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Country Summary for BELGIUM

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property

NOTE:  Belgium, a federal state, comprises three levels of government: Federal (based in Brussels); Regional (Flanders, Wallonia, and the Brussels-Capital region); and Community-based governments centered on the three languages (Dutch-speaking, French-speaking, and German-speaking). 

In 1989, cultural heritage management was transferred to the individual language communities and the Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites (CRMS) was created. The Regions exercise authority over matters concerned with territory (e.g. foreign trade); whereas the Communities maintain control over social matters (e.g. culture and education). Regional and Community governments may manage separate aspects of a single issue, and the boundaries of the territories are not distinct. For example, although the Brussels-Capital Region exists within Flanders, it is predominantly French-speaking; Brussels’ government manages physical monuments and sites within its borders, while Flemish and French communities divide control of the region’s social regulations. The Dutch-speaking Community is coextensive with the Flemish Region, but the German-speaking Community occupies part of the otherwise French-speaking Walloon Region.   

The complexity of the Belgian structure for regulation of art and cultural heritage hinders its distillation into a concise summary; not all potentially relevant legislation has been translated or listed.


For the French Community:
'Heritage'—all property whose protection is justified by reason of its historical, archeological, scientific, artistic, social, technical or scenic interest. (WHD 1999, Art. 185)

For the Flemish Community
'Protected Object'—a movable good that, or a collection which, because of its archaeological, historical, culture-historical, artistic or scientific importance, was entered in the register [established under Art. 3 §1 and including both publicly- and privately-owned items] of the movable cultural heritage of the Flemish Community. (FMHA 2003, Art. 2)


For the Flemish Community
The Flemish Government shall establish a register of the movable cultural heritage of the Flemish Community [of] any movable goods as well as any collections […] that are to be kept within the Flemish Community because of their archaeological, historical, culture-historical, artistic or scientific importance to the Flemish Community. (FMHA 2003, Art. 3 §1)

For the French Community:
Services of the French Community shall establish and maintain a descriptive and photographic inventory of classified movable cultural property, treasures of the French Community, and of all moveable cultural property found in the Annex to Directive 93/7/EEC…(FCD 2002, Art. 22)

The Government prepares and updates an inventory of archeological sites of the Walloon region. (WHD 1999, Art. 233)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
For the Flemish Community:
Mr. Hans Feys
Collectie Vlaanderen
Afdeling Erfgoed
Arenbergstraat 9
1000 Bruxelles
Ph: +32 (0)2 553 68 26
F: +32 (0)2 553 68 43

For the Wallonian Region:
Jean Plumier
Inspecteur General expert
Service public de Wallonie
Agence Wallonne du Patrimoine
Rue des Brigades d'Irlande, 1

Phone : +32 (0) 81 33 24 83
or 33 21 73

For the Federal State:
Dr. Philippe Mettens
Président du Comité de direction
Belgian Science Policy Office
Avenue Louise, 231
1050 Bruxelles Ph: 0(2) 238 37 11

For the French Community:
Patrice Dartevelle
Directeur du Service du Patrimoine culturel
Boulevard Léopold II, 44
1080 Bruxelles
Ph: 0(2) 413 20 34
F: 0(2) 413 20 07

For the German Community:
Isabelle Weykmans
Minister for Culture, Media and Tourism
Ministry of the German-speaking Community (DG)
Gospertstrasse 1 bis 5
4700 Eupen

Ph: 0(8) 759 63 00
F: 0(8) 755 64 76

For the Région Bruxelles-Capitale:
Griet Meyfroots
Commission Royale des Monuments et des Sites
Avenue Brugmann 52-54
1190 Bruxelles
Ph: 0(2) 346 40 62
F: 0(2) 346 53 45