Press release Freedom of Panorama in Belgium

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Logo Wikimedia Belgium
Logo Wikimedia Belgium

11 July 2016 - Freedom of Panorama in Belgium: Wikimedia Celebrates New Creativity in Public Spaces

From this Friday on a new copyright exception will enter into force in Belgium that will allow Wikipedia articles to include images of the Atomium and the Horta buildings. The bill was passed by the Federal Parliament on 16 June. Beyond Wikipedia, it will allow everyone to freely and legally take and share pictures of buildings and sculptures in public places.

Art is important and enriching people's lives. That is why in Belgium we allocate public funds to purchase and place the art in people's everyday environment. The powerful idea behind public art is that it should be part of the public, be accessible and re-usable. Wikimedia Belgium has taken up this basic idea and has dedicated itself to make art, education and culture available to all and to growing the public domain.

Copyright is notoriously tricky. For example, not many people knew that they violated it daily when uploading and sharing images of public spaces to social media. Even fewer have any idea that the reason Wikipedia can't depict the Atomium in Brussels was copyright. This was not only out of touch with reality, but also contributed to giving author's rights a bad name.

The new law will enter into force on Friday, 15 July 2016. On this day 1411 of images from Belgium will be undeleted on Wikimedia projects and images will be added to numerous Wikipedia articles. Wikimedia Belgium will celebrate this laudable change at a reception that will take place on 15 July 2016 at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels and starts at 19:00. The doors will open at 18:30.

Below the line information[edit]

Freedom of panorama?[edit]

The historic situation of not being able to show a free image of the Atomium on Wikipedia comes an end on 15 July 2016.

Belgium, in contrast to the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom, had no Freedom of Panorama. This meant that photos of buildings and public works of art whose creator had not died 70 or more years ago, are not allowed to be published freely because the copyrights haven't expired yet. For Wikipedia this is a problem because we cannot illustrate articles about recent art and architecture.


Wikipedia is an online multilingual encyclopedia written collectively by its readers. Wikipedia aims to provide content that is freely reusable, reliable, verifiable and which can be improved by anyone. The encyclopedia is the most visited non-profit website in the world.

Wikimedia Belgium[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium is the local chapter of the global Wikimedia Movement. A vzw/asbl that is dedicated to foster the creation of free knowledge in Belgium and to support the volunteers who contribute to the creation and dissemination of free educational materials.

Contact us[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium NPO
51 Rue du Trône/Troonstraat, 1050 Ixelles/Elsene (by appointment only)
Enterprise number: BE 0563.775.480

See also[edit]