Park Gaasbeek could be 'a' Bruegel (Toerisme Pajottenland & Zennevallei

In Flanders, you can still wander in the landscapes that inspired Bruegel

Interview with Dr Peter De Wilde, Administrator General Tourism Flanders
Peter De Wilde Toerisme Vlaanderen

Peter De Wilde is the inspirer of Tourism Flanders’ Journey to Tomorrow philosophy. This innovative vision departs from classic mass tourism and focuses on the sector’s transformative power for travellers, hosts and local communities. The aim is to strike a balance between the interests of local residents and visitors, while preserving the destination’s natural wealth and historical authenticity.

This philosophy prevents Venice-type situations, where the spirit of a place drowns in a tidal wave of visitors. In other words: the tourist destination remains a pleasant place to live, to do business, to enjoy – and to organize your conference. And according to Peter De Wilde, Flanders has a unique USP, which will absolutely give your art and heritage conference added value.

“Today, you’ll find Flemish art all over the world. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, Flanders has always been a coveted region. Each time we were conquered, art was always part of the booty that the victor dragged home. That’s why so many Flemish works hang in Paris, Madrid and Vienna. Yet many Flemish masterpieces were never intended to remain in Flanders. Unlike other flourishing regions, our artists worked not only for ecclesiastical clients, but also for private patrons. In Flanders, art has always been an export product, an object of trade, and that is the second reason why Flemish art is so widely distributed.

Royal museum of Fine Arts Belgium (RMFA) ©Tom d'haenens

If you really want to understand what drove these Flemish masters, however, then you have to come to Flanders. The specific context in which this magnificent art was created still exists. Here, you can wander in the landscapes that inspired Bruegel, or visit the churches where Rubens also walked. This connection between our artists and their native soil is unique to Flanders. In Italy, for example, the link between the artist and his homeland was much looser, with more itinerant artists as a consequence.

The importance of context is an asset that should not be underestimated. Art enterprises in Flanders, such as the restoration platform IPARC, use this USP to their advantage. They work within the context in which the artist created his work. Restoring the Ghent Altarpiece in the chapel where Van Eyck painted it is very different from working in a museum where the artwork has ended up following its capture by a king or purchase by a patron.

This unique context also exists for your conference in art and heritage. It is absolutely an added value to be able to welcome your delegates on the spot where Bruegel walked, where Rubens had his house or where Van Eyck lived. Your guests will experience the spirit of the place, and that offers your association or PCO an additional guarantee for a conference that they will remember for a long time to come.”


 ©Ans Brys

"If you really want to understand what drove the Flemish masters, then you have to come to Flanders"


Fancy more inspiration for your conference? Download our free e-books.

Contact Gemmeke De Jongh for more information about your conference in this domain in Flanders

Free inspiration for your next conference

A successful conference is one that inspires. That’s why we offer you here tons of inspiration. For a conference in your domain, for your conference in Flanders.