20 projects funded for European Year of Cultural Heritage


The government of Flanders has approved funding for 20 projects across the region that look at local history and heritage in new and surprising ways

In a whole new light

Local heritage is “in good hands,” said culture minister Sven Gatz, announcing more than €478,000 in funding for 20 projects that bring the past to life for current generations. The grants were available to projects related to cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.

The projects were chosen by Gatz and heritage minister Geert Bourgeois in recognition of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. With the tagline, “Our Heritage: Where the Past Meets the Future”, the goal of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to introduce EU citizens to different countries’ legacies and invite them to visit.

The initiative is part of the EU’s goal to strengthen the bonds between European nations, in this case by discovering histories both individual and shared and what different countries consider worthy of being preserved or passed on.

Varied and eclectic

Organisations in Flanders could apply for government subsidies for heritage projects involving preservation, education, research and events. “In light of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, we have chosen projects with an emphasis on our shared European history, norms and values,” said Bourgeois, in charge of heritage matters in the region. “We are committed to supporting the development of quality heritage management so that future generations of Flemings can continue to enjoy the riches of our past.”

Among the 20 projects, which are spread across the region, are Kempense Klaprozen, which is working to reconstruct the stories of soldiers from the Kempen area who were killed in the First World War.

Our heritage is living and flourishing, and is in good hands

- Culture minister Sven Gatz

Another is a festival devoted to the legacy of the Arenberg family, highly influential nobility based in Leuven who had a great influence on the city, region and Europe for four centuries. The festival begins in October.

A third project will see initiatives taken to promote the history and continuing legacy of Flanders’ begijnhoven, medieval communities of religious women that continue to exist today as architectural heritage.

“Taking a look at the list of projects receiving funding, it’s clear how many organisation and volunteers in the heritage sector are coming up with surprising and new ways to approach subjects and themes during this special European Year of Cultural Heritage,” said minister Gatz, responsible for culture. “Our heritage is living and flourishing, and is in good hands.”

Photo: Portrait from one of the exhibitions that will be part of the Arenberg Festival in Leuven this autumn
© Bruno Vandermeulen/KU Leuven