Flanders’ child-friendly towns and cities win awards


Eight municipalities in Flanders have been given the title of ‘child-friendly town’ at an awards ceremony in Ghent

A policy for all children

Flemish youth minister Sven Gatz has given eight Flemish municipalities the title of “child-friendly town”. The awards were decided by a jury of organisations that work with young people, including Unicef, the children’s rights commissioner and the association of Flemish youth services.

The winning municipalities are Temse, Dendermonde and Geraardsbergen in East Flanders, Kortrijk, Middelkerke and Poperinge in West Flanders, Herenthout (Antwerp province) and Leuven (Flemish Brabant).

“The label of child-friendly town creates a dynamism in local authorities to get to work on children’s rights,” children’s rights commissioner Bruno Vanobbergen said on behalf of the jury. “A child-friendly policy is a policy for all children, and it covers all of the areas that affect children. Which is all of them, from the social aid agency to the parks department.”

The awards ceremony took place in Ghent, one of the recipients in 2014 when the awards were last handed out. Ghent is hosting the international Child in the City conference this week. The label had “encouraged Ghent to make work on children’s rights a daily concern”, said Elke Decruynaere, councillor in charge of youth matters.

“Child-friendliness is the same as people-friendliness,” Gatz said. “Children are not the only ones to benefit from pleasant surroundings, safe streets or good cultural and youth infrastructure.” 

Photo: Child-friendly delegation representing Geraardsbergen
©Courtesy VVJ