Looking Ahead: The Future of the Largest Cultural Event in Flanders, Belgium


The last thirty years have seen numerous events dedicated to celebrating regional and European heritage in Flanders, Belgium during the local version of European Heritage Days - Open Monumenten  (Open Monuments Day).

On Sunday 8 September, visitors toFlanders, Belgium are welcome to take part in the exploration of heritage of Arts and Entertainment at Open Monumenten 2019. Herita's brochure on the theme can be found here. Building on the previous successful seasons, local organisers of heritage inspired events can register their events on the Open Monumentendag website. The registration form is open from 25th March until 25th July.



2018 Highlights

2018 marked several important milestones for Flemish heritage. A total of 880 activities organised at 680 heritage sites celebrated the 30th anniversary of Open Monuments Day in the region on 9 September.

Coinciding with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the celebrations underlined some of the most important themes connected to European dimensions of local heritage. Heritage in Europe – Europe in Heritage was one of the themes aimed at exploring the link to European roots highlighted in the inspiration guide - 30 Years of Open Monument Day, 30 Event Ideas. The ebook was translated to English in order to serve as a resource of creative ideas for organisers of European Heritage Days across the continent.

Another important publication was created to honour 30 years of heritage exploration in Flanders. Celebrating Monuments Together: 1 Day - 30 Stories was designed to give devoted heritage custodians centre stage. By highlighting heritage activists and their efforts to sustain and promote regional heritage within the European context during Open Monuments Day, organisers are encouraging future work towards better understanding and engagement with different aspects of Flemish heritage.

Marking the hundredth anniversary of the end of the World War I, events during Open Monuments Day 2018 were dedicated to commemorating this important landmark in the context of promoting common themes of peace and unity.

Continuing the tradition of previous years, the events opened with the Avant Premiere. Being held one day before OMD, the concept included exploration of 13 heritage sites by 734 members of Herita – the Flemish heritage organisation that coordinates Open Monumenten. The event is aimed at raising funds for conservation of monuments participating in the programme.

Important Insights and Future Plans

Along with providing thousands of visitors with numerous unique heritage inspired experiences, the lessons learned from this year’s Open Monumentendag are being used as the basis of decision making for future heritage management. The evaluation data collected was discussed during aseminar in June 2018 at KU Leuven University, a new partner of Herita. The session revisited some of the most important ideas and questions related to the goals, the target audience and the future of Open Monuments Day in Flanders.

On 15 November 2018, Herita put together another important event dedicated to discussing the future of local heritage exploration. Studio OMD-Jubilee put a spotlight on the local organisers of heritage events and together with them, outlined key insights that will serve to develop future editions of the festival.

Open Monumentendag 2019 in Flanders, Belgium will again demonstrate the united effort of organisers, governing bodies and cultural institutions to breathe fresh life into heritage for today’s audience.

The full programme will be available on the official Open Monumenten website from 1st August 2019.