Table 6 presents figures on culture expenditure by the different levels of government in Belgium. Each figure is the sum of expenditure on cultural services and on broadcasting and publishing services (see 7.1.1 for detailed explanation).
With regard to Flanders, especially the data on the Flemish government (which combine data on Community and Region), the Flemish Community Commission in Brussels, and the Federal Government are important. The row of ‘Lower government levels’ includes the expenditure on culture by local and provincial governments in Belgium. As of 2018, provincial governments in Flanders are largely divested of competences on culture. These competences (and part of the related expenditure) were transferred to both the local governments and the Flemish government (see 1.2.4).
According to data provided by Statistics Flanders, lower government levels in the Flemish Region spent EUR 2 108 272 754 on ‘culture and recreation’ in 2018 — or 10.6% of their total expenditure that year. These budget figures follow a different (broader) categorisation than those presented in Table 6 and have not yet been consolidated. Therefore, they were left out. Before 2016, a part of the funding that local governments received from the Flemish government was designated for spending on culture. Today, these means are transferred in a different way and are no longer earmarked for culture (see 1.2.4).
Given the complex governmental structure of Belgium and transfers of budgets between and within levels of government, detecting trends in data on culture expenditure can be difficult. We should also bear in mind that the Flemish minister of Culture is not responsible for immovable heritage. The data on culture expenditure mentioned in Table 6 therefore stretch different policy fields within the Flemish government. This further complicates the act of linking decisions by policy makers to expenditure figures.
The drop in the share of culture in the total expenditure of the Flemish government from 3.3% in 2013 to 2.1% in 2018 can be partly explained by political reform. Due to the sixth State Reform, the Communities and Regions took over competences from the Federal level (none of them directly related to culture). Total expenditure by Communities and Regions rose in 2015, causing a relatively smaller share of expenditure on culture. The budget cuts in, for example, subsidies for cultural organisations or the public broadcasting services are very likely another cause of fluctuations in the expenditure figures.
Table 6. Public cultural expenditure by level of government, 2013 and 2018
|Level of government||Total expenditure in EUR* in 2013||% share of total in 2013||Total expenditure in EUR* in 2018||% share of total in 2018|
|Federal Government||94 300 000||0.1||195 800 000||0.2|
|Flemish government||1 237 500 000||3.3||1 124 900 000||2.1|
|French Community||560 100 000||3.8||664 200 000||3.3|
|German Speaking Community||7 900 000||2.4||14 400 000||3.6|
|Walloon Region||48 300 000||0.5||42 700 000||0.3|
|Brussels-Capital Region||15 400 000||0.4||34 700 000||0.6|
|French Community Commission in Brussels||7 000 000||1.7||13 100 000||2.6|
|Flemish Community Commission in Brussels||3 7400 000||24.6||39 500 000||19.1|
|All lower government levels||1 103 400 000||3.8||1 248 100 000||3.9|
|Total of all government levels in Belgium||2 902 100 000||1.3||3 239 300 000||1.4|
National Bank of Belgium (2020)
* At the date of expenditure
 The Common Community Commission in Brussels is not represented in table 6, because there is no expenditure on culture on this level of government. However, the total expenditure of the Common Community Commission was taken into account when calculating the share of culture in the total expenditure of all governments in Belgium.