The Romanian List of Historic Buildings is a fundamental instrument for the protection and management of the built heritage. This is not a peculiarity, as protective lists are – in any country – the expression of values to be protected and of the transposition of these values in the existing buildings. In Romania however, the expansion of the list after 1989 has been the object of criticism. It has been suggested that it is unfounded, that the number of protected buildings has been exaggerated based on subjective criteria, unjustifiably blocking the urban development or the infrastructure projects. The present article is meant to be a scientific reply to those critics, providing adequate comparisons of the situation in Romania with that of other European countries. The analysis and comparison of the lists of historic buildings issued in Romania by the competent authorities in 1955, 1978, 1989, 2004 and 2010, as well as their interpretation according to the social-political context in which they were issued show that the historic buildings’ multiplication follows an objective course determined by the development of knowledge and the shift in the criteria governing the appreciation of the values protected. On the other hand, the proportions of the heritage stock in the list of historic buildings and the size of Romania’s territory and that of its population show that compared to other European countries, our country is not exaggeratedly marked by the presence of protected buildings hindering the country’s development or its infrastructure projects. The study shows that Europe’s developed countries, including those in the former Soviet bloc whose evolution is superior to Romania’s, have a greater number of historic buildings, more widely dispersed across their territory.
Keywords: list of historic buildings, classification criteria, heritage density