34th Open Monument Day puts 600 unique locations in Flanders in the spotlight

On Sunday 11 September, the 34th edition of Open Monuments Day will take place in Flanders, with 800 activities in 600 different locations. "Sustainability" is the theme of this edition.

In Mechelen, the kick-off was given on Tuesday.

"Stones tell a story, where we come from," said the Flemish Minister for Immovable Heritage Matthias Diependaele. "We must cherish that and pass it on to future generations. The theme 'sustainability' was chosen by Europe, but monuments are by definition sustainable because they have to last for a very long time. Energy efficiency will be a point of attention, for the future we want to see how we can make these monuments more energy efficient," he remarked.

The Flemish government is working on two concrete actions in this regard: a study into low-carbon heating and cooling of homes with heritage value and the introduction of a specific heritage energy performance certificate, with which owners of a protected home receive expert advice on how to make their home more energy efficient. The certificate will start in 2023.

A total of 600 locations are open to the public in seven out of ten Flemish cities and municipalities. There are new offers such as 48 castles and the doors of 100 private homes will be exceptionally opened to the public. The province of West Flanders is best represented with 211 activities in 51 municipalities, in Antwerp there are 203 activities, followed by 176 in East Flanders, 136 in Flemish Brabant and 65 in Limburg.

Host city

Mechelen is the host city for the 34th edition of Open Monuments Day, just as it was for the first edition in 1989. Not every edition was given a host city, but the organization wants to do this more often from now on.

"Whoever walks through our city witnesses the many monuments", says Alderman for Monuments and Buildings Koen Anciaux. "Culture and monuments are in Mechelen's DNA, we have also invested a lot in recent years, with the support of Flanders and the province of Antwerp, to restore our heritage."

The day before the Open Monument Day, the host city of Mechelen holds a nocturne where you can enjoy different proposals at eight different locations.

It is also unique that the Archbishop's Palace in Mechelen, which has been managed by the province of Antwerp since 1818, can be visited for the first time.

“The province is strongly committed to preserving its valuable heritage,” says Deputy Mireille Colson. “We always want to share these efforts widely with the public, through publications and events. The palace's quiet garden is known to many people in Mech, but the Open Monuments Day is the ideal opportunity to give the curious a look behind the gate."

Many activities are free, but visitors may need to register due to the limited number of visitors. The full program can be found at www.openmonumentendag.be.



© BELGA PHOTO (NICOLAS MAETERLINCK) King Philippe of Belgium (C) during a royal visit to the House of European History (Huis van de Europese Geschiedenis - Maison de l'histoire Europeennee) in Brussels, Sunday 20 September 2020

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