Flemish projects win prestigious Europa Nostra Awards


A brewery-cum-cultural centre and a First World War project have been recognised by the EU as outstanding cultural heritage

The Great War Through the Eyes of Children

Two projects in Flanders have won a Europa Nostra Award, the European Union’s most prestigious recognition of cultural heritage. The De Hoorn brewery in Leuven has won the prize in the Conservation category, while the project Grote oorlog door kinderogen (The Great War Through the Eyes of Children) has been honoured in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising.

De Hoorn (pictured) is the birthplace of Stella Artois, dating back to 1923, but it had stood empty and unused for 20 years when a group of entrepreneurs acquired the building in 2007. They worked to turn it into a dynamic cultural centre, which opened in 2012.

“This initiative has greatly contributed to the preservation of an important piece of industrial heritage in Leuven, thanks to their creative use of space within a well-preserved industrial framework,” the prize jury said.

The Great War project, meanwhile, brings together the province and tourist agency of West Flanders, animation studio Kidscam and non-profit Lessen in het Donker (Lessons in the Dark). Fourteen classes of pupils from the fifth and sixth years of primary school investigated the First World War and presented their findings in an animation film.

“With such an action-oriented approach, the children were able to present their understanding of the First World War, and reflect on what they had learned,” the jury said. “The project demonstrates a useful way to look back on that difficult time, and to inspire the children to deal with empathy and solidarity with the people who had to go through those ordeals.”

This year, 187 projects from 36 countries were nominated for Europa Nostra prizes. Of those, 28 were given awards, seven of which will be chosen for the Grand Prize in May. The public can also vote for their favourite project.

Photo: Philippe Dujardin/Europa Nostra