Policy Profile Belgium

Introduction

Belgium is a member state of the European Union and is therefore required to implement all EU directives, laws, regulations and policies, including those related to heritage and culture.

Belgium, the EU and Europe

The European Commission has a Representation Office and the European Parliament a Liaison Office, both in Brussels. The Belgium Government has a Permanent Representation to the European Union.

National Cultural Policy in Belgium

Belgium’s national cultural policy is unique and complex, reflecting its federal structure and the country’s linguistic and regional diversity. The cultural policy in Belgium is primarily managed at the community level, with three main communities — Flemish, French, and German-speaking — each responsible for their own cultural affairs. 

Regional Policies in Belgium

Flanders

The management and promotion of cultural heritage in Flanders involve collaboration among various regional and local bodies. The Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed (Heritage Agency of Flanders) plays a central role in the protection and management of immovable heritage, while the Departement Cultuur, Jeudg & Media (Department of Culture, Youth, and Media) oversees broader cultural policy and funding. FARO, the Flemish Institution for Cultural Heritage, supports professional development and public engagement, and the Vlaamse Erfgoedbibliotheken (Flemish Heritage Library) focuses on preserving written heritage. The Monumentenwacht Vlaanderen (Monuments Guard) provides expert advice and maintains a cultural heritage database with inspection reports on the state of immovable cultural heritage in Flanders. Apart from these bodies, local authorities are crucial for managing heritage at the municipal level. Together, these organisations work to preserve, protect, and promote the rich cultural heritage of Flanders.

Wallonia

The management and promotion of cultural heritage in Wallonia involve a collaborative effort among various regional and community-level institutions. The Agence Wallonne du Patrimoine (the Walloon Heritage Agency) and the Direction générale opérationnelle de l’Aménagement du Territoire, du Logement, du Patrimoine et de l’Énergie (Directorate-General for Spatial Planning, Housing, Heritage and Energy) are key regional bodies, while the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Ministry of the French Community) contributes significantly to research, promotion, and funding for the arts and cultural heritage. The Commission Royale des Monuments, Sites et Fouilles (The Royal Commission for Monuments, Sites and Excavations) provides expert advice, and local authorities play a crucial role in grassroots heritage management. Together, these bodies work to preserve and celebrate Wallonia’s rich cultural heritage.

German-speaking Community of Belgium 

The preservation and promotion of cultural heritage in the German-speaking Community of Belgium are managed through a combination of governmental bodies, local municipalities, museums, and cultural associations. The Ministry of the German-speaking Community, particularly through its Department of Culture, plays a central role in policy development, funding, and promotion. Local municipalities support grassroots heritage initiatives, while institutions like IKOB – Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst (Museum of Contemporary Art) and various NGOs contribute to the dynamic engagement with cultural heritage. Together, these bodies ensure the protection and celebration of the unique cultural heritage of the German-speaking region in Belgium.

View all Belgium policies gathered so far

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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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