In Belgium, Culture is foremost a competence of the Communities (see 1.2.3). We therefore focus in this section on legislation (decrees) on culture in the Flemish Community. Table 2a presents a selection of decrees that are currently in effect and that provide the framework for cultural policies and trends discussed throughout the other sections. The table mentions the section(s) in which (the reform of) these decrees and related policy instruments are elaborated. Some of these decrees apply to specific sectors (arts, cultural heritage, circus, etc.) and are therefore referred to in the other subsections of 4.2. Other decrees have a scope that spans the entire cultural field or even other policy fields (e.g. with regard to participation or (supra)local policies).
A great deal of the regulations codified in the mentioned decrees pertain to the procedures and the scope of funding instruments for cultural initiatives. Though political primacy (see 1.2.3) is an important principle in funding for culture, these regulations often contain procedures on consultation of advisory bodies — which is in line with the principles laid down in the Culture Pact legislation (see 4.1.2).
Note that Immovable Heritage is a separate policy field, within the remit of the Regions (not the Communities). Relevant legislation is therefore not included in Table 2a, but is dealt with in 4.2.2.
Table 2a. Selective list of decrees providing cultural legislation in the Flemish Community
|Title of the decree||Date of adoption||Read more in:|
|Arts Decree (“Kunstendecreet” or “Decreet betreffende de ondersteuning van de professionele kunsten”)||13/12/2013||1.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 2.9, 3.3-3.5.6, 5.4, 7.2.1|
|Cultural Heritage Decree (“Cultureel Erfgoeddecreet” or “Decreet houdende de ondersteuning van cultureelerfgoedwerking in Vlaanderen”)||24/2/2017||1.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5.2, 3.5.4, 3.5.5, 5.4, 7.2.1|
|Decree on Amateur Arts (“Decreet betreffende de amateurkunsten”)||22/12/2000||3.3, 3.4, 3.5.2, 3.5.4, 5.4, 6.4, 7.2.1|
|Participation Decree (“Participatiedecreet” or “Decreet houdende flankerende en stimulerende maatregelen ter bevordering van de participatie in cultuur, jeugdwerk en sport”||18/1/2008||1.1, 2.5.1, 2.5.6, 2.6, 6.1|
|Decree Socio-Cultural Work for Adults (“Decreet houdende de subsidiëring en erkenning van het sociaal-cultureel volwassenenwerk”)||7/7/2017||1.1, 1.3.2, 5.4, 6.4|
|Decree on Supralocal Cultural Activities (“Bovenlokaal Cultuurdecreet” or “Decreet betreffende de bovenlokale cultuurwerking”)||15/6/2018||1.1, 1.2.4, 3.2|
|Decree on Local Cultural Policy (“Decreet betreffende het Lokaal Cultuurbeleid”)||6/7/2012||1.2.4, 3.2, 4.1.2|
|Province Decree (“Provinciedecreet”)||9/12/2005||1.2.4, 4.1.2|
|Circus Decree (“circusdecreet” or “Decreet houdende een circusbeleid”)||1/3/2019||3.3, 7.2.1|
|Masterpieces Decree (“Topstukkendecreet” or “Decreet van 24 januari 2003 houdende bescherming van het roerend cultureel erfgoed van uitzonderlijk belang”)||24/1/2003||3.4|
|Media Decree (“Mediadecreet” or “Decreet betreffende radio-omroep en televisie”)||27/3/2009||2.5.3|
|Decree on Youth Accomodation (“decreet Jeugdverblijfcentra” or “Decreet houdende subsidiëring van hostels, jeugdverblijfcentra, ondersteuningsstructuren en de vzw Algemene Dienst voor Jeugdtoerisme”)||6/7/2012||6.4|
|Decree on the establishment of the SARC (“Decreet houdende de oprichting van de Raad voor Cultuur, Jeugd, Sport en Media”)||30/11/2007||1.2.3|
The so-called ‘Collection Decree’ (“Verzameldecreet” or “Decreet houdende diverse bepalingen in het beleidsveld cultuur” of 29 March 2019) is not mentioned in other sections. This recent legislation adjusted some regulations (e.g. on the centres of expertise and on technical matters) of the decrees in Table 2a, partly as an attempt to streamline certain policies within the whole policy field of Culture.
Legislation on the level of the Federal State that is relevant for cultural affairs, is discussed throughout 4.1 (including the ‘social status of the artist’, see 4.1.3).
Table 2b. International legal instruments implemented in the cultural field in Belgium
|Title of the act||Year of adoption|
|UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights||1983|
|Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe||1993|
|UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage||1994|
|Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production||2003|
|UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage||2006|
|UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property||2009|
|UNESCO Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||2010|
|UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage||2010|
|Council of Europe European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised)||2010|
|UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions||2011|
|UN Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights||2011|
|Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural|
Heritage for Society
|Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (revised)||2018|
Belgium is a member state of international bodies such as the Council of Europe and UNESCO (see 1.1 and 1.4.2). The Flemish government is involved in these bodies, either through the Belgian membership or through independent relations. Table 2b presents a list of culture-related treaties of these international bodies that were adopted by the Belgian State and apply to Flanders.
For a discussion of treaties signed between the Flemish government and other regions or countries, see 1.4.1.
 The texts of these decrees can be consulted in the legal database Vlaamse Codex or in the database of the Belgian Official Gazette. For a history of changes to the regulation of the Arts Decree until 2019, see this timeline.