In a comparative approach of the management and valorisation of historical, artistic and cultural heritage, the case of Belgium is particularly interesting from three points of view: first, in the second quarter of the 19th century, the young State sought to establish its legitimacy, identity and boundaries; second, during this time Belgium underwent substantial industrialisation that strengthened the demographic density but degraded the countryside; lastly, in the middle of the 20ieth century, the unitary State was transformed into a federal State, comprised of three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital) and three language-based Communities (Flemish Community, French Community and Germanophone Community). At the dawn of the 21st century, these different levels of power share the management and valorisation of historical, artistic and cultural heritage, but not always in a balanced, coherent way. In addition, at a time when new information and communication technologies are ever increasing, there are greater challenges for managers of archives and of heritage acquired from books. This is not just a situation specific to Belgium, but the small size of Belgium and its institutional complexity do not facilitate the definition and implementation of voluntarist policies.
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