Flanders Literature provides subsidies for the Flemish literature and books sector. As a funding body that enters into an agreement with the Flemish government, it functions separately from the Arts Decree, which arranges the support for other artistic disciplines (see the other sections in 3, except single screen audiovisual production (see 3.5.3)). Flanders Literature focuses its funding on the first and last stages of the books and press value chain. They supply grants and project funding for authors, translators and illustrators and subsidies for publishing Dutch literature and theatre texts. They also grant subsidies to organisers of literary events, literacy programmes, literature organisations, and literary journals. Other journals on cultural subjects receive funding through either the Arts Decree, Cultural Heritage Decree, and Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). Former minister of Culture Sven Gatz (2014-2019) initiated plans for integrating support for cultural journals into a single policy. Current minister Jan Jambon (2019-2024) announced to take further steps in the coming years.
As a result of the ‘Internal State Reform’ (see 1.2.4), Flanders Literature took over the funding for literature by provincial governments. Next to being a funding body, Flanders Literature organises international promotion of Flemish literature, often in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for Literature. Promotion of Flemish authors and collaboration with the Netherlands were mentioned in the coalition agreement of the current Flemish government (2019-2024) as ways of “reinforcing the Flemish identity”. This was the motivation behind an increase of the budget of Flanders Literature.
Flanders Literature also administers the ‘BoekenOverleg’, an advocacy network that gathers organisations that each represent different groups within the books and press sector (authors, publishers, book sellers, libraries and archives (see 3.2), and literature and literacy organisations). One of these is the Letterenhuis, the literary archive of Flanders and one of the partners of TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts. The Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL) is also a member of the BoekenOverleg. This independent association was appointed by the Flemish government to study and discuss Dutch language and literature. This includes the selection of a canon of Dutch literature that is considered as “essential” by experts in Flanders.
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the literature and books sector (some of which are aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis). These include the precarious position of authors, translators, and illustrators, economic disruptions and uncertainty in the market of book publishing and book sales, the limits of international promotion and distribution of Flemish literature, concern about (a lack of) inclusion in the literature and books sector (which resulted in a Charter), and concern about waning literacy skills among the population of Flanders.
The Decree on Amateur Arts (see 6.4) is the policy framework for amateur literature on the level of the Flemish Community. It arranges funding for Creatief Schrijven, who provide support for amateur authors.
 Meremans, Marius. 2019. ‘Schriftelijke vraag: Culturele tijdschriften en publicaties – Geïntegreerd beleid’. Vlaams Parlement.
 Vlaamse Regering. 2019. ‘Regeerakkoord 2019-2024’, 128-129.
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 60-70.
Comments are closed.