Centrum voor Sportcultuur vzw.


Contact: 015/618.220
Postal address: Trianondreef 19 1981 Hofstade-Zemst
Geographic Coverage of NGO’s expertise: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

URL: https://www.sportimonium.be

Year of creation: 1980

Budget: U.S.$900000

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:

The Centre for Sport Culture (CSC) has launched a variety of initiatives for safeguarding the tangible and intangible heritage of traditional games and sports: Research - In collaboration with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the CSC carries out research on traditional games (inventory, evolution, organisational structure, ..) and supervises, as co-promotor, papers and theses (bachelor and master degree). For enquiries the centre calls upon the traditional sports federations for collaboration. - the CSC organized the ‘Second European Seminar on Traditional Games’ (Leuven, 1990) on behalf of the Council of Europe. - the CSC organised a symposion (Leuven, 2004) to present and discuss the results of its research project on the evolution of traditional games in Flanders 1982-2002. Publications - CSC was the editor of a series of 8 publications on traditional games (history, specific language, rules, dissemination, social aspects, …), 1980-1988 - CSC is editor of the journal ‘Sportimonium’ (history of sport, traditional games), 1980–up to now - Staff members contributed about one hundred articles to many (inter)national reviews and books, 1980–up to now. Documentation centre and library (open to the general public) - ca. 2000 books on traditional games (worldwide) - a series of periodicals - archives Artefacts The CSC has gathered hundreds of artefacts and thousands of audiovisual documents related to traditional games (playing equipment, garment, photographs, posters, songs, interviews with the practitioners, footage …). This collection has been handed over to the Sportimonium in 2000. In this museum one of the sections is entirely dedicated to traditional games worldwide. Promotion - a large travelling exhibition ‘Traditional games in Flanders’ has been set up in about 15 cities (1980-1990) and smaller travelling exhibitions are available for schools, cultural and sport centres. A travelling exhibition ‘Traditional games in Europe’ is also available, - organizing demonstrations/festivals and initiations of traditional games (in close cooperation with the practitioners), - the CSC manages within the Sportimonium-project a park of traditional games (since 2005). The action and interaction inherent in this sort of heritage cannot be ‘stowed’ in the museum depot nor can it be experienced in a static exhibition. Therefore the visitors can get acquainted with the skills of a variety of traditional games which are still practised (locally) in Flanders. - in the same line the CSC runs a series of loan services all over the country for traditional games in order to provide people with the equipment for practising at festivals, family feasts, school and youth movement activities, - the games equipment for the above mentioned loan service is produced, based on the authentic examples, in the CSC’s own workshop.The CSC provides assistance in building/restoring traditional sports infrastructure. - the Sportimonium mainly focuses on school classes (10-14 year) to teach them about sports heritage. Another important target group are the students physical education/sports (bachelor and master degree). As the future teachers and sport administrators they are invited to the Sportimonium in order to sensitize them and to get them acquainted with traditional games. They are therefore able to hand this down to the next generations in schools or by supporting the practitioners of traditional games, the bearers of intangible heritage, on regional/municipal level. Counselling and support - supporting festivals organized by the traditional games players - helping clubs, federation and their individual members in research matters - counselling associations or federations for candidatures for the Belgian list of elements of intangible heritage - participation in (governmental) assessment committees (cultural matters) - collaboration with Unesco (project on traditional games 1990, platform for traditional games worldwide 2006-2009). Personnel: manager (1), research/fieldworker (1), administrator (1), workshop (3), library (2). The staff of the CSC has almost 30 years experience in safeguarding traditional games. The staff members (3) have university degrees and have followed in the course of years many courses related to the safeguarding of (intangible) heritage. The CSC is in close contact with other organisations in the country taking care of popular culture in order to exchange experience. The same goes for engagement in the international network of the European Association for Traditional Sports and Games, of which the CSC has been among the pioneers. Due to these constant contacts, on the one hand with the practitioners of traditional games and at the other hand with professionals working in the fields of culture, sport and tourism the personnel of the CSC has acquainted its competences. The composition of the supervising CSC-General Assembly – a mix of university professors (sports history, sports sociology, ethnography, literature, …), directors/chairmen of (traditional) sports organisations, museum collaborators, directors of cultural institutions … guarantees a high standard quality


The Centre for Sport Culture (CSC, formerly Vlaamse Volkssport Centrale) - a non profit organisation - was established for the study, promotion and safeguarding of traditional sports and games. The roots of the CSC lie in an extensive research programme (Katholieke Universtiteit Leuven) on the history and the current situation of traditional games in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium), started by prof. R Renson in 1973. The unexpected richness and variety of traditional games lead to the foundation of the CSC in order to promote this (endangered) sporting heritage and to get people acquainted (again) with the traditional games. The mission of the CSC states that the CSC must be a centre of expertise in safeguarding the intangible heritage of the traditional and modern movement culture in vivo and in situ via identification, documentation, research, protection, handing down, revitalizing … on a national and international level. To achieve this objective the CSC took over, partially, the research from the university and developed a range of initiatives (publications, library & documentation centre, exhibitions, tourist routes, conferences, lending services, …). Gradually the CSC broadened its scope to a European and even a worldwide scale. On a European level the CSC carried out a lot of demonstrations of traditional games abroad and invited traditional games practitioners from many countries to Belgium for demonstrations and exchanges. In line with these activities, the CSC was among the founding members of the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (2001). The activities worldwide concern mainly research, publications, the gathering of documentation and exchange of information. From 2000 onwards, the CSC committed itself, together with Sportmuseum Vlaanderen (Sports Museum Flanders) to realise the Sportimonium-project, a museum about the sports history of Flanders in its national and international context. Especially as traditional games are concerned, both the tangible (artefacts) and intangible (loan service, games park –see further) aspect of the sporting heritage is taken into account.


The CSC has established over the years good contacts with many practitioners and their clubs and federations. The CSC has been instrumental in helping the clubs to get in contact with each other and to found (if appropriate) federations of their own. This resulted in 1988 in the foundation of a confederation for traditional games (Vlaamse Traditionele Sporten vzw, VlaS) with the CSC as one of the founding members. This confederation grew steadily from 500 to 12.000 members and acts now as an umbrella organisation for 23 types of traditional games. The CSC is member of the board of directors of VlaS and vice versa, firstly in order to be well informed about each other activities and initiatives, secondly to collaborate where appropriate. While constructing the traditional games park, there has been close cooperation with practitioners in testing and adapting the facilities in full respect with the games while using – if possible - modern materials. The latter being important to make the ‘old fashioned’ games a little more attractive to young(er) people. One of the CSC objectives is to make the bearers of the intangible heritage, i.e. the players themselves, aware of the importance and richness of their activities. This must lead to an enhanced self-consciousness towards heritage in order to hand it down and to defend it. Important for the CSC remains, furthermore, exchange and collaboration with other organisations experienced in the domain of popular culture and in safeguarding intangible heritage.