Current conservation issues
A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission took place from 23 to 25 March 2010 in response to the Committee request made during its 33rd session. On 19 April 2010 the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property inscribed on the World Heritage List containing detailed information concerning the « History Museum » and the «Casselberg, Sept Tours and Bouclier Français» projects; the report had been studied by the mission team. The mission report is available at the following Internet address: http://whc.unesco.org/fr/sessions/34COM/
As requested by the Committee, the mission studied the «History Museum» and «Casselberg, Sept Tours and Bouclier Français» projects, and also examined the overall conservation of the property.
This development project planned at the site of the ancient St John’s Hospital site (Oud Sint- Jan) by a private company is to build a History Museum (digital) and an underground parking and transform the recovered space into a vast urban park. An initial proposal (2006) only required the listing of a coach house as a historic monument to be revoked to permit its demolition: this revocation which was accepted by the local authorities, was twice cancelled by the State Council. A new concept far more idiosyncratic and contemporary than the earlier proposal was presented in 2008. As this did not receive approval from the Flemish Immovable Heritage Administration, the investors withdrew their proposal and chose to
on the market place.
Sint-Jan site remains uncertain.
The joint reactive monitoring mission considers that the general concept for development of this area represents a threat to the integrity of the social and religious institutions of the St John’s Hospital. Therefore, any future project (including the proposed underground parking) should be subject to rigorous assessment of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity and integrity of the property.
Casselberg, Sept Tours and Bouclier français Project
This project concerns the transformation of some historic houses in the centre of Brugge into a hotel complex comprising 120 rooms. To guarantee the cost-effectiveness of this project, more recent buildings judged to be of low heritage value have been demolished to make room for a contemporary wing, the concept of which has been revised several times to take account of the views of the different bodies consulted. The project was finally approved by the consultative organizations, including the Flemish Immovable Heritage administration and the Commission for Urban Aesthetic. The hotel complex became operational towards the end of 2009.
According to the mission report, restoration work on the historic buildings has been carried out with professionalism, under the supervision of the Department for the Preservation of Monuments and Sites, and Urban Renovation. The new contemporary wing respects the volume and proportions of the ancient telephone centre. However, the conflictual situation that marked the beginnings of this project highlights the weakness of the current legal and administrative framework as regards conservation of the built heritage.
General state of conservation of the property
While considerable resources have been allocated in the long-term to restoration projects, to the improvement of public spaces and to the revitalization of cultural life in the city, the joint reactive monitoring mission noted, nevertheless, signs of gradual erosion of the attributes that convey Outstanding Universal Value. The mission identified the following factors that contribute to this erosion:
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 137