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Immovable Religious Heritage


The Flemish Parish Church Plan

What is the Parish Church Plan?

The local Church administrations and Municipal governments have been given the task of creating a comprehensive parish plan for each municipality. The results of the Parish Church Survey conducted by CRKC will be made available to each Municipality and Central Church Administration (dutch: Centraal Kerkbestuur). These cumulative results can then be used as a foundational basis for the development of a strategic multi-year plan.

The Parish Church Plan is the collective name for all government initiatives concerning the future of the Flemish Parish Churches, and the Multi-year Plan is one part of this extensive project.

The Multi-year plan

The Flemish worship-decree has assigned a crucial role to the local consultation between municipal governments and Central Church Administrations and/or individual church councils. In the spring of 2013, each church council must adopt a strategic plan that establishes the financial arrangements between the church council and the municipality for the following six years. This long-term plan should be based on a comprehensive vision for the future of all the parish churches within the municipality’s territory. Minister Bourgeois has assigned all the municipal governments to properly prepare the Multi-year plans. These dossiers should include at least basic information concerning:

  • Information on the parish church buildings - in particular the cultural and historical value, the architectural features, the state of the building’s physical condition, the possibilities for partitioning, etc.
  • Details about the setting of the parish church in its spatial environment and local surroundings
  • The current uses and function of the parish church
  • Possible interest from other local stakeholders

Together with the Flemish Dioceses, CRKC is working to collect this data by means of the Parish Survey, and has proposed a procedure and format for the drafting of the parish churches’ conceptual plans.

Diocesan Vision and Protocol

Each diocese has prepared its own conceptual vision for the future, along with the protocol to be followed whilst working toward these goals. These are made available for the church councils to use in their planning, which will then be incorporated by the municipalities into official municipal policy.

Preservation, Restoration and Management

The CRKC will in time offer manuals explaining the guidelines and procedures for various possible trajectories for the future of parish churches. We are also drafting manuals on the general use of parish churches with practical information about operation and management as well as preservation and restoration.

The Association for the Management of Monumental Church Buildings in the Netherlands has drafted a ‘Manual for the Preservation and Management of Church Buildings.’ This guide for church administrators contains seven chapters which cover all the aspects of preservation and management for church buildings. Those who wish to consult this work may do so through CRKC, and it is also available for purchase online at www.vbmk.nl.

For questions regarding maintenance of parish churches and a long-term maintenance plan with cost estimates, you can visit www.monumentenwacht.be.

If you would like to know about the possibilities of preservation, management, and conservation of movable religious material culture, you can learn more in the section about our Department of Movable Heritage.

The staff of CRKC will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Resource Centre

The Centre for Religious Art and Culture’s scientific reference library is accessible through an online catalogue on Immovable and Movabele Religious Heritage.

The CRKC as a centre of expertise also provides information by means of various publications. These can be ordered via our Publications page.

Please feel free to contact one of the CRKC employees with any questions you may have.