Mechelen cathedral restoration fund granted €1.2 million


Restoration of the 13th-century cathedral began more than 30 years ago, and the latest phase will see the facade cleaned and repaired

€12m for heritage projects

The government of Flanders has approved nearly €1.2 million in funding for restoration work on Sint-Rombouts cathedral in Mechelen. The cathedral (pictured) dates to the 13th century and has been a listed monument since 1938.

Mechelen became Belgium’s archdiocese in the 1500s and is still the home of the country’s archbishop, cardinal Jozef De Kesel. Restoration of the cathedral started in 1985. The current phase concerns cleaning and repairs to the facade. The cathedral remains open for services.

Minister-president Geert Bourgeois, whose portfolio also includes heritage affairs, announced that the government had also listed two electric harbour cranes in Antwerp as monuments.

The cranes, known as 400 KA and 410 KD and located on the Rijnkaai near the Mas museum, represent a high point in the development of crane technology from the 1950s. 410 KD was operational until 2003, and both cranes are testament to the growth of Antwerp as a port.

Over the last two months, Bourgeois has approved funding of more than €12 million for heritage projects. They include €787,000 for the restoration of the Middelkerke’s town hall and an Art Deco building, listed monuments since 2002 and 2009 respectively.

A sum of nearly €1.9 million will be spent on restoring two forts that form part of the ring of fortifications around Antwerp, part of the former military protection of the city, while €1 million will be spent on the boarding school wing of Sint-Jozef college in Aalst, which dates in its original form to the 18th century. The college was founded in 1620.

There will be €1.7 million for the old water tower in Ostend, which originates from 1900 and has a 50-metre neo-gothic tower and a capacity of 700 cubic metres. €600,000, meanwhile, has been earmarked for Ypres’s landmark Cloth Hall and tower, which houses the In Flanders Fields museum.