Greek Museums Closed Due to Protest Against New Law

Greek Museums Closed Their Doors to the Public, and Are Protesting New Legislation That Puts Them Under Government Control.

Feb 16, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Greek Museums Closed
Five museums in Greece go on protest.


Greek museums closed their doors to the public. They decided to protest against a new law. This way, the government gets the power and means of control. Greek cultural institutions which decided to protest are five archaeological museums. Overall, a reason behind those protests is that a new law could stop the return of the Parthenon Marbles.


Can New Law Modernize Greek Cultural Institutions?

Greek Museums Closed
A group of protestors marches against a new law on February 13, 2023 in Greece. Courtesy of the Association of Greek Archaeologists.


Greek archaeologists‘ museums remain closed, while archaeologists protest. They joined protests because of the government’s new bill. This new bill could make serious changes in the work of cultural institutions. It can also change a world’s perception of looted artifacts. Last month, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports introduced Parliament and the public with this new law.


Three days ago, the Parliament approved new legislation. This legislation appoints five museums: the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture of Thessaloniki, and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete.


National Archaeological
National Archaeological Museum


This newly approved bill separates museums from ministries control. Now, they will have a status of “Legal Entities under Public Law”. Also, civil workers won’t be at the top of those institutions. They will instead operate on a semi-autonomous basis, under the auspices of a government-appointed board of directors. From this, it seems like museums are gaining more power and independence. So what’s the problem?

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What Does This Law Mean for Listed Museums?

Greek Museums Closed
Statues at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki covered in black cloth as part of a protest.


Even though the bill says the museums will gain more power, some think it will lead to the establishment of a structure of oligarchic power. When it comes to a new administrative order, the Board will have three members who are well-known figures in the arts, letters and sciences. Also, the Ministry of Culture will give two more members.


Those who perform best will get the position of president and vice-president. Because of this semi-autonomy, the museums will have to finance themselves. They will also control the funds they get from sales, events, and tickets. Until this bill came into the picture, the Organization for the Management and Development of Cultural Resources (ODAP) handled these tasks.


Five of the largest public museums in Greece closed on Monday, February 13


The museums will also have a chance to loan and borrow works of art. Also, to open branches overseas. The Association of Greek Archaeologists says the law “undermines the unified character of the Archaeological Service and leads to its dissolution”. The association also said if the museums become a public matter, they will only be an outstretched hand of the ministry. Greek archaeologists also say the new law will result in employment losses, and a rise in admission costs.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.