181 church buildings in Flanders already withdrawn from worship

Bishops in Flanders have withdrawn 181 church buildings from worship since 2011, Catholic magazine Kerk & Leven ('Church & Life') reported in its Wednesday edition.

Based on an analysis of all church policy plans in Flanders, it appears that in the coming years, almost one in five churches (18,7 per cent) would be eligible for reallocation, and just over one in ten (11,3 per cent) would be partially eligible for ancillary use. Altogether, almost 30 per cent of churches would therefore be involved in a project of re- or secondary use in the coming years.

The Flemish government recently submitted a draft decree to guide this re- and secondary use of church buildings. "The intention is to support cities and municipalities even better than before in looking for a future for parish churches," explains Bart Somers, Flemish minister for Home Affairs.

The decree outlines specific support measures but also makes church policy plans compulsory for all municipalities. Figures from 2021 show that 236 out of 300 Flemish municipalities, i.e. 4 out of 5, have such a plan. Yet such a plan was not obligatory until now. According to the government, the decree provides "an appropriate framework for conducting a structural debate on the future of parish churches on the municipal territory".

"New multi-year budgets will have to be drawn up from 2025 onwards, and a vision for the future of church buildings fits into this," Jonas Danckers, religious heritage adviser at PARCUM, the museum and expertise centre for religious art and culture, told Church & Life.




Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels