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Historic Centre of Brugge

Belgium
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Housing
  • Other Threats:

    Gradual erosion of the attributes that convey the Outstanding Universal Value and consequently threaten the integrity of the property with regards to its overall coherence and originality.

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Potential impacts of new construction projects
  • Gradual erosion of the attributes that convey the Outstanding Universal Value and consequently threaten the integrity of the property with regards to its overall coherence and originality.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

March 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 31 January 2014, the State Party submitted a State of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/996/documents  It addresses the recommendations of the Committee at its 2010 and 2012 sessions concerning the erosion of attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as a result of development schemes and allied demolition, and of the lack of adequate governance structures.

  • Advisory Panel: In January 2012, the State Party set up an advisory panel known as the Experts Commission for the property. The Commission will focus primarily on larger projects, more likely to have an impact on the OUV of the property, and on the development of policy instruments.
  • Heritage Appreciation Plan, Management Plan, Structure Plan and Conservation Plans: A Management plan for the property has been prepared and was adopted in 2012. A summary was submitted with the State Party’s report. The Plan is based on a detailed conservation assessment of the property and on the attributes of OUV, although there is a lack of clarity on the latter (see below). The implementation of the Management Plan is shared between the city of Bruges and the Flemish Government. During the same timeframe, the 1972 Structure Plan has been updated for the town and its hinterland. Also, in order to strengthen regional planning documents, Heritage Appreciation Plans (HAPs) are being developed to evaluate the character of individual buildings and the overall urban structure. Furthermore, Conservation Plans are in progress for four Conservation Areas and others will be developed in the future. In order to identify important views from and towards the property and incorporate them into protection and urban planning documents, municipal Building Regulations were strengthened in 2011. These now require a 3-dimensional study for projects that might impact on OUV.
  • Planning and legal tools: As a result of these initiatives, and recognising the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) strategy, new planning tools and legal instruments are being introduced, such as Thematic Spatial Implementation Plans, detailed survey plans of specific quarters to define the urban typology and the conditions for possible future development, (both based on HAPs), preservation plans for listed landscapes, and a high-rise building advice note.
  • Retrospective Statement of OUV: The State Party reports on the lack of a final agreement on the text of the retrospective Statement ofOUV, submitted in 2011, as a result of differences related to the attributes of OUV.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The wide range of positive initiatives that have been undertaken to strengthen proactive management and enable effective protection of the property since the 2010 mission, in response to the Committee’s recommendations, are noted.

The integrated structure that is now emerging is considered a positive development, aiming to integrate the management of the property within the development of a wider urban framework while respecting the HUL strategy, all of which is based on the attributes of OUV.  However, these attributes have not yet been agreed with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS as part of the adoption of the retrospective Statement of OUV. This is potentially a fundamental weakness of the whole governance structure and needs to be remedied as soon as possible, perhaps through more specific on-site dialogue.

The State Party’s report does not provide details of ongoing development projects such as the new national archives repository along the Predikherenrei although details of the completed new layout for the surroundings of the Sint-Salvator’s Cathedral / Cathedral of Our Saviour have been provided. These and other projects in or near the property were discussed during an informal meeting with representatives of the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in Paris in 2012.

Details of the way that these projects have moved forward within the new governance structure need to be provided, particularly in relation to the way their assessment is linked to Heritage Impact Assessments.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.24
Historic Centre of Brugge (Belgium) (C 996)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.79 and 36 COM 7B.72, adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the wide range of positive initiatives that it has developed to strengthen the governance system of the property and embed it within a strategy for its wider urbanized hinterland, while respecting the Historic Urban Landscape approach;
  4. Notes in particular that a Management Plan, based on the draft attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), has been developed and approved;
  5. Urges the State Party to finalise the retrospective Statement of OUV, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, possibly with the help of an Advisory Mission;
  6. Also notes that no details have been provided on progress with ongoing projects such as the new national archives repository along the Predikherenrei, and also urges the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre the necessary information, and in particular the Heritage Impact Assessments, as soon as possible, for review by the Advisory Bodies in light of the implementation of the new governance structure.
Draft Decision:  38 COM 7B.24

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.79 and 36 COM 7B.72, adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) and 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) sessions respectively,

3.  Commends the State Party for the wide range of positive initiatives that it has developed to strengthen the governance system of the property and embed it within a strategy for its wider urbanized hinterland, while respecting the Historic Urban Landscape approach;

4.  Notes in particular that a Management Plan, based on the draft attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), has been developed and approved;

5.  Urges the State Party to finalise the retrospective Statement of OUV, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, possibly with the help of an Advisory Mission;

6.  Also notes that no details have been provided on progress with ongoing projects such as the new national archives repository along the Predikherenrei, and also urges the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre the necessary information, and in particular the Heritage Impact Assessments, as soon as possible, for review by the Advisory Bodies in light of the implementation of the new governance structure.

Report year: 2014
Belgium
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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