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The increasingly fast process of “heritageisation” has led to a paradigm shift that “matured” at the beginning of the 21st century, changing to an extended degree the tasks and possibilities of the “civilian” protectors of heritage values. In Hungary, the number of lay organisations is seemingly increasing, whilst the activity of earlier professional organisations has fallen back, and there is an ongoing reorganisation process leading to a decrease in the number of functional organisations. Local heritage conservation organisations are an important characteristic type of civil heritage conservation organisations in Hungary. The forms of traditional volunteering of the past century have not completely disappeared, but have decreased in number at present. In a politicised environment, the issue of cultural and built heritage conservation is no exception, which could endanger the credibility of civil endeavours. In this context, professionals have a major responsibility; their task is to offer well-grounded professional support in order to facilitate consensus. The lack of functional “heritage tutor organisations” in the field of (built) cultural heritage as well as “civil” heritage funds should be compensated for, as they could play an irreplaceable role in the preservation and maintenance of the unclaimed, dilapidated built heritage values around Hungary. The number, activity and quality of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of (built) cultural heritage are the real indicators for social identity and commitment for the preservation of values.
Keywords: built cultural heritage, professional nongovernmental organisations, nonprofit organisations, cooperation, historic building maintenance