ETWIE in English
Center for Industrial Heritage in Flanders
ETWIE is the Center for Industrial Heritage in Flanders (Belgium), based in the Museum of Industry in Ghent.
A network of heritage experts
Thousands of people are involved safeguarding, collecting, researching and enthusiastically sharing industrial heritage with and for the public. ETWIE aims to bring them together, initiate projects with and for them and to encourage, support and help them with advice, through workshops or other tailored services. That's why, every day, the organisation works to expand its extensive network, which focusses on exchanging knowledge and expertise.
That way, tools, instruments, devices and machines, but also applications, knowledge, techniques and artisanal skills are charted, researched and preserved.
ETWIE is an active member of TICCIH Belgium (The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage). Moreover, ETWIE-coordinator Joeri Januarius is national representative at ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
ETWIE works on several projects such as repurposing industrial heritage, industrial heritage classes for children, appreciation projects, documenting technical intangible heritage,... These are some of our activities:
ETWIE's knowledge base has thousands of actors (such as museums, collections, craftsmen, experts, researchers and organisations) and almost ten thousand contributions in the Belgian bibliography industrial heritage and industrial archaeology. The ideal starting point for visitors to explore researched topics and identify relevant literature, find specific collections or get in touch with people with a shared passion.
You can search by keyword, by theme, by municipality,... Our database was highlighted as international good practice by the Berliner Zentrum Industriekultur.
Dangerous industrial heritage
Asbestos was once commonly used in buildings, but did you know it can also be found in cultural heritage collections? Often unidentified, improperly stored and sometimes unprotected on display to the audience. Together with several project partners, we want to make heritage organisations aware of the hazards of asbestos in their collections, and advise them how to handle it safely. In TICCIH Bulletin, Joeri Januarius commented on the project.
But the scope of our project was limited to Belgium, and a comparative approach is really necessary to get a firm grip on the subject. Products containing asbestos, from household appliances to doghouses (really) were made and used anywhere after all. You might have information and documentation on asbestos use in a specific appliance that is found in several collections in Flanders. Or vice versa.
Of course, not only asbestos can be explored, also other types of dangerous or toxic heritage like lead, mercury and several other ’remains’ of past industrial activity, for example related to fertilizer production, dyemaking, production of matchsticks, etc. What are actual trends in your country? How does it relate with current issues in heritage management and local environmental discussions? Are you interested in working on this? Or any ideas or comments? Please contact Joeri Januarius.
3D Techniques for interpreting industrial collections
The project 'Diving into the Machine' explored the use of existing 3D technology for the preservation and dissemination of industrial heritage objects. Initiated by several heritage organisations in Flanders, Belgium, it was successfully completed in July 2017. Together with textile museum Texture, ETWIE explained the project in TICCIH Bulletin.
Crafts in focus: lights, camera, action?
The intangible heritage of crafts, machine operation and maintanance and old techniques is often very threatened because the already small pool of experienced people still working on them in our industrialized society is rapidly diminishing. Documenting their techniques and practical knowledge is therefore an improved step in safeguarding this heritage. In this article in MEMORIAMEDIA Review we want to share some do's and don'ts we picked up during an active and hands-on course "Bring your craft or technique into focus".
In 2018 the (then) Flemish Minister of Culture Sven Gatz initiated a subsidised program for master-apprentice projects. Passing on craftsmanship and skills to safeguard the knowledge and traditions is a very involved and time-consuming process. Grants were launched to give people time and space to, in the course of several months or years, apprentice with a master in a certain trade.
ETWIE was a partner in five approved applications on the transfer of intangible knowledge and heritage of a particular technique, including one on artisanal embroidery and one on embossing.
Conferences and meetings
Although ETWIE focuses primarily on the Flemish and Brussels heritage, you can also find us outside of Belgium at numerous conferences and meetings. Feel free to tap our shoulder when you see us!
Organization of the ERIH congress
ETWIE organized the annual (hybrid) conference of the network 'European Route of Industrial Heritage' (ERIH) at the Industrial Museum in Ghent in 2021. The theme of the meeting was. RESILIENCE - How industrial heritage sites accepted the pandemic challenge an survived the crisis'. Find out about the lectures and workshops on the ERIH website.
TICCIH National Reports
Every three years, The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) publishes the National Reports. In Belgium, ETWIE provides details on the Flemish industrial heritage while the Patrimoine Industriel Wallonie Belge (PIWB) provides an overview for Wallonia and Brussels. ETWIE and the PIWB presented the latest update of the national report for Belgium at the TICCIH congress 2022 in Montreal.
Work it out!
Thanks to ETWIE, the Industrial Museum in Ghent was one of the many beautiful locations of the ERIH dance event Work it Out! At numerous heritage sites across Europe, different dance crews performed the same dance to showcase the sites in an original way. The jugglers from Dance School Favole made the museum shine!
Online talk on astbestos
The asbestos project leader Peter Loockx presented in June 2021 on 'Asbestos, the Stowaway in Many Collections: Industrial Heritage Collections and Asbestos in Belgium' for the American Society for Industrial Archeology. Watch the presentation.
TICCIH Bulletin 94, 2021: Dangerous industrial heritage: a new TICCIH field of study
TICCIH bulletin 78, 2017: Diving into the Machine: 3-D Techniques for industrial collections
Maison des Cultures du Monde - Centre français du patrimoine culturel immatériel
Les cahiers du CFPCI: La transmission du savoir-faire artisanal en Flandre : vers un nouveau système de sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel ?
Memória Imaterial CRL
MEMORIAMEDIA Review: Crafts in focus: lights, camera, action?
Do you have questions about how ETWIE works or about industrial heritage in general in Flanders?
Documenting technical intangible heritage
We have made a film on documenting histological slides in order to safeguard the craft.