Vooruit, Concertgebouw applying for “major cultural institution” status


Flanders’ culture minister has asked Bruges’ Concertgebouw and Ghent’s Vooruit to apply to be on the list of the region’s recognised culture giants

“The Vincent Kompanys of the culture sector”

Flemish culture minister Sven Gatz has invited the Concertgebouw in Bruges and Ghent’s Vooruit to apply to be included on the list of the region’s major cultural institutions. The list currently features seven institutions: deSingel, deFilharmonie, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA), all in Antwerp; Ancienne Belgique concert hall and Brussels Philharmonic, both in Brussels; and Kunsthuis Opera/Ballet Vlaanderen, based between Antwerp and Ghent.

Bruges’ Concertgebouw, which opened in 2002 when the city was the European Capital of Culture, “is recognised for the unique manner in which it has been able to create a profile since its beginnings,” Gatz said in a statement. “In such a short time, the institution has succeeded in making a name for itself for high quality, diverse and challenging programming.”

Vooruit (pictured), on the other hand, was constructed in 1913 as the socialist party’s culture and function hall. It was transformed into a cultural centre in 1983. “Vooruit has also had a remarkable career,” Gatz said. “Its power of attracting young people over the years has made it a unique example of permanent renewal. The institution is part of the DNA of artistic life in Flanders and beyond.”

With the inclusion of the two organisations, he said, East and West Flanders are now represented, giving a more even regional spread of recognised institutions. “The major Flemish arts institutions are the Vincent Kompanys of the culture sector. They have to be a role model on and off the pitch, nationally and internationally.” 

The two institutions will now submit a candidacy for inclusion on the list, which will be considered by a committee of international experts. A decision should be taken before the summer.

Photo courtesy Visit Gent


Located in the heart of Ghent, the Vooruit is one of Flanders’ best-known arts and culture centres. With everything from vegetarian cooking workshops to cultural hackathons, the centre prides itself on its edgy programming.
Red roots - The Ghent Socialist movement originally opened the Vooruit Feestlokaal, or Party Room, as an “opera for the working people”.
Award - The Vooruit won the Flemish Monument Prize in 2000.
Techno - As part of the Gentse Feesten festivities, the Vooruit hosts the Ten Days Off techno music festival each July.
1 913

inauguration Vooruit building

2 000

activities per year

275 000

annual visitors