Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage
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Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Edited by Ilde Rizzo and Anna Mignosa

Cultural heritage is a complex and elusive concept, constantly evolving through time, and combining cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, spiritual, historical and economic values. The Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage outlines the contribution of economics to the design and analysis of cultural heritage policies and to addressing issues related to the conservation, management and enhancement of heritage.
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Chapter 21: The values of cultural heritage

Arjo Klamer


When cleaning up the house of a deceased relative, the confusion can be overwhelming. Emotions of regret and loss run into frustration with the amount of stuff that needs to be cleared. What to keep? What to throw away? What to sell? What to do with the collection of paintings, for example? How about the old jewelry? Are they worth preserving? And what about all those things that are attached to memories of an innocent youth, to precious moments? At first the cleaner may sit down to sift through all the letters that are stored in boxes, to hold all those special objects, to stare in space to grapple with the conflicting emotions. And then it is time for action. Space is limited and time is pressing. So the cleaner holds on to a few items, including a painting or two, sells what can be sold, asks the family to take away anything of their liking, and throws away the rest. Who knows, he may forget about all that stuff later. Yet, there is a good chance that he hates himself for the choices he made. If only he still had that book, or those war mementos, or the old sewing machine.

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