Access to culture and cultural development in Flanders has been a recurring topic in the policy priorities of subsequent ministers of Culture — though with differing intensity and accents. Whereas, for example, participation of people in poverty is featured in policy documents of the four most recent ministers of Culture (see also 2.6), participation of people with culturally diverse backgrounds lacks mention in documents of the current minister (see also 2.5.1). Likewise, specific attention to participation of people with disabilities has waned in the strategic goals of the last two ministers of Culture (see 2.5.6).
On the Flemish level of government, the Participation Decree (since 2008) offers a policy framework for initiatives that focus on facilitating access to culture (but also sports and youth activities) and that are aimed at people in poverty, convicts, people with disabilities, people with a culturally diverse background, and/or families with children. Policy instruments of this decree include support for hobby associations and co-funding of local networks for people in poverty — in which local governments’ services and associations of people in poverty collaborate to enhance access to leisure time activities. The Participation Decree used to provide more opportunities for support, but some initiatives have ceded to exist or are no longer taking applications. A recent example is the funding for projects aimed at participation of disadvantaged groups, which has been shut down under current minister Jan Jambon (2019-2024).
The Participation Decree also arranges the support for two participation institutions (‘participatie-instellingen’), Dēmos and publiq. Dēmos acts as research and advocacy organisation on policies and practices (in the spheres of Culture, Youth, and Sport) that focus on groups that are under-represented and underexposed in society. They also organise VRIJUIT, a network of organisations that provides reduced entry fees for cultural and sport events to people in poverty.
The aim of publiq is to stimulate participation to cultural and other leisure time activities through communication, marketing, and information services (see also 2.4). Their principle tool for this is UiTinVlaanderen.be, where people can search for activities in and around the place they live. Organisers of events themselves provide the information for its database. The information on events can be reused on other digital platforms. Publiq also manages the UiTPAS. Holders of this pass can earn points by participating in leisure activities in Flanders and Brussels and exchange them for benefits. Holders with low or fixed incomes are entitled to concessionary rates for activities linked with the UiTPAS – information which remains discreet. The idea is that this would make it easier for them to take part in leisure activities, without the risk of being stigmatized. Publiq collaborates with other organisations in Belgium in managing the system of museum passes. Holders of this pass are granted free or reduced entry rates to museums all over Belgium, during one year. Furthermore, publiq is involved in UiTmetVlieg — a database of and label for leisure time activities suited for families and children —, in BILL — an event database and information platform on cultural activities for young people —, and in Cultuurkuur.be — which, in collaboration with CANON Cultural Unit (see 5.2), offers an overview of cultural education activities that can be booked by schools in Flanders and Brussels.
Lasso is the platform for cultural participation in Brussels. It devises projects on cultural participation, shares knowledge on the subject, and acts as a network for professionals and volunteers in culture, education, welfare, and youth. It receives support from the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) and the Brussels-Capital Region.
Some policy makers have stressed the importance of participatory artistic practices as drivers of enhancing cultural participation. These are described in 6.4.
 See, for example: Anciaux, Bert. 2004. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2004-2009’, 15-17; Schauvliege, Joke. 2009. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2009-2014’, 16-18; Gatz, Sven. 2014. ‘Beleidsnota 2014-2019. Cultuur’, 36-38; Jambon, Jan. 2019. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2019-2024’, 14.
 Anciaux, Bert. 2004. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2004-2009’, 45; Gatz, Sven. 2015. ‘Strategische Visienota Kunsten. Naar een dynamisch, divers en slagkrachtig kunstenlandschap in Vlaanderen’, 64-66; Jambon, Jan. 2020. ‘Strategische Visienota Kunsten’, 18-19.