Flemish Government
Philippe Vandenbroeck

More resilient symphony orchestras


The symphony orchestra is an institution with a tradition that goes back centuries. For a long period of time it has proved to be quite resilient. But in today’s world it finds itself confronted with increasingly challenging conditions. Flanders has three symphony orchestras that are structurally funded by the government. The Flemish Minister of Culture asked shiftN, in collaboration with Vandyck Management, to lead a reflection on the shape of the Flemish orchestra landscape of the future.


We organised an extensive consultation round (including an interview campaign, focus groups, and creative workshops) to create clarity around this surprisingly complex challenge. We developed a systems map that visualised the key dynamics behind a successful symphony orchestra. Insights were synthesised in a clear set of policy recommendations.  


Our conclusions have been presented in a widely commented report: “Naar een veerkrachtig Vlaams Orkestenlandschap” (“Towards a Resilient Flemish Landscape of Symphony Orchestras”). Meanwhile, some of our recommendations have been put into practice (the reestablishment of a well-supported Flemish Youth Orchestra) but others are still awaiting implementation. 

“The report is of such a level of quality that we cannot afford to ignore it.”
— Flemish Minister of Culture Sven Gatz