Flanders designates four national parks
The government of Flanders designated four national parks on Friday. The national parks Bosland, Brabantse Wouden, Hoge Kempen and Scheldevallei should "strengthen the international appeal of Flanders".
Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir and Heritage minister Matthias Diependaele announced the national park designations. Demir said that the parks will create "large and robust natural areas" focused on biodiversity in the densely populated region.
Splendour and beauty
"The Flemish parks will not only be an engine for regional development, but together they will also strengthen the international appeal of Flanders with its splendour, beauty and regional products," said Demir.
The Hoge Kempen National Park in the province of Limburg includes forests, heathland, dunes and lakes. Bosland in the same province is a forest-rich national park.
The Scheldevallei National Park covers the area between Antwerp and Ghent around the river Scheldt and its tributaries. Brabantse Wouden in the province of Flemish Brabant includes the Sonian Forest, Meerdaal and the Hallerbos.
The official recognition follows a call for applications in 2021, to which ten candidate sites responded. The approved parks will receive 608,000 euros per year to develop nature further.
The sites should eventually comprise a 10,000-hectare natural core that is robust enough to sustainably protect the exceptional nature they contain.
Flanders has also designated five landscape parks focusing on landscape quality, where nature, recreation, heritage and agriculture can go hand in hand.
The landscape parks Grenzeloos Bocageland, Haspengouw, Maasvallei, Vlaamse Ardennen and Zwinstreek will receive 489,000 euros per year.
#FlandersNewsService | The Sonian Forest, now part of the Brabantse Wouden National Park © BELGA PHOTO KRISTOF VAN ACCOM