Belgium is a federal country. After six state reforms (in 1970, 1980, 1988-89, 1993, 2001, and 2012-2014), the Communities and Regions (see 1.2.3) hold a clearly defined set of competences (including, in the case of the Communities, Culture; see 1.1). The Federal State, which currently stands on the same hierarchical level as the Regions and Communities (see 1.2.1), still holds a number of important competences. Its legislation and policies apply to the whole territory of Belgium. Some of these are relevant when discussing cultural policy in Flanders and Brussels and pertain to social security, labour legislation, tax laws, or intellectual property rights (see 4.1). The legislative power on the Federal level resides with the Federal Parliament, which consists of two chambers: the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate. The Federal Government has the executive power. It is made up of ministers and secretaries of state.
A number of cultural institutions still fall under the competences of the Federal level. There are three Federal Cultural Institutions: Centre of Fine Arts BOZAR, La Monnaie/De Munt (the National Opera House), and the Belgian National Orchestra. Sophie Wilmès (since 2019) is currently the responsible minister. Then there are the Federal Scientific Institutions, such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the Royal Museums for Art and History, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, the National Library (KBR), the State Archives, or the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. These reside with Science Policy, of which Thomas Dermine (since 2020) is currently the minister. Through Science Policy, a number of ‘Bi-Community cultural organisations and activities’ are funded (such as CINEMATEK, Europalia, and the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel) and a number of international organisations (such as Jeunesses Musicales International and ICCROM).