26 protected monuments to get facelifts

Summary

The restoration will create jobs and help ensure the region remains attractive to tourists when the pandemic is over

Heritage at home

Flanders is to carry out a wave of restoration of historical monuments, including towers, castles, historic homes, farmsteads and mills.

“By investing in immovable heritage, we are having an impact on the future,” said Matthias Diependaele, minister in charge of heritage, in a statement. “We are creating jobs and contemporary solutions for creative industries and local businesses. We are reviving cities and regions and ensuring crafts are not forgotten.”

For this series of restorations, €12.5 million has been allocated to 26 protected monuments across the region in need of a facelift. Sites that will receive funding include school buildings that are being refurbished for contemporary education, monuments that can be used as housing in the future, and mills that are being made ready for use again.

Past and future

Heritage is a link with our shared past, Diependaele said, but also a major attraction for the tourists who come to visit Flanders’ cities, monuments, archaeological sites and historic landscapes. With travel restrictions because of the coronavirus crisis, locals have been able to appreciate the wealth of heritage close to home, and the funding made available will help to ensure Flanders remains an attractive location for tourists after the pandemic is over.

We are creating jobs and contemporary solutions for creative industries and local businesses

- Matthias Diependaele

Flanders’ recovery plan announced as part of the annual September Declaration provided a one-off €100 million to be invested in maintaining and restoring immovable heritage. Diependaele later announced that throughout this legislature, a total of €234 million would be invested in the field.

“Heritage is an important economic sector and that is how we create employment,” said Diependaele. “Other economic sectors benefit too, which in economic terms is called the spillover effect. Tourism, for example, because Flanders is an attractive destination thanks to our rich heritage. Redevelopment and restoration of immovable heritage ensure that the environment in which we live and do business is upgraded.”

Photo: Hotel d'Hanins de Moerkerke in Bruges, one of the monuments earmarked for restoration

© Mark Ryckaert/Wikimedia Commons