increased risk of damage with a high probability of occurrence. The structural measures around the museum with dykes, wells with automatic pumping systems in case of elevated groundwater levels are shown. Additional manual pumps were also installed in the museum and monitoring systems were installed.

The Protection of Cultural Property in Switzerland requires the cantons to adopt and implement emergency plans. In this context, the FOCP developed the basics of an integral risk management with hazard and risk analysis and planning of measures. Further details can be found at: Hazards and Risks

Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP Protection of Cultural Property PCP
Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern


Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP

Protection of Cultural Property PCP
Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern