Flanders has a strong tradition of socio-cultural work, which has its historical origins in cultural and social emancipation movements of different ideological backgrounds. A part of the field is supported by the Flemish government through the Decree on Socio-Cultural Work for Adults (which falls within the policy field of Culture). These organisations can be divided in four types:
- Associations (‘verenigingen’) are networks of local societies that organise activities for their members and other people. Some of these societies focus on specific audiences (such as families or seniors) or specific subjects (such as cultural activities, human rights, or ecological awareness). There are currently over fifty of these associations, grouping around 14 000 local societies.
- ‘Vormingplus-centra’ (formerly known as folk high schools), of which there are thirteen. Each of these organisations covers a specific region and organises courses for adults on diverse (mostly social and cultural) themes.
- National training institutions (‘landelijke vormingsinstellingen’) offer education for adults. There are over twenty active over the whole of Flanders. They focus on a specific theme (nature and environment, care, relationships, etc.) or a specific audience (people with physical disabilities, employees, etc.).
- Movements, organised around a specific topic related to civil society (such as mobility, peace, citizenship, the fight against poverty, etc.) and operating all over Flanders. There are over thirty of these movements.
Next to socio-cultural organisations aimed at adults, there also many youth organisations and youth houses all over Flanders (which reside under the separate policy field of Youth). Local governments or the Flemish government offer support for certain organisations and infrastructure. Those eligible for support of the Flemish government include youth associations; organisations for cultural education; organisations offering information on personal and civil themes, and children’s rights, or offering participatory trajectories in policymaking; youth houses organising activities within the scope of the priorities of the Flemish policy on children’s rights; and certain youth accommodation. Political youth movements no longer receive funding through the youth policy of the Flemish government.
Amateur arts receive support from the Flemish government, within the framework of the Decree on Amateur Arts (which falls under socio-cultural work, a subdomain of the policy field of Culture). Through this decree, funding is provided to one organisation per artistic discipline: BREEDBEELD (photography, audiovisual and multimedia arts), Creatief schrijven (literature), Danspunt (dance), Koor&Stem (vocal music), KUNSTWERKT (visual arts), Muziekmozaïek (folk and jazz), OPENDOEK (theatre), VI.BE (pop and rock music, DJs, see also 7.2.1), and Vlamo (instrumental music). In their turn, these organisations provide support — i.e. providing information and promotion, organising workshops, showcases, or contests — for amateur arts associations and individual amateur artists all over Flanders (for statistics on participation in artistic hobbies in Flanders, see 6.2). Associations and individuals can also apply for project funding through the Decree on Amateur Arts (see also 7.2.1).
Local governments also offer support for amateur arts. The cities of Ghent, Antwerp, and Brussels each have their own support centre for local amateur arts — respectively CIRCA, Fameus, and Zinnema (which is also funded by the Flemish government). As a result of the ‘Internal State Reform’, provincial governments in Flanders have ceded their support for amateur arts (see 1.2.4). We should also mention the academies for part-time education in the arts (‘Deeltijds Kunstonderwijs’, which falls under the policy field of education and training, see 5.4), which provide training in visual arts, music, literature, and performing arts for children and adults in the majority of municipalities in Flanders and Brussels.
Most municipalities in Flanders have cultural infrastructure such as community centres, culture centres, and/or libraries. Since 2016, all of these organisations fully reside under the competence and funding facilities of local governments (also a consequence of the Internal State Reform, see 1.2.4). Before, when they were regulated by the Flemish government, culture centres (over sixty in number) had three official tasks: spreading culture, community development, and promoting cultural participation. Together with community centres, culture centres are an important organiser of (or provider of infrastructure for) cultural events throughout Flanders.
Lastly, we should mention initiatives and organisations operating at the intersection of arts and civil society in Flanders. These include participatory art practices (which, for example, offer innovating art education or work closely together with specific audiences such as people in poverty or people with disabilities) and transdisciplinary initiatives (which proceed from an artistic practice to tackle questions of, for example, technology, science, ecology, etc.). Urban areas in Flanders and Brussels prove to be fertile grounds for projects and organisations (many of them of transitory nature) that transgress the boundaries between arts, (sub)culture(s) and other spheres of society. Both the Flemish government (via, for example, the Participation Decree, the Arts Decree, and the Decree on Socio-Cultural Work for Adults) and the local level offer opportunities of support for these initiatives.
 Overviews of cultural centres and libraries before this transition can be found in Departement Cultuur, Jeugd, Sport en Media van de Vlaamse overheid. 2016. Cultuurcentra in cijfers gevat. Focus op: publieksbereik. Brussels; and —. 2017. Bibliotheken in cijfers gevat. Focus op: bibliotheekinfrastructuur. Brussels.
 Research has shown that culture and community centres play an important role in the distribution of concerts and stage performances in Flanders, see: Leenknegt, Simon. 2018. ‘Podiumkunsten in Vlaanderen en Brussel. Het aanbod in 2014 in kaart gebracht’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 299–326; and Janssens, Joris, and Nico Kennes. 2018. ‘Livemuziek in Vlaanderen. Het aanbod in kaart gebracht’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 255–78.