What we do
Kempens Landschap operates in 65 municipalities in the Province of Antwerp. In Flanders it is a unique and exemplary organization, for it is not a nature and monuments organization but a landscape organization. Kempens Landschap adopts a multidisciplinary approach to all its land, for the landscape not only performs a crucial role in nature, but it is also the environment in which we live and relax. All this requires integrated management and that is the stance Kempens Landschap takes for you and generations to come.
To a large extent the quality of the environment in which we live and work is determined by landscape, culture and history. Perhaps it is because that environment is such an integral part of our daily lives that we take it so much for granted. Yet at provincial level, environmental policy has always placed great importance on caring for green, open spaces.
When the Law on Vagrancy was abolished in 1993, the federal government decided to dispose of the former state humanitarianism colonies in Wortel and Merksplas (an extremely varied and authentic cultural landscape covering 1,000 ha). Antwerp’s provincial and municipal authorities joined forces, united in their ambition to conserve these important areas for the community, for the present and the future. In November 1997 they founded vzw Kempens Landschap based on the example of the National Trust in the UK and the Stichting Landschap organizations in the Netherlands. Its job is to acquire, protect, capitalize on and, where necessary, restore the environment, landscape, natural and cultural heritage in the Province of Antwerp and especially to maintain, manage and promote public access to monuments in its possession.
Vzw Kempens Landschap was founded to safeguard natural and cultural heritage in the Province of Antwerp by means of specific purchases and responsible stewardship. This offers the best guarantees for the conservation of important areas which would otherwise be at risk. We now own or manage some 830 ha in the Province of Antwerp, ranging from small plots of land to vast estates.
All the acquisitions are part of Kempens Landschap’s ambition to conserve as much as possible of the important Kempen landscape for future generations and to prevent the fragmentation of this unique green belt, for that would have a devastating effect on the habitats of the various plants and animals, on the landscape itself and on the pleasure derived from it by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. The effect would be irreversible. Irreparable.
For every area Kempens Landschap acquires or manages, detailed plans are drawn up based on a clear vision for that specific area and for that area as part of the wider whole. This is done in close consultation with our permanent partners and, depending on the local situation, with the party in question.
Only then is a structured plan drawn up which oversees any further development of the landscape, the urban area, nature, agriculture, culture, recreation, the hospitality industry, trade and tourism in the whole of the Kempen.
In the early years it was usually Kempens Landschap that initiated any acquisition of land. That initial proactive approach has stood us in good stead and we are now in a much stronger position.
Contact with Kempens Landschap is now far more spontaneous. These days when it comes to purchasing or selling, maintaining or managing land, town councils, private landowners, companies, executors and notaries find their way to our organization.
Matters relating to landscape and our natural and cultural heritage are often complex, so we are only too happy to offer advice.