Academic heritage in Flanders

Academic heritage collections at Flemish universities together have an estimated amount of 1,000,000 objects. These collections are important witnesses of institutional, scientific, cultural and social changes in the histories of universities and society.

Moreover, Flemish academic heritage possesses great diversity, ranging from stuffed specimens of extinct animal species to gypsum plaster casts of ancient sculptures.

University collections, however, tend to be neglected in university policies and in many cases lack decent collection management. This threatens the very existence of Flemish academic heritage.

From 2007 on, KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Antwerp are working together in the Interuniversity Platform for Academic Heritage. With its actions, the Platform aims to:

  • Gain an overview of academic heritage in institutes for higher education in Flanders
  • Make university boards aware of the necessity of professional policies on academic heritage
  • Design long-term strategies for the professional management of academic collections
  • Gain and exchange expertise on academic heritage in Flanders among and beyond the members of the Platform
  • Make academic collections known beyond their limited niches

The Interuniversity Platform for Academic Heritage received funding from the Flemish Government for the project ‘Balans en perspectief’. This project is being conducted in two phases (2011-2012 and 2013-2014).

A lecture on the Platform and its activities was given at the international colloquium ‘Positioning Academic Heritage: challenges for universities, museums and society in the 21st century’ (Ghent University, 18-20/11/2013). The presentation of this lecture can be downloaded: Presentation PAH – Einstein and Tasmanian Tigers (PDF, 1,19 MB). Watch the presentation in SlideShare:


During the ‘XV Universeum Network Meeting’ (Universität Hamburg, 12-14/06/2014) the Interuniversity Platform for Academic Heritage gave a lecture on the collections at university colleges or ‘hogescholen’ in Flanders. The lecture presented some findings of the project ‘Balans en perspectief’. The presentation of the lecture can be downloaded: ET IN ACADEMIA EGO? Flemish university colleges and academic heritage (PDF, 1,12 MB). Watch the presentation in SlideShare:


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