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Belgium/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

Cultural policy objectives are based on the principles of political and cultural democracy. Reference to human rights and pluralist democracy is a common fixture of all regulation and policies. Priority is accorded to cultural participation and creativity that are explicitly enshrined in this rationale as well as to the protection and promotion of a tolerant European culture, open to the world, intrinsically diverse and respectful of the minorities that contribute to global cultural development.

Belgium and its Communities have always played an active role within the Council of Europe to such an extent that many of the cultural policies developed in Belgium have closely followed the orientations given by the Council of Europe.

Flemish Community

Cultural policy in the Flemish Community is based on the following values:

  • equal rights for all inhabitants;
  • quality and diversity in the cultural offer (and taking measures to correct market distortions);
  • cultural democracy and cultural participation;
  • cultural competences;
  • creativity; and
  • protection and promotion of cultural heritage.

Core responsibilities of Flemish authorities in the field of professional arts, cultural heritage, socio-cultural youth work and adult work, are:

  • developing a strategic conceptual framework;
  • providing a set of instruments;
  • monitoring; and
  • taking measures to increase the quality of the cultural offer and provision of cultural services.

French Community

The cultural policy of the French-speaking Community is built on nine fundamental and relatively transversal axes which include:

  • support for artistic creation and dissemination in the fields of performing arts (music, theatre, dance, entertainment arts), literature, visual arts, cinema, audiovisual productions;
  • protection and promotion of the cultural heritage (except for property heritage, which falls within the competence of the Regions) including museums, folklore, ethnology, native or mother tongue languages, and cultural archives;
  • territorial cultural development including cultural centres and public libraries;
  • development of cultural democracy and participation in social and cultural life which includes support to youth and continuing education, cultural associations, intercultural activities, amateur arts;
  • training support;
  • democratisation of culture : introduction of different art forms to the different audiences ;
  • support for broadcasting (public radio and television, community television);
  • press assistance; and
  • support for international activities.

In 2005, the Secretary of Culture launches the "General States of Culture", a debate on the cultural policy with cultural key players in the French community (see chapter 4.1)

German-speaking Community

Art and cultural heritage are two main branches in the area of culture. Whilst literature is a part of culture, libraries and the promotion of reading, cinemas, radio and television and press assistance fall within the area of the media.

The German-speaking Community promotes:

  • amateur arts;
  • increased interest in the theatrical arts, plastic arts and literature;
  • continuing education of young talent and aspiring artists with regional charisma;
  • cultural cooperation with external partners;
  • folklore activities;
  • the protection and preservation of cultural heritage (museums, scientific historical publications, restoration work);
  • libraries;
  • expansion of media service centres;
  • implementation of initiatives in the areas of books and film; and
  • public-sector and private-sector radio and television broadcasters.

Promotional work is mainly affected by way of subsidies. Further possibilities are holding events (exhibitions, competitions, and readings), effecting or brokering cooperation or the purchase of artwork. A particular stance is taken by the Media Centre of the German-speaking Community, which carries out measures to promote reading, offers media awareness and media courses, maintains a multimedia workshop and produces television programming.

Chapter published: 09-03-2012

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334