International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

Belgium


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 03/2024

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Belgium

Belgium, nestled in the heart of Europe, is celebrated not only for its rich cultural diversity but also for its commitment to preserving and promoting its cultural heritage. As a member state of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Belgium stands at the forefront of international collaboration in safeguarding our shared legacy. Belgium boasts a wealth of cultural heritage, ranging from medieval towns and Gothic cathedrals to renowned art collections with masterpieces by the Flemish Primitives, Bruegel, Rubens, and modern masters like René Magritte and James Ensor. Cities like Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels are living testaments to the country's historical and artistic legacy. With three official languages (Dutch, French, and German), Belgium's linguistic diversity is a crucial cultural asset, contributing to a rich tapestry of literature, theatre, and linguistic expressions. These cultural assets collectively contribute to Belgium's unique identity.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

Belgium places a significant emphasis on the preservation and promotion of its cultural heritage, which includes tangible and intangible elements. Belgium's cultural heritage conservation legislation is organized within the federal framework and involves coordination between the federal government, the linguistic communities (Flemish, French, and German-speaking), and the regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels-Capital).

At the federal level, the government has responsibilities related to the protection of national cultural heritage, particularly aspects that have implications beyond regional or linguistic boundaries. Federal legislation may cover issues such as the export of cultural goods, the protection of archaeological sites, and the regulation of certain museums. Belgium has the Law of 7 August 1931 on the Conservation of Monuments and Sites and the Law of 16 May 1960 on the cultural heritage of the nation. A number of (large) cultural institutions fall under the responsibility of the Federal State, including the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), which played a major role in the creation of ICCROM.

Each linguistic community in Belgium has the authority to legislate on cultural heritage matters within its linguistic and regional area. The Communities are responsible for movable property.

• Flemish Community – within the region of Flanders. The Flemish Government establishes the list of movable cultural heritage of the Flemish Community (the “list of masterpieces”). This list includes all movable property and collections that should be kept in the Flemish Community for their archaeological, historical, cultural-historical, artistic or scientific interest for the Flemish Community.

• French Community – in the Wallonia region and the Brussels-Capital Region.

• German-speaking Community – for the German-speaking population in the eastern part of Wallonia. It is important to draw attention to the fact that the German-speaking Community is the only community with competence in the field of immovable cultural heritage.

The Regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels-Capital) also play a crucial role in cultural heritage conservation. Regional governments have legislative power over cultural heritage within their specific geographic areas. The Regions (and the German-speaking Community) are responsible for immovable property.

• Flanders: The Flemish Region, aligned with the Flemish Community, legislates on regional cultural heritage conservation matters in Flanders.

• Wallonia: The Walloon Region, corresponding with the French Community in Wallonia, develops legislation on cultural heritage conservation within Wallonia.

• Brussels-Capital: The Brussels-Capital Region has legislative authority over cultural heritage conservation in the Brussels area.

The collaborative approach between federal, community, and regional levels of government reflects Belgium's commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while recognizing the diversity of linguistic and regional identities within the country.

Belgium is a party to various international conventions related to cultural heritage conservation. This includes the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Belgium has embraced Council of Europe conventions, such as the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, the Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe, and the European Landscape Convention.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List
With a total of 16 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and 18 Cultural practices and expressions of intangible heritage, Belgium's rich heritage is not only protected but also enhanced, allowing it to be widely known and accessible to all.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Belgium is a Member State of ICCROM since 07/07/1959

Within ICCROM

Director-General:

Paul Philippot, from 1971 to 1977

Deputy Director:
Paul Philippot, from 1959 to 1971

Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

1958-1960: Paul Coremans, president of the GA in 1965
1986-2003: Liliane Masschelein-kleiner
2006-2013: Myriam Serck-Dewaide
2018-2021: Hilde De Clercq
2022-2025: Camille De Clercq

ICCROM Staff since 1959: 4

Involvement of Belgian Nationals

Activities in/with Belgium since 2002


Activities details

Activities details


  • 2002 - 3 Mission(s)
  • 2003 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2004 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2006 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2008 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 1 Course(s)
  • 2012 - 2 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2013 - 3 Mission(s)
  • 2014 - 3 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 2 Course(s), 5 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2016 - 2 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)
  • 2017 - 7 Mission(s)
  • 2018 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 4 Mission(s)
  • 2021 - 2 Course(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2022 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s)
  • 2023 - 1 Course(s), 4 Mission(s), 3 Partnership(s)
  • 2024 - 5 Mission(s)


External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.