CULTURAL HERITAGE POLICY
Belgium is a Federal State composed of three Communities and three Regions. In brief, the Belgian State exercises the major sovereign functions such as the Justice, Defence and the Interior. The Communities manage the matters related to the public, such as education, while the Regions are responsible for matters related to the territory, such as spatial planning and management of the roads and waterways. Some competences, such as the environment or energy, are shared (State – Regions). The immovable component of heritage (monuments, sites, architectural complexes, archaeology) is managed by the Regions, and the movable and intangible aspect (museums, archives, etc.) by the Community. There are however two exceptions; the German-speaking Community and the Brussels-Capital Region combine both competences. Each federated entity exercises its competences independently and autonomously. In Wallonia, the Agence Wallonne du Patrimoine (AWaP) [Walloon Heritage Agency] is part of the Operational Directorate for Spatial Planning, Housing, Heritage and Energy (DG04). It is composed of central services located in Namur (capital of the Walloon Region) which carry out transversal tasks, and decentralised services which carry out local tasks. The Walloon territory is divided into three zones: the eastern zone (Province of Liège, headquartered in Liège), the western zone (Province of Hainault, headquartered in Mons) and the central zone (Provinces of Walloon Brabant, Namur and Luxembourg, headquartered in Namur).
See the site of the Walloon Heritage Agency (AWaP).
Walloon Heritage Agency
This is a self-accounting administrative service created on 1 January 2018 by the combination of two pre-existing structures, the Département du Patrimoine [Heritage Department] and the Institut du Patrimoine wallon [Walloon Heritage Institute] (a public interest body). The Walloon Heritage Agency takes on and coordinates the tasks of its predecessors, which can be enumerated in five keywords: excavate, protect, restore, train and sensitise. It includes approximately 350 persons with many profiles: architect, archaeologist, art historian, agronomist, geographer, geologist, landscaper, accountant, computer graphics artist, administrative officer, skilled worker, etc.
It is composed of nine directorates, three territorial directorates and six operational directorates.
Organisational chart of the Walloon Heritage Agency.
Strategic Development Directorate
This manages the properties and collections of the Walloon Region and develops activities to support owners. It also takes charge of complex projects for restoration and reuse of listed property. In addition, it manages grants of subsidies to associations and groups that develop activities promoting heritage. It includes the international unit, which provides international policy with regard to heritage (Unesco, Council of Europe, relations with the European Union, European programmes).
Scientific and Technical Support Directorate
This develops transversal expertise useful to the other directorates. It inventories, preserves and studies the heritage. It manages preserves, restores and adds value to collections that are entrusted to or belong to it. It accredits the repositories of archaeological objects and controls their management. It preserves and organises documentary sources and ensures their accessibility.
Administrative Support Directorate
Its activities aim to allow the Agency to successfully complete its tasks.
It provides accounting and budgetary management of the activities of the Agency as well as the IT programme for the services. It handles appeals with regard to heritage. It plays the role of correspondent for the personnel with regard to personnel management service of the entire Walloon Public Service.
Heritage Promotion Directorate
Its task is to raise awareness of and promote heritage. It fulfils its role with various types of activities: publications, periodicals, participation in exhibitions and fairs, organisation of events such as Heritage Days, Walloon archaeology days or colloquia and exhibitions. It also grants subsidies to raise awareness for organisation of colloquia and exhibitions or for publication of works.
Directorate of Training in Heritage Professions
It is charged with transmitting and developing knowledge, skills and techniques by raising awareness and training in heritage professions. The Centre for Heritage Professions (Centre des métiers du patrimoine) and the Stonework Centre (Pôle de la Pierre) offer a wide array of training programmes ranging from advanced training to training leading to a qualification or mid-career training.
Directorate of Operational Coordination
As its name indicates, it coordinates transversal processes. It coordinates procedures for taking inventory, classification, heritage evaluation, permit authorisations, regulatory subsidies and preventive archaeology. It harmonises procedures and ensures that ways of working are consistent and regulations and deadlines are observed.
The territorial directorates
The Walloon territory has been divided into three parts: the western zone, which corresponds to the Province of Hainault; the eastern zone that corresponds to the Province of Liège, and the central zone, which combines the Provinces of Walloon Brabant, Namur and Luxembourg.
They have various competences. They are charged with heritage evaluation of assets, from inclusion in the inventory to listing. They are also charged with evaluating the state of preservation of the listed assets, identifying the work to be envisaged, and planning it. In addition, they take charge of authorisation and follow-up of work on listed assets. They manage the subsidies for study, preservation, restoration and development of heritage. They coordinate restoration work on and maintenance of the Walloon folk heritage. Finally, they are also in charge of archaeological operations involving essentially preventive archaeology, but with rescue archaeology and planned excavation activities in addition.
A coordination platform regularly brings together the directors in charge of the various directorates to exchange information and good practices and enhance the consistency of the Agency’s activities.
The heritage code collects the texts governing heritage management in Wallonia. It includes provisions involving the identification, protection, preservation and restoration of the heritage, including the archaeological heritage. It includes special provisions for the Walloon sites registered or proposed for registration on the World Heritage List.
The heritage code is largely inspired by the conventions of the Council of Europe.
RATIFIED INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
- Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954): ratified by Belgium on 16 September 1970
- Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1999), ratified by Belgium on 13 October 2010
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) – ratified by Belgium on 31 March 2009
- Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972): ratified by Belgium on 24 July 1996
- Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001): ratified on 5 August 2013
- Convention for the Safeguarding of Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003): ratified by Belgium on 24 March 2006
Council of Europe
- Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada, 1985): ratified by Belgium on 17 September 1992
- European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Valletta, 1992) (revised); ratified by Belgium on 8 October 2010
- European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000): ratified by Belgium on 28 October 2004
- Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005): signed by Belgium on 25 June 2012, ratification in progress
- Country profiles
- Belgium - Brussels Capital
- Belgium - Flemish region
- Belgium - Wallonia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Moldova
- Russian Federation
- San Marino
- Slovak Republic
- “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
- United Kingdom - England
- United Kingdom - Northern Ireland
- United Kingdom - Scotland
- United Kingdom - Wales