Webinar on good practices from Flanders, Belgium was organized on the 14th of May by Innocastle partner University College Ghent, because the study visit to Flanders had to be postponed due to the current situation. The focus of the webinar was on local projects, and how they are connected with certain policies in the area. Issues were discussed at all levels – from a policy, local and practical point of view.

Take a look at the full webinar here

The Flemish policies will be discussed further at the study visit in Flanders, Belgium in November 2020. Details for the planned event are available here.

The three good practices presented were as follows:

Marc De Bie: The Integration of Landscape in the Flanders Heritage Agency

The Immovable Heritage Master Plan is an instrument inscribed in the heritage policy of the Flanders Heritage Agency and it is a process oriented participative instrument intended to create an integrated approach towards specific heritage challenges. 

Implementation of the master plan is a mixture of commitment and action. The Flemish government together with other governmental levels, local and private initiatives all contribute together to develop and safeguard the specific heritage. The instrument has a large potential for rural estates. A first pilot project with this instrument is being executed and can be accessed here

A slide show presented during the webinar can be accessed here.

Griet Celen: ‘Open Ruimte Werken’. A thematic cross-sectoral approach towards regional development

‘’The Open Space Movement’’ (‘Open Ruimte Werken’) is a programmatic approach to the open space in Flanders. It connects people working together on different levels and this in relation to specific recurring challenges. One of the recurring challenges is called ‘valued landscapes’ and this is directly linked to rural estates. By grouping multiple projects all facing a similar challenge, a collective learning experience is realised. The coordination, support and funding by different Flemish agencies further helps each group to overcome their obstacles. It is an efficient way to create an integrated approach towards the open space. 

The Open Space Movement wants to bring together the knowledge, experience, tools and capacity of various governments, civil society organizations and local initiators to develop new and already existing methods for open space and for open space policy. More information here

A slide show presented during the webinar can be accessed here.

Paul Lambrechts: Redeveloping Rural Estate Heers

 A 16th-century castle at Heers, Belgium is a great example of community engagement and programming, where +100 volunteers have become involved to draw more attention to the precarious state of the rural estate. Through a pragmatic focus on the landscape of the estate, the group increased the meaning of the domain for the local community, the heritage sector and the regional and national government. 

Feasible actions for a small group of volunteers such as clearing the landscaped garden, organising outdoor events, activating the bread mill and so on is slowly leading to the needed interest and funding to safeguard the estate in its totality. This step by step redevelopment process gives time to develop and explore innovative ways to use the estate in the future. 

A slide show presented during the webinar can be accessed here.

Related good practices

Participants of the webinar also shared relevant insights into different projects related to the topics discussed.

An interesting example of a restoration school at the Bontida Castle in Romania which could be inspiring for the Heers estate:


REMPART project organises annual big restoration projects with strong social, training and participation elements: www.rempart.com

Funding possibilities for feasibility studies, examples from the Netherlands:



The UK Heritage Lottery to address issues and benefits of feasibility studies: www.heritagefund.org.uk/our-work/making-it-happen-feasibility-study-making-us-resilient-long-term 

A collaboration of the National Lottery Heritage Fund: www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/good-practices/item/3897/collaboration-with-the-national-lottery-heritage-fund/

The Ambulance for Monuments project was launched in 2016 to rescue hundreds of heritage-listed buildings in Romania through a large network of active heritage organisations: