Two Belgian organisations have received the European Heritage Award/Europa Nostra Award 2019 for their initiatives to protect our cultural treasures!

The Verona Project was the first to be recognised. Using a new protocol, the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage has documented the paintings of Jan Van Eyck and made them available on a website. The images are very good quality due to state-of-the-art technological equipment. They used a highly innovative technique for mapping pigments, in partnership with Antwerp University.

This project is the result of a European collaboration; the team visited the different museums where Van Eyck’s works were stored. This paved the way for a “standardised” documentation method for the works which are scattered across the world.

The other prize went to the Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology (VVIA) and rewarded their actions to preserve and enhance the heritage of industrial and technological history. The VVIA was created in the 1970s after the association’s current president and a group of students rescued a former jenever distillery. The site, which was slated for demolition, has today become a jenever museum. The jury praised their efforts, which over the years have been carried out entirely by volunteers and without subsidies.

The prizes were awarded by the European Union as part of the Creative Europe programme in collaboration with Europa Nostra, the European organisation that protects and champions cultural and natural heritage. A nice reward for the efforts of these two organisations for safeguarding our endangered cultural heritage!