4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies
In Flanders, two different authorities are competent for cultural heritage policy. On one side, the Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region are responsible for monuments, landscapes and archaeological sites. The Flemish Community, on the other hand, is responsible for movable and intangible heritage.
The Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region are responsible for implementing the legislation passed in the field of immovable heritage as well as for organising the Days of Monuments. Current strategic priorities include furthering the inventory of immovable heritage, stimulating reflection on the social role of monuments and landscapes (stimulating links with other policy fields including culture, economy, ecology etc.), and the development of new legislation concerning immovable heritage. In July 2010, the Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Domestic Governance, Integration, Tourism and the "Vlaamse Rand" presented the first ideas for a new Decree for Immovable Heritage concerning the future preservation of landscapes, monuments and archaeological sites in Flanders.
Regarding the cultural heritage legislation of the Flemish Community, emphasis has been placed on different institutions and instruments, such as museums, archives, organisations of popular culture, intangible heritage (oral history, traditions, rites …), heritage covenants, etc. In the policy document for 2009-2014, the Minister for Culture has indicated "sustainability" as the important objective, including not only preservation but also improving access to cultural heritage and developing links with other policy domains. Similar to other areas of cultural policy, the minister does not intend to pass new legislation in the current term. Rather, she wants to evaluate and further implement recently passed decrees. Concerning the Decree on the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Exceptional Importance ("Topstukkendecreet", 2003), the Minister intends to further develop the fund facilitating the acquisition of outstanding artefacts for the "Collectie Vlaanderen" ("Flemish Collection", an initiative to coordinate the collective collection development by public Flemish heritage institutions). The Cultural Heritage Decree (2008), which brings together the former Archive Decree (19/7/2002), Heritage Decree (7/05/2004) and Decree of Popular Culture (27/10/1998) under one umbrella (see chapter 5.2), will be further implemented (which includes the development of "cultural heritage convenants" with local authorities and the promotion of the Flemish quality label for cultural heritage, which the decree has introduced).
Competence for heritage is shared between the Regions (Wallonia and Brussels-Capital) and the French Community. The Regions are responsible for property heritage while the French Community has responsibility for movable cultural heritage including museums, archives, ethnology and folklore. The transfer of power over property heritage from the French Community to the Brussels and Walloon Regions was initiated to allow for greater co-operation with the towns and counties and to integrate heritage preservation into their planning strategies.
The French Community's heritage policy is essentially focused on museums: the Royal Mariemont of the French Community, Muséobus, subsidisation of twelve museums and art centres organised jointly by the French Community and various public authorities, together with museums organised by other public authorities or by associations.
The German-speaking Community is responsible for intangible cultural heritage, moveable cultural heritage, monument and countryside preservation and the protection of monumental sites. It supports folklore activities, the activities undertaken by museums and the publication of historical literature; it subsidises restoration work to moveable cultural heritage and monuments and runs an archaeological department.
In participation with the Walloon Region, the German-speaking Community participates in the European Heritage Days. Other initiatives in the field of cultural heritage are also carried out in co-operation with neighbouring regions (B, D).
Future efforts are directed at logging the entire stock of intangible heritage, moveable cultural heritage of the museums and churches, audiovisual heritage, listed buildings, monuments and the countryside.
For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Belgium (Brussels Capital region)
European Heritage Network: Country profile Belgium (Flemish region)
European Heritage Network: Country profile Belgium (Walloon region)