A cultural environment is an area where monuments and objects form part of an integrated whole.
The term "cultural environment" was introduced into the Cultural Heritage Act when it was revised in 1992. A new provision provided the legal authority to protect a cultural environment because of the value of the area as a whole, even if protection of the individual elements would not be justified. So far, nine cultural environments are protected by the Cultural Heritage Act.
Examples of what may be designated as a cultural environment include a cluster of historically valuable farm buildings round a courtyard, situated in an agricultural landscape that still shows characteristic features of traditional farming methods, or a fishing village with houses, boathouses, quays and other buildings and installations related to fishing activities. An industrial area with factories and workers' houses is also a cultural environment.
The protected cultural environments are:
- Havrå farm complex (Hordaland)
- Utstein monastery (Rogaland)
- the east-Sami settlement Neiden (Finnmark)
- Kongsberg silver mines (Buskerud)
- Sogndalstrand (Rogaland)
- Birkelunden (Oslo)
- Sør-Gjæslingan (Nord-Trøndelag)
- Bygdøy (Oslo)
- Tinfos (Telemark)
- Ny-Hellesund (Vest-Agder)
- Levanger (Trøndelag)
- Skudeneshavn (Rogaland)