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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Belgian Oak Festival Helps Conserve the Countryside


A Leader funded oak conservation project from Belgium's Flanders has focused on a 'heritage tree' as a tool for encouraging rural residents to participate more in countryside conserve activity.



Trees are awarded cultural value in many parts of the European countryside and certain trees receive special protection as heritage monuments.Historic trees are known as Living Heritage (Levend Erfgoed) in the Flemish language and they form part of the Flander’s region’s cultural landscape. The RDP project channelled its support towards a Living Heritage tree in the province of Limburg,where an old pollarded oak (called locally the ‘1000 year old oak’) is growing.


Despite its cultural relevance to the regional landscape, the old oak and hundreds of other pollarded oaks that were discovered in the area had fallen into neglect. The RDP project was therefore established to reverse this decline and also use the ‘1000 year old oak’ as a rural development tool for promoting involvement in actions of landscape care by rural residents.

Main activities

RDP funds were used for: scientific studies to gain management information about how best to preserve the trees for the long term. Findings from the research helped to fully restore the oaks; an awareness raising campaign (including interpretation boards, teaching materials and a state-of-the-art website) about the oak and the regional landscape’s value as a socio-economic resource was funded; and a dedicated oak festival took place to publicise and celebrate all of the EAFRD project’s work

Results & Benefits

The project succeeded in its objectives to improve the conservation status of the region's oak trees and outcomes from the awareness raising activity have helped local people understand the need for improved care for their rural environment.

Lessons learnt

Heritage assets can be used as a focus for securing public participation in rural development projects.

Project location and other information

Lummen, province of Limburg, Flanders - Belgium


Prov. Limburg (B)

RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

279 959

EAFRD contribution (€)

190 350

National contribution (€)

86 609

Contact name

Ilse Ideler


+32 11785259

Languages for contact

English, French, Dutch

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Non-governmental organisations

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Rural Quality of Life & Economic Diversification
• Improving quality of life in rural areas
• 323. Conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage


Forest ecosystem, Public participation, Cultural heritage, Leader, Nature conservation

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