3. Cultural and creative sectors
Last update: November, 2020
From the policy perspective, heritage in Flanders is divided in cultural heritage (which is part of the policy field of Culture) and immovable heritage (which is part of the policy area of Environment). The former is a competence of the Flemish Community — which means that the sphere of cultural heritage spans the territories of both Flanders and Brussels—, whereas the latter resides under the Regions — which means that the Flemish Region has a different policy on immovable heritage than the Brussels-Capital Region.
Cultural heritage comprises both movable cultural heritage (archive documents, books and manuscripts, works of art, old utensils, etc.) and immaterial heritage (oral traditions, transferable skills and knowledge, community practices, etc.). Museums, archives, heritage libraries, local heritage societies, and other organisations and projects dealing with cultural and immaterial heritage receive support from different levels of government, especially the Flemish Community (mainly through the Cultural Heritage Decree, see 4.2.2) and local authorities. The Flemish Community supports FARO as the independent interface centre for cultural heritage in Flanders. FARO supports organisations and initiatives (see 5.5 and 7.2.1) and organises projects for public outreach, such as the annual Heritage Day. Memoo is another funded intermediary (see also 2.4). It supports the digital archive operations of cultural, media and government organisations, e.g. by digitizing and managing archive content and sharing expertise on this subject. They are also one of the partners of TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
Until 2018, the provincial governments played an important role in cultural heritage (e.g. through providing digital databases). This level of government, however, has been divested of its cultural competences (see 1.2.4). At the beginning of his term, current minister of Culture Jan Jambon (2019-2024) announced he would invest in the field of cultural heritage. Among other measures, this has resulted in an increase of subsidies for organisations funded through the Cultural Heritage Decree.
Some Federal institutions hold important collections of (art) historical objects from all over the world, such as the Art & History Museum, The Royal Museum for Central Africa, or the museums mentioned throughout the other subsections of section 3.
Immovable heritage falls under the responsibility of a separate minister of the Flemish government. In the Brussels-Capital Region, it is a competence of a Secretary of State of its Regional Government. (For an overview of relevant legislation in both Regions, see 4.2.2.) Immovable heritage refers to monuments, buildings, landscapes, archaeological sites, and nautical heritage in public and private space. The responsibility for maintaining immovable heritage can therefore reside either with public authorities, church authorities, or private persons. Flanders Heritage, the Flemish government agency for Immovable Heritage, provides an online overview of sites and their legal statuses in the Flemish Region (see also 1.3.2).
Herita is the main umbrella organisation in the field of immovable heritage in Flanders. They organise the annual ‘Open Monumentendag’ (‘Heritage Day Flanders’) in the Flemish Region. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the Department of Cultural Heritage has made inventories of immovable heritage sites. They also organise the annual ‘Open Monumentendagen’ (‘Heritage Days’). The Royal Commission for Monuments and Landscapes provides independent advice on the protection of immovable heritage in the Brussels-Capital Region.
In the wake of debates on the colonialism of Belgium and its lasting effects on culture and society (see also 2.5.1), the presence in public space of memorials and sculptures relating to the colonial occupation of the Congo has become an increasingly problematic issue — the recurring reappropriation of monuments for Leopold II being a case in point. Some local governments have taken steps to dismantle monuments and memorials, which has raised the question if this is the best strategy for handling contested heritage. The reopening of The Royal Museum of Central Africa in 2018 re-sparked debate on collections from the colonial period. Issues were raised about the way these collections and their (historical and current) context of racism and repression are represented and about restitution of looted art. Though institutions and politicians have spoken in favour of restitution, a clear legal framework on the matter is still lacking and concrete steps are yet to be taken.
Art that was looted during WWII — especially art works originally in provenance of Jewish people — has been on the agenda of politicians several times on both the Federal and the Flemish level. A Federal database of stolen art works that can be reclaimed is yet to be finalised.
 FARO made an online overview of organisations and projects dealing with cultural and immaterial heritage in Flanders and Brussels. An online inventory of immaterial heritage practices is provided by Workshop Intangible Heritage Flanders. See also 1.3.2.
 Jambon, Jan. 2019. ‘Beleids- en begrotingstoelichting Cultuur. Begrotingsjaar 2020’.
 See, for example: Van Beurden, Jos. 2018. ‘De toekomst van koloniale collecties. Nationale of Europese uitdaging?’ faro | tijdschrift over cultureel erfgoed, 2018; or the following open letter on the topic: Adam, Ilke, Karel Arnaut, Berber Bevernage, Marnix Beyen, Leen Beyers, Daniël Biltereyst, Joris Capenberghs, et al. 2018. ‘Let’s talk about colonial collections and restitution’. FARO; or this statement of The Royal Museum for Central Africa. Also note that it took until 2009 for the Belgian State to adopt the UNESCO 1970 convention on the prevention of illicit trade of cultural goods (see 4.2.1).
Last update: November, 2020
Archives and heritage libraries (i.e. libraries with valuable historical collections) in Flanders and Brussels are considered part of the domain of cultural heritage as described in 3.1 — thus residing with the Flemish Community. The National Library (KBR) and the State Archives are regulated at the Federal level.
Almost every municipality in Flanders and Brussels has a (Dutch-speaking) public library (see also 1.3.2). This is largely a consequence of former legislation that obliged local authorities in Flanders to establish one. The ‘Internal State Reform’ (see 1.2.4) introduced a number of important changes for public libraries. Since 2016, the decision on if and how to organise a library now fully resides with the local authority. Local authorities are also no longer obliged to share data on their libraries with the Flemish government — which still plays a part in knowledge transfer on the topic. Since 2018, provincial authorities — which provided support to local libraries, e.g. by supplying digital systems for lending out books — no longer have responsibilities in policy on public libraries. Through the new Decree on Supralocal Cultural Activities (see 1.2.4), libraries can apply for funding from the Flemish government for cultural projects on a regional scale.
In 2017, the Flemish government initiated in collaboration with Cultuurconnect a project on creating a unified library system (‘Eengemaakt Bibliotheeksysteem’ or EBS). This should allow to replace the different local and provincial systems for lending out books with a single digital infrastructure. The project, dubbed WISE, is being piloted throughout 2019-2021. Cultuurconnect supports local governments in tackling digital challenges in their cultural policy. Their services, workshops, research projects, and network are focused on public libraries, culture centres, and community centres (see also 2.4).
 A team within the Department of Culture, Youth and Media specialises in ‘supralocal library policy’. The Flemish government still receives data on public libraries (and culture and community centres) by local authorities, but these are shared on a voluntary basis. These data can be consulted through an online interface.
Last update: November, 2020
The Arts Decree (see 4.2.3) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This means the Flemish government is the main body providing funding for the performing arts (theatre, dance, music theatre, multidisciplinary arts, etc.), although local governments sometimes take on an important role (e.g. in funding companies with a local venue infrastructure, such as the city theatres). Playwrights can also apply for support from Flanders Literature, a separate fund for literature (see 3.5.1). The Flemish government supports Flanders Arts Institute — in which the former Vlaams Theaterinstituut (VTi) merged — as the independent centre of expertise for professional performing arts, visual arts and (classical) music in Flanders. Flanders Arts Institute (see 5.5 and 7.2.1) provides support and networking opportunities for and shares expertise and data with artists and performing arts organisations. Flanders Arts Institute organises the international promotion of arts from Flanders (see also 1.4.3) and — managing a large collection of historical documents and books — takes up a role in performing arts heritage. CEMPER (which is funded through the Cultural Heritage Decree) is the expert hub for performing arts and musical heritage in Flanders. They collaborate with Flanders Arts Institute and others in TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
Circus has its own legislative framework, the Circus Decree, providing funding for circus companies, schools, workshops, and the expertise centre Circuscentrum, which offers support to and promotes circus from Flanders. It is also the documentation centre of the Flemish circus sector.
The Federal culture institutions BOZAR (centre for fine arts) and La Monnaie/De Munt (the national opera house) should also be mentioned as players in the performing arts field in Flanders and Brussels. On the Federal level, there is also a tax shelter scheme for performing arts (see 4.1.4).
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the performing arts sector and in public arts policy in the past five years (some of which are aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis). These include the precarious position of (performing) artists and the importance of fair practices (see 2.3 and 2.5.5), the position of (large) cultural institutions — a debate that was sparked in 2019 by an open letter of the city theatres of Ghent, Brussels, and Antwerp with the request to the Flemish government for becoming a major art institution (see also 1.3.3) —, budget cuts in funding for the arts (see 7.1.3), and the changing conditions for producing and presenting work in Flanders and abroad. The changes in local cultural policy (see 1.2.4) — creating a different context for culture centres, which play a major role in programming performing arts productions (see also 6.4) — and signs that the traditionally strong dissemination of (publicly funded) performing arts throughout Flanders and Brussels has begun to falter, has caused concern among arts professionals and organisations. Performing arts from Flanders also have a strong international reputation, which results in intense international collaboration and touring. There are signals that this narrative of growth (more transnational collaborations, more stagings abroad) has reached its limits, and that artists are reconfiguring their international practice.
The Decree on Amateur Arts (see 6.4) is the policy framework for amateur performing arts on the level of the Flemish Community. It arranges funding for OPENDOEK and Danspunt, which provide support for amateur artists and associations in, respectively, theatre and dance. OPENDOEK organises the annual Landjuweelfestival, a contest among amateur theatre companies from Flanders. Danspunt is one of the partners in the annual Dance Day (‘Dag van de Dans’), which is organised by Kanaries in actie vzw, a collaboration between dance organisations.
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 36-49.
 For a discussion of the position of major art insitutions in the field of arts in Flanders, see Overbergh, Ann, Katrien Kiekens, and Dirk De Wit. 2019. ‘First among equals? The art institution today’.
 Janssens, Joris. 2018. ‘De theaterprogrammering in de cultuurcentra (2006-2015). De productie en spreiding van podiumkunsten: een derde bodemonderzoek’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 233–40.
 Leenknegt, Simon. 2018. ‘The only way is up? Cijferanalyse van de internationalisering van de productie en de spreiding van de Vlaamse podiumkunsten (2000-2016)’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 41–70.
 Janssens, Joris. 2018. (Re)framing the International. On new ways of working internationally in the arts. Brussel: Kunstenpunt.
Last update: November, 2020
The Arts Decree (see also 4.2.4) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This includes artists and organisations in contemporary visual arts (sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, multimedia, sound art, etc.) and audiovisual work for multiple screens (which is usually shown in the exhibition circuit). Single screen audiovisual production and the production of television series is supported through a separate fund (see 3.5.2). The Arts Decree also arranges the support for Flanders Arts Institute — in which the former organisation BAM merged — as the independent centre of expertise for professional performing arts, visual arts and (classical) music in Flanders. Flanders Arts Institute (see 5.5 and 7.2.1) provides support and networking opportunities for and shares expertise and data with artists, curators and arts organisations. It also organises international promotion of arts from Flanders (see also 1.4.3). Kunst in Huis is a funded organisation with a collection of 5 000 contemporary works of art that can be given on loan (and sold) to private persons and companies.
Both museums for fine arts and contemporary art — as institutions maintaining a collection, contrary to exhibition halls — receive support through the Cultural Heritage Decree. This is also the case for the Flemish Centre for Art Archives (CKV), which provides expertise to (private) archives and legacies of contemporary artists. CKV collaborates with Flanders Arts Institute and others in TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
A separate Decree (‘Topstukkendecreet’) regulates the protection and trafficking of rare and valuable artistic and cultural assets from Flanders. The Flemish government itself owns — together with the Federal State — a collection of 18 000 works of art of different periods (‘Collectie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap’) and has an annual budget for further acquisitions. There is also regulation on the Flemish level that governs art in public space. The Decree on Public Art Commissions (formerly known as the ‘Percentage Decree’) stipulates that, when building or renovating a public building, a specific share of the building costs should be invested in a commission for a work of art.
The Federal level harbours some major institutions for fine arts (with a range until the twentieth century), such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, dedicated to the study and conservation of artistic and cultural assets of Belgium).
Local governments are important in stimulating local contemporary art scenes (for example by investing in workshop facilities). With regard to the visual arts, however, these are primarily the governments of larger cities in Flanders. These city governments have been the historic drivers of establishing some of the main museums for visual arts in Flanders. Nonetheless, professional visual arts have had a rather marginal role in local cultural policy — contrary to the performing arts and music, which have benefitted from the establishment of culture centres throughout Flanders. The distribution of exhibitions in Flanders is largely centred in Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent. There are some interesting visual arts initiatives, though, by culture centres and local authorities outside the larger cities, which might foster a new dynamic.
Other issues on the agenda of the visual arts sector and arts policy include the precarious position of artists (which is aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis) and fair practices (see 2.3 and 2.5.5), the role of art awards (see 7.2.3), and the development of visual arts policy and professionalism in the sector in general — which had a different historical trajectory than other disciplines. In his recent Strategic Vision Statement on the Arts, current Minister of Culture Jan Jambon (2019-2024) remarked that visual arts have been rather overlooked in funding for the arts.
Next to public authorities, private collections, art galleries and (non-)profit project rooms take on an important role in Flanders and Brussels, for example by providing support to exhibition spaces, lending out art works, and contributing to the development of artists’ careers. (See 3.5.1 and 7.3 for policy initiatives directed at private players in the cultural sector.) Current Minister Jambon has announced that he would look into the possibilities of stimulating collaboration between public authorities and private collectors.
The Decree on Amateur Arts (see 6.4) is the policy framework for amateur visual arts on the level of the Flemish Community. It arranges funding for KUNSTWERKT (visual arts) and BREEDBEELD (photography, audiovisual and multimedia arts), which in turn provide support for amateur artists and associations.
 Janssens, Joris, Dirk De Wit, and An Seurinck. 2018. ‘Actuele beeldende kunst in Vlaanderen. Tentoonstellingsaanbod in kaart (2013-2014)’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 279–98.
 For a more detailed discussion of issues in the contemporary visual arts field in Flanders and Brussels, see Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 24-35.
Last update: November, 2020
Research on the economic impact of culture in Flanders has focused on the whole of cultural and creative sectors (CCS), including architecture, the audiovisual industry, communication and advertising, cultural heritage, design, fashion, gaming, music, new media, performing
arts, publishing, and visual arts. The definitions of CCS used in this research are similar to what the European Commission defines as ‘cultural and creative sectors’. The results therefore encompass all sectors discussed under section 3 — which cover the different stages of the cultural value chain and not solely the ‘cultural and creative industries’.
The latest figures refer to 2016 and apply to the Flemish Region (excluding the Brussels-Capital Region). CCS represent 10.45% of the number of self-employed people and 6.3% of the number of full time equivalents (FTEs) in the Flemish Region. They account for 5.6% of total gross value added and 13.39% of total turnover. These figures refer to both fully fledged creative activities and activities that have an important contribution to the creative value chain, but are not themselves a specifically creative activity. ‘Core’ creative activities account for 8.35% of self-employed people, 3.69% of FTEs, 3.23% of gross added value, and 3.21% of total turnover in the Flemish Region.
The figures on the Flemish Region do not allow for a direct comparison to the figures available on Eurostat. Eurostat provides data for the whole of Belgium with regard to cultural employment, cultural enterprises, and import and export of cultural goods.
Cultural employment in Belgium in 2018 makes up 4.3% (or 205 000 working persons) of total employment, which is more than the EU-28 average of 3.8% and is an increase compared to 2013 (3.8% or 170 000 working persons).
Eurostat’s structural business statistics on cultural enterprises (with only market-oriented activities) show that in 2017, these represent 6.5% of the non-financial business economy in Belgium — the fourth largest share of all current 27 EU member states. Each enterprise employed, on average, 1.9 persons in 2017 — which is below the estimated average for the EU-28 (3 persons per enterprise). Cultural enterprises constitute 1.4% of the total turnover and 2% of total value added in the Belgian non-financial business economy in 2017 (which are both slightly lower than the averages for the EU-27). We can further divide the value added of cultural enterprises per sector:
- Publishing of books, newspapers, journals, periodicals, and computer games: 0.45%
- Motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities: 0.29%
- Programming and broadcasting activities: 0.11%
- News agency activities: 0,02%
- Architectural activities: 0.38%
- Specialised design activities: 0.07%
With regard to the international trade of cultural goods (works of art, jewellery, antiques, books, film, etc.), exports of these goods comprises 0.3% of total exports from Belgium in 2018 (compared to 0.28% in 2013). Imports of cultural goods accounts for 0.36% of total imports in 2018 (a decrease when compared to 0.43% in 2013).
The policies and legal frameworks directed at the different CCS are discussed throughout sections 3, 4, and 7. These include instruments that offer support to cultural and creative industries (CCI) — or to what the European Commission has referred to as “the further stages of the value chain — including the production and dissemination stages of industrial and manufacturing operations”. The Arts Decree (see 3.3, 3.4, 3.5.4, 3.5.5, 4.2, and 7.2.2), for example, provides options for grants and project funding for legal bodies with a commercial character. The funds for literature (see 3.5.2) and audiovisual arts (see 3.5.3) subsidise independent productions in their respective disciplines. As stipulated in its current management agreement with the Flemish government, the Public Broadcaster (VRT, see 2.5.3) must participate in independent Flemish audiovisual productions. Former minister of Culture Sven Gatz (2014-2019) launched a number of initiatives for stimulating private funding in culture and cooperation with private and commercial partners (see 7.3). Other examples are the federal tax shelter agreements (see 4.1.4) for investors in audiovisual or performing arts productions.
Enterprises in the CCI can also apply for support schemes in the policy field of Economy, Science and Innovation (which reside with the Regions, not the Communities). The government agency Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) helps companies and research centres to realise their research and development projects by providing funding, advice and a network of potential partners in Flanders and abroad. Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) is another government agency — part of the separate Flemish policy field of Foreign Affairs — offering schemes for international entrepreneurial activities, including the CCI. As an investment firm of the Flemish government, PMV provides financing solutions for entrepreneurs in the CCI and other industries. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the government agency hub.brussels has similar functions as VLAIO in the Flemish Region. 1819 is the point of contact for entrepreneurs in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Flemish government supports Flanders DC as a point of contact for entrepreneurs in the CCI and CCS in Flanders, offering expertise, coaching, promotion, and network development. Persons working in the CCS and CCI can also take advice from Cultuurloket on business related and juridical questions. Another relevant, government funded organisation is the Social Innovation Factory, which promotes, guides and supports social and societal innovative entrepreneurial (including cultural) projects.
Specific challenges and policy issues in the respective cultural sectors and industries (caused by, for example, technological disruptions) are discussed in the other subsections of 3.5.
 Van Andel, W., and A. Schramme. 2015. Creatieve industrieën in Vlaanderen. Mapping en bedrijfseconomische analyse. Leuven: Antwerp Management School/Flanders DC; Departement EWI, VLAIO, and Flanders DC. 2019. ‘De creatieve sector in Vlaanderen’. creatievesector.be. Note that there are differences between these reports in the methodology applied.
 It should be noted that researchers have used “sectors” interchangeably with “industries”. See, for example: Van Andel, W., and A. Schramme. 2015. Creatieve industrieën in Vlaanderen. Mapping en bedrijfseconomische analyse. Leuven: Antwerp Management School/Flanders DC, 17.
 The cited figures on the Flemish Region include, for example, some NACE divisions that are not included in Eurostat’s cultural employment statistics or structural business statistics on cultural enterprises. A more detailed comparison falls outside the scope of this country profile.
Last update: November, 2020
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.
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 60-70.
Last update: November, 2020
Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) manages three funding bodies for co-financing respectively film productions (Film Fund), television series (Media Fund), and video games (Game Fund) in Flanders and Brussels. VAF enters into an agreement with the Flemish government and functions separately from the Arts Decree, which arranges the support for other artistic disciplines (except literature, see 3.5.2) — among them audiovisual work for multiple screens (which is usually shown in the exhibition circuit). Next to funding productions, VAF supplies grants, advice and workshops for screenwriters, directors, animators, game developers, and other (young) professionals in the audiovisual industry. It also subsidizes distributors, art house cinemas, film education, film festivals, film magazines, and other organisations, collaborations or projects that enhance film culture in Flanders. Some of these support schemes were until recently supplied by other organisations, funding bodies, or government levels (such as the provinces), but have now been centralized in VAF.
As Flanders Image, VAF organises the international promotion of Flemish audiovisual productions. Promotion of Flemish productions was mentioned in the coalition agreement of the current Flemish government (2019-2024) as a way of “reinforcing the Flemish identity”. This was the motivation behind an increase of the budget of VAF and a request to collaborate more with the Netherlands.
VAF furthermore advises Screen Flanders in the selection of project applications. Screen Flanders is a separate economic support measure for (Belgian and foreign) audiovisual productions that spend budget in the Flemish Region. Their budget is supplied by the government agency Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO, see also 3.5.1), which means it is a competence of the Flemish Region (not the Flemish Community, as is the case with culture). The Brussels-Capital Region has its own economic film fund, the Screen.brussels Fund. On the Federal level, there is a tax shelter scheme for audiovisual productions (see 4.1.4).
CINEMATEK, the Royal Belgian Film Archive, holds an extensive collection of film copies and documents on cinema. It is primarily funded by the Federal State and the National Lottery.
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the audiovisual sector. These include the danger of monopolies in distributing and screening cinema films, concern about changing spectator behaviour and its consequences for the distribution of Flemish audiovisual content and its revenue, concern about the options screenwriters, directors, and other professionals have to develop qualitative content and to innovate, and (the limits of) the international prominence of the Flemish audiovisual industry.
 For issues with regard to the film and television series, see also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 71-80.
Last update: November, 2020
The Arts Decree (see 4.2.3) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This includes composers, musicians and organisations (ensembles, concert houses, opera houses, music theatre companies, music clubs, management bureaus, music education outside schools, etc.) in classical music, folk, jazz, pop and rock music. The Arts Decree also arranges the support for Flanders Arts Institute — in which the former Flanders Music Centre merged — as the independent centre of expertise for professional performing arts, visual arts and (classical) music in Flanders. Flanders Arts Institute (see 5.5 and 7.2.1) shares expertise and data with artists and music organisations. It also supports professionals in classical music through the organisation of (international) promotion and networking opportunities (see also 1.4.3). Since 2019, VI.BE (formerly known as Poppunt) provide similar services for professionals in folk, jazz, pop and rock music, next to support for amateur pop and rock musicians and DJs.
The Flemish policy framework for amateur music is provided by the Decree on Amateur Arts (see 6.4). It arranges funding for Muziekmozaïek (folk and jazz), Vlamo (instrumental music), Koor&Stem (vocal music), and VI.BE, which in turn support amateur artists and associations. Professional concert organisers also collaborate for initiatives that provide career opportunities and counselling for (young) musicians.
CEMPER (which is funded through the Cultural Heritage Decree) is the expert hub for performing arts and musical heritage in Flanders. They collaborate together with Flanders Arts Institute and others in TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts. Other important institutions concerned with musical heritage in Flanders include the Study Centre for Flemish Music (SVM, dedicated to 19th- and 20th-century music), MATRIX (which has a library and documentation centre on contemporary classical music) and the libraries of the conservatoires of the Schools of Arts (see 5.3). Both Flanders Arts Institute and the Flemish Public Broadcaster (VRT) hold extensive collections of music recordings from Flanders and Brussels.
On the Federal level, BOZAR (centre for fine arts) and La Monnaie/De Munt (the national opera house) are important music venues. This level of government also provides support to the Belgian National Orchestra and the Musical Instruments Museum. The tax shelter for performing arts is also a Federal matter (see 4.1.4). Classical music, music theatre, and opera productions can make use of this scheme.
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the music sector and in public arts policy in the past five years (some of which are aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis). These include the precarious position of artists and the importance of fair practices (see 2.3 and 2.5.5), the danger of monopolies in different stages of the music value chain (such as the increasing power of streaming services in music distribution), budget cuts in funding for the arts (see 7.1.3), and the conditions for touring in Belgium and abroad. The changes in local cultural policy (see 1.2.4) — creating a different context for culture centres, which play a major role in programming concerts (see also 6.4) — and the effects of stricter rules on volume levels (in effect since 2013) have caused concern among music professionals and organisations.
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 50-59.
Last update: November, 2020
The Arts Decree (see 4.2.7) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This includes architects and designers in different disciplines, who can apply for funding non-commercial, artistically oriented activities. Also included are theoreticians and organisations that reflect on architecture and design. Museums and archives dealing with architectural or design heritage can receive funding through the Cultural Heritage Decree.
The Flemish government supports Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi) as the centre for information about Flemish architecture. They also hold architectural archives, publish on the subject, organise exhibitions, and do international promotion. VAi is one of the partners of TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
The official Flemish Government Architect and his team (part of the Flemish government Department of Public Governance and the Chancellery) is appointed for a four-year period and advises public patrons in the design and realization of built spaces in Flanders, as part of a policy to enhance their architectural quality. Among other things (see also 7.2.3), the Flemish Government Architect organises open calls for architects (from Belgium and abroad) to design projects by regional and local authorities, and stimulates reflection on architecture and urban planning (e.g. through disseminating publications on interesting visions and experiments). The Brussels-Capital Region has its own government architect (‘Bouwmeester’ or bMa). Cities such as Antwerp and Ghent also have their own ‘bouwmeesters’. Certain local and provincial authorities in Flanders fund organisations that support (local) designers through guidance, promotion and networking.
With regard to commercial activities, designers can apply for (general) support schemes in the policy fields of Foreign Affairs and Economy, Science and Innovation (see 3.5.1). Note that the latter — unlike Culture — are competences of the Regions and not the Communities. This means the Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region have different policies. Each Region respectively subsidizes an organisation that supports designers of all sorts in developing their (commercial) career: Flanders DC (in which the former Design Flanders merged, see also 3.5.1 and 7.2.1) and MAD Brussels.
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the architecture and design sector. These include the limited time and means that architects and designers can invest in researching and developing their praxis throughout their career, (the limits of) the international promotion and prominence of Flemish architecture and design, the (dis)connection between specialists’ and laymen’s views on what constitutes architectural quality, and the rethinking of the traditional role of the architect (from being a mere designer to trying to be a catalyst for social and ecological changes).
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 81-99.
Last update: November, 2020
Tourism is a competence of the Regions in Belgium. In the Flemish Region, VISITFLANDERS is the responsible government agency. They devise specific (support) programmes with the aim of promoting Flanders as a tourist attraction in Belgium and abroad. These include events, promotional campaigns, project funding, and market research in which arts, heritage, design, and fashion are the central themes. Examples are the projects on “Flemish Masters” (centred around the life and work of historical painters) and WWI. EventFlanders is a collaboration between VISITFLANDERS and other departments of the Flemish government with the goal of attracting large-scale (cultural) events to Flanders (such as the World Choir Games). Visit.brussels is the tourist agency of the Brussels-Capital Region. “Culture & City Life” is one of the main themes around which the agency is organised.