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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 16 January 2024


Main actors in policy making

Cultural responsibilities in Belgium and Flanders

In Belgium, the Communities have exclusive competence for cultural policy and its implementation. The Government of Flanders (Vlaamse Regering) can issue laws to that effect, called Flemish Parliament Acts. This implies that there is no Ministry of Culture at national level, but three Ministries of Culture at Community level, respectively for the Flemish, French and German speaking communities. Each community has developed its own policy with specific instruments and structures for implementation. In Flanders the Department of Culture, Youth and Media has been entrusted with this task.

Cultural Heritage policy in Belgium is however a shared competence amongst communities and regions (for the difference between communities and regions, see the official information site on Belgium). 

In Flanders the Flemish community, within its cultural competence, is responsible for movable tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It concerns policy regarding institutions and their collections, cultural heritage expert organisations, heritage objects such as paintings, sculptures, machines, furniture, … and also policy regarding transmission of habits and traditions, knowledge and competences, feasts and everyday life, …

The Flemish Region is responsible for immovable tangible heritage e.g. monuments, sites, landscapes, archaeology, …

Certain large cultural institutions in Brussels remain the responsibility of the federal government of Belgium.


Ministries and policy areas

In Flanders, there are two policy areas with responsibilities regarding creativity and culture for young people:

  • The policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media
  • The policy domain of Education and Training


The policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media

The competent ministers regarding creativity and culture for young people within this policy are the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Youth.

The Department of Culture, Youth and Media within the policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media is the main governmental authority responsible for creativity and culture for young people. Also, this policy area focuses on cultural learning within the non-formal and informal sphere, especially within family context (s) and in leisure time. Various organizations explicitly or implicitly assume a cultural educational role:

Within cultural policy, cultural education towards young people is one of the objectives of organizations in the sub-sectors of cultural heritage, arts, circus, amateur arts, literature, and film.

In addition to supporting cultural education associations, youth policy also focuses on supporting experimental projects on the cultural education of children and young people, and on supra-local projects to promote the artistic expression of young people in youth homes.

In the context of media policy, the Flemish Knowledge Centre for Media Literacy teaches people to deal more critically and consciously with our mediatised society.


The policy domain Education and Training

Within the Policy domain Education and Training the Flemish Minister for Education is responsible for formal cultural arts education within the school context.

More information on the constellation of this policy domain and the underlying structure can be found in 6.2.

Of specific importance towards arts education is CANON (CANON Cultuurcel). CANON Cultuurcel

  • provides information, inspiration and financial support to teachers regarding cultural education
  • conducts research and consultations on cultural education at Flemish and European level.


Cross-sectorial cooperation

Between culture, youth and education

The Flemish government has recognized the importance of arts and cultural education for a long time. In a protocol agreement dd. 18/02/2002, the Flemish Ministers of Education and Culture at the time agreed to develop a policy on the different levels of culture and education. Both ministers jointly and separately took various initiatives to implement this protocol.

In order to conduct a structural dialogue between the two policy areas, four advisory groups and one steering group were installed, including representatives of both departments in addition to a number of external experts. The Steering Group's objective was to set up a concrete timetable and action plan to achieve the objectives of the protocol while the advisory groups had the task of giving concrete recommendations and advice to the steering committee to achieve structural cooperation. These advisory groups focused on the different fields within which cooperation between Culture and Education can be formed, respectively, school time, leisure time, professional time and teacher education. The conclusions and recommendations issued partly led to the respective policy papers of both ministers, after which the steering and advisory groups were dissolved.

Yet the focus on this issue and - correspondingly - the need for close cooperation between the policy domains Culture, Youth and Education only gained momentum in later years.

Since then, regular consultations have been held between both administrations for information exchange and cooperation on the above topics. CANON Cultuurcel is the partner within the Policy Domain Education and Training. For example, various studies and publications have been prepared together ('Heritage Education in Flemish Education and XS-About Children, Culture & Communication', 2007).

Important documents in this regard are the concept notes ‘Growing in Culture’ (‘Groeien in cultuur’, 2012, see section 8.3) and ‘Continuing to Grow in Culture’ (Doorgroeien in cultuur’ 2013, see section 8.3). Based on these memoranda, a joint strategic policy framework was developed on cultural education for children and young people.

With the action plans ‘Education and Culture: together for more and better’ ('Cultuur en Onderwijs – Samen voor meer en beter’2016-2017, see section 8.3) and ‘Education and Culture: together for even more and better II’ (‘Onderwijs en Cultuur: samen voor nog meer en beter II’, 2018-2019), steps were taken towards such a joint policy.