Agreement on contemporary art museum in Brussels meets opposition by N-VA

Flemish Minister of Brussels Affairs Sven Gatz (Open Vld) agrees with his Francophone counterpart Rachid Madrane (PS) to grant an annual subsidy for three years to support temporary events on the site of the future Brussels museum for contemporary art.

The museum is under development in the former Citroën Yser garage. Flemish deputy Karl Vanlouwe (N-VA) however said Wednesday that his party opposed the intentions of the liberal Flemish minister.

The Brussels Region acquired the Citroën Yser site to develop a cultural center dedicated to contemporary art. The museum project is carried out in collaboration with Center Pompidou.

Like the Brussels Region and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Flemish Community, through the Flemish Minister in charge of Brussels Affairs, Sven Gatz (Open Vld), was asked by the initiators of the project to allocate a subsidy to fund temporary cultural events while the former garage is transformed into a museum.

According to Sven Gatz, the amount is 250,000 euros per year. The project will also rely on the revenues of ticketing and sponsorship.

The Francophone minister in charge of the promotion of Brussels in the government of the Federation, Rachid Madrane (PS), confirmed on Wednesday that he also has responded positively to the request for funding.

The Flemish Minister considers the request reasonable because the complex will be completely empty from February-March 2018 which could pose a risk for vandalism.

He was favorable to the request but not without conditions as regards quality. The project manager, Yves Goldstein, will be assisted by a council of art advisers composed of representatives of Brussels´s cultural life.

The project was however received coldly by N-VA when it was presented by Gatz in the “Brussels” committee of the Flemish Parliament.

“This support is unacceptable for N-VA,” said Karl Vanlouwe (N-VA) in the committee.

“The Brussels Region is not competent to found a museum with an international reputation. The project is marked by non-transparent appointments and decision-making as in previous projects in Brussels.”

Sven Gatz replied that “If I would not be part of the project, I would have been reproached for staying out. I have been working well with the Brussels Region for three years and never interfered with appointments in cultural institutions.”

For the minister, the project has “a huge potential in which the Flemish cultural partners must be involved from the beginning”.

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