In The Netherlands, assessing the value of historic buildings and determining municipal preservation policy is done by experts in historical architecture. Protests from residents against this policy are becoming more frequent, however and insight intotheir criteria for evaluating historicity is required so that their values may be taken into account in planning procedures. In a pilot study in the south of The Netherlands, in-depth interviews were held among two groups of inhabitants, residents livingin the study area and nonresidents living in adjacent regions. Four criteria determined their evaluation of historic buildings: form, function, knowledge and familiarity. For preservation, the study found that lay people's evaluations could be expressed in two rules: at the level of the building function must follow form and at the level of the surroundings strategy must follow structure. A comparison was made between the evaluation criteria used by experts in historical architecture and by residents orlay people. A difference is that lay people's evaluations are mainly based on form while the main criterion for experts is knowledge, or information value.