Instituut Voor Vlaamse Volkskunst vzw


Contact: +32 15 633 499
Postal address: Jubellaan 123 2800 Mechelen
Geographic Coverage of NGO’s expertise: Belgium


Year of creation: 1964

Budget: U.S.$60000

Safeguarding measures:

- identification, documentation, research (including inventory-making)
- preservation, protection
- promotion, enhancement
- transmission, (non-)formal education
- revitalization

Main areas of work related to the Convention:

Main activities of IVV are concentrating on collecting, archiving, studying, translating, reworking, publishing and teaching about folkdances, flag waving sequences, songs and description of traditional fashions. Study is based on oral and written sources in Flanders as well as abroad. IVV is co-operating with partner organizations within the field for study and organizing courses and interactive workshops and for enabling the exploration of archives. FOLK DANCE From 1964 until now 18 books were published. They cover 160 traditional Flemish dances. Another 10 editions have been made with dances recently designed in folk dance groups. One edition deals with terminology and vocabulary used to describe the dances. All editions instruct the reader with historical background, description, music and figures or drawings of dances. The working party on Flemish folk dances is also involved in courses and interactive workshops. Activities are actually focused on historical elements and dances within the traditional archery guilds, study and visualization of variations on basic dances like polka, scottish, mazurka, walzer and quadrille and editing newly created dances. The main challenge for the working party is to keep folk dance attractive and to guarantee quality in performing. FLAG WAVING A basic handbook about the historical background and the technique of flag waving was published in 1974. Six other editions cover specific flag waving sequences, a part is historically based, another part comprise newly created combinations. This working party made an edition with vocabulary and terminology of flag waving and another edition about drum playing when accompanying the flag waving. Actually new creations are noticed and recorded. The working party on flag waving has its annual instructive course and is co-operating with partner organizations to spread the culture and technique of flag waving within these organizations. TRADITIONAL FASHIONS A first standard work on local fashions in Flanders was published in 1994, the subject being part of the ‘submerged cultural heritage’. It deals with local traditional costumes, a fashion that’s always 50 years behind. A great deal of information on the development of this clothing was obtained from paintings, drawings, description of people from the recent past. In this book attention is devoted mainly to the period between 1750 and 1950, with an occasional glance back at the 16th and 17th centuries. A second edition will appear in 2009. It will deal with thematic aspects (particular clothing elements), geographical differences in clothing and the social role of clothing with special attention to multicultural influences. COMMUNICATION The working party started its activities officially in 2008. It deals with diverse aspects of communication. Challenges for this working party are the content of the quarterly journal and renewal of its lay-out. By optimizing the opportunities of the website and translating the texts disseminated in at least four languages this medium must enable IVV to spread its information across Europe.


PEOPLE IVV is a partner to all active participants, organisations and people interested in Flemish Folk Art. Up to now all publications have been made in Flemish (Dutch), but in the near future cooperation will be sought on an international level for publishing. The members of the IVV are experienced practitioners of folk dance, folk music, flag waving and traditional fashions. IVV is an open organisation with no restriction as to people, politics or geographical boundaries. PRODUCT Folk art includes every culturally precious ‘product’ from a living ethnic community. It can also be considered as all kind of art emerging from a community. Flemish folk art belongs to Flemish Folklore within the immaterial cultural heritage of Flanders. ‘Flemish’ refers to what has been traceable within the larger Flemish historical communities (= within the Belgian, French and Dutch context). IVV concentrates on traditional (= at least 50 years existence) and contemporary folkdances, folk music, flag waving and traditional fashions. PROCESS IVV consists of four working parties dealing with: (1) the study of dances and dancing music; (2) the study flag waving (3) the study of traditional fashions (4) communication: a.o; editing the quarterly journal. All working parties are meeting at least 6 times a year and their members are working on publications in the field. IVV is a non profit organisation. It has a general committee and a general assemblee. IVV is officially recognized by the Flemish Government and receives a annual budget of 40,000 euro. IVV has one part-time staff member.


The number of groups dealing with intangible cultural heritage is high in Flanders, due to individual, historical and political reasons. From its origin IVV has co-operated with different federations and organisations without any restriction. There is a large representation of these bodies within the working parties of IVV and within its membership. Up to now there are no structural or ideological conflicts hampering cooperation of IVV with partners in the sector. In July 2008, IVV presented a feasibility study to the Flemish Government about the role it could fulfil as intangible cultural heritage organisation in the Flemish community. A structural interview was carried out with 16 partner organisations. These interviews were written down verbatim, analysed on keywords grouped in a code book and clustered. Additionally an inquiry was sent to 34 other partner organisations of which 62% responded. These inquiries were also analysed and the results qualitatively studied. This feasibility study gives us a clear view on the tasks and the responsibilities of IVV within the sector of intangible cultural heritage. According to the interviewees and the inquired partner organisations IVV is regarded as a centre of excellence with regard to the study of traditional and contemporary Flemish folkdance (+ related songs and music), flag waving and fashions. It is expected that IVV collaborates within the sector for its research and that it will continue to spread the findings through the partner organisations by publications, visualising, courses and interactive working parties. Several partners offered to mediate in the multicultural approach of comparatively studying symbols and rites as well as outing of dance, song, music and fashions on the national and European level. The challenge of making the collaboration structurally visible within the sector of intangible cultural heritage can be met if IVV succeeds to get more staff and budget. As a direct consequence of the feasibility study, the above mentioned findings were translated into strategic and operational objectives and submitted to the Cultural Department of the Flemish Government.