Nautical heritage to be protected

Published on 28/12/2015

On 28 December 2015 the Moniteur belge published the nautical-heritage-decree of 27 November 2015, implementing the Decree of 29 March 2002 to protect the nautical heritage of the Flemish Community.  Both legislative instruments enter into force on 1st January 2016.

The basic decree of 29 March 2002 had already been updated by an amending decree of  9 May 2014. The main changes of 2014 aimed at:

  • Aligning the protection regime for nautical heritage to the other protection regimes of the Flemish Community (Movable Cultural Heritage Decree(1), Immovable Heritage Decree(2), …);
  • Providing a legal basis to the centralised inventory of the nautical heritage [of the Flemish Community];
  • Specifying the legal implications of the protection of nautical heritage.

The management programme becomes the principal policy instrument, coupled with the granting of maintenance and management premiums.

A special sign in the form of a banner is used to identify protected nautical heritage.

The procedures for granting protection have been aligned to the protection regime for (movable) cultural goods. Parallel with the regime for  protected movable cultural objects and collections (topstukken), it is forbidden to bring (provisionally or definitively protected) nautical heritage out of the Flemish Community without being authorised thereto by the Immovable Heritage Agency(3).

Remarkably, the amending decree of 2014 has introduced a subsidiarity rule: if protected nautical heritage is also protected on the basis of the Movable Cultural Heritage Decree, the license requirement only applies if the  Flemish Government expressly so provides.

You can find more information about the new nautical heritage regulation on the website of the Immovable Heritage Agency (sadly not available in English at the time of posting):



(1) The Decree of 24 January 2003 for the protection of the movable cultural heritage of exceptional importance.

(2) The Immovable Heritage Decree of 12 July 2013.

(3) The Immovable Heritage Agency is an agency of the Flemish Community. For  regulatory purposes the term “immovable heritage” includes architectural, archaeological, landscape, heraldic as well as nautical heritage.

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