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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.3 National strategy on creativity and culture for young people

Last update: 28 November 2023

Existence of a national strategy

Currently, the Flemish government implements a transversal policy for cultural education. The policy is not organized by sub-sectors, but runs across the different cultural sectors. Therefore one speaks about cultural education in a broad sense, of which art education, social-artistic work and heritage education are part of. 

In recent years, the respective ministers for culture and education worked more closely together in their policies on cultural education and joint initiatives were taken. This led to a joint strategy, which was included in the following four official documents.


  1. Concept note ‘Growing in culture’ (‘Groeien in cultuur’, 2012):

On January 20, 2012, the Flemish Government approved the concept note "Growing in culture" . The note addresses the need for more transversal policy attention for cultural education, outlines the contours of a common strategic policy framework and a first action plan. This made it possible to develop a joint policy in the long run, to build a single quality framework for cultural education, to better align existing regulations and to set up joint actions. All actions, mentioned in this policy paper, aimed at providing children and young people with all opportunities to develop their creative talents, thus enabling a lively interaction between culture, youth and educational practice.


  1. Concept note ‘Continuing to Growin Culture’ (‘Doorgroeien in cultuur’, 2013)

The Flemish government approved the concept note on Cultural education "Doorgroeien in Cultuur" on July 19, 2013. This note sets out a strategic policy framework for cultural education for adults (18-plus) and explains the policy vision and objectives. Also, the note entails some actions and initiatives that contribute to these objectives.

Doorgroeien in Cultuur is an additional complementary note on "Groeien in Cultuur", starting, like the previous note, from the need for a more overarching culture education policy, this time for 18-plus. In Doorgroeien in Cultuur, the key question is: how can we appeal to 18-plus people to "grow in" in different life stages and in different life domains? Also in this document the interfaces between Culture, Education and Youth remain as a starting point. Making connections between the different types of learning environments (part-time arts education, social association, art or heritage organization, an amateur company ...) is a priority.


  1. Action Plan ‘Culture and Education: Together for more and better’ (Actieplan 'Cultuur en Onderwijs – Samen voor meer en beter’, 2016)

On 14/10/2016, the Flemish Government adopted the “Action Plan Culture and Education: Together for more and better “. Based on this plan, Flemish Ministers of Education and of Culture strengthened their cooperation. It was their ambition to enjoy each child and every young person, regardless of the home and socioeconomic background, of culture. Professional organizations from the cultural sector are given a more pronounced role.


  1. Action Plan ‘Education and Culture: together for even more and better II’ (Actieplan ‘Onderwijs en Cultuur: samen voor nog meer en beter II’, 2018-2019)

With this action plan, the policy areas culture and education wished to anchor their joint policy even more firmly. This through a multi-year plan with a clear mission and vision that is propagated by the competent ministers and senior officials and further concretised in operational annual plans with concrete actions.

This action plan provides a more formal and structural framework that includes the following:

(1) both competent ministers and senior officials of the relevant departments and agencies endorse for a period of 2 years (2018-2019) a number of shared challenges and interests at strategic level;

(2) each year an operational plan (action plan) with a linked financial plan is drawn up in implementation of these strategic choices;

(3) a sounding board group is set up from the relevant sectors and involved in the preparation and realization of these plans.


Scope and contents


With the current Action Plan ‘Education and Culture: together for even more and better II’and the previous concept notes, it is the ambition to let every child and every young person enjoy culture, regardless of the home and socio-economic background.

Professional organizations in the cultural sector are given a more pronounced role in this objective. will be further developed as a digital platform to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between culture and education, both virtual and in reality.


The action plan takes as a reference the theory of ‘Culture in the Mirror‘ (Cultuur in de Spiegel, CiS), a theory which defines culture as a cognitive process of giving meaning by means of four cultural skills: observing, imagining, conceptualizing and analyzing.

Actions are rolled out over three domains.

  • Further roll-out of CiS: information and communication on the theoretical framework "Cultuur in de Spiegel"
  • Facilitate dialogue and cooperation between the policy domains of culture and education, e.g. by the optimization of the digital platform "CultuurKuur", the organization of a yearly conference on cultural education
  • Providing professionals in both cultural and educational sector, possibilities for training and networking to work within the theoretical framework, to work together and to learn from each other
  • Deepening content knowledge: This entails supporting, disseminating and facilitating knowledge building and sharing (e.g. by means of pilot projects, seminars, ….).



Responsible authority for the implementation of the strategy

Existing channels within the culture and education policy areas will be activated to achieve the goals. In particular CANON Cultuurcel (within the Communication Division of the Department Education and Training) and the Department of Culture, Youth and Media will be responsible for implementation of the strategy. They will for instance:

  • be responsible for the communication of the theoretical framework and empirical results
  • be in charge for the training of experts in cultural education
  • guide pilot projects

There hasn’t been yet an evidence-based monitoring or evaluation of the implementation of the action plan been conducted.



The action note sets out a number of objectives for 2018 and 2019. However, the two policy areas wish to go beyond the stated objectives and actions in this short-term plan and to set benchmarks in the long term.

To do this substantiated, the note and follow-up trails will be followed by a group of educational and cultural professionals with experience in the practice of cultural education. This focus group will be tasked to monitor closely the policy developments and monitor the actions listed in the note, and to report and make proposals for adaptation or improvement where necessary.