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How does one become a Most Beautiful Village?

The Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia are carefully selected according to a quality charter, which allows the association to guarantee the quality and transparency of its choices.

Discoveries

Our villages vary between rural heritage, classified monuments and remarkable sites. Whether castles, farms, churches or abbeys, traditional buildings, rural or natural heritage, discover the must-see Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia!

The application procedure is handled by the Quality Commission, the Office of Tourism Strategy, which comprises expert volunteers, and the Management Team, which presents the applications for the PBVW label to the members of the Board of Directors.

This preliminary enquiry reveals to the Board of Directors the ways in which the Municipalities or Local Associations meet or do not meet the above criteria, according to the following standard procedure:

  1. Presentation of the arguments of the Municipal Council of the entity concerned or the Board of Directors of the Local Association requesting the admission of such a village or hamlet to “The Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia” Association.
  2. Report from a potential meeting with the Mayor or the President of the Board of Directors.
  3. Presentation of the visit/expertise report including:
  • Evaluation of disqualifying criteria;
  • Presentation of a photographic report;
  • The application file submitted by or on behalf of the Municipal Council of the entity concerned or the Board of Directors of the local Association;
  • Recommendations of the Quality Commission, the Office of Tourism Strategy and the PBVW Management Team, based on a field visit;
  1. Examination of the visit/expertise by the Boards of Directors and the decision proposal.
  2. The decision of acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection of the application during a General Meeting of the Association, based on a proposal by the Board of Directors.

Communication of the Association’s decision to the applicant with reasons and recommendations.

The “Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia” Association has put together a real quality approach based on a process and objective selection criteria of the villages, guarantees of our label’s credibility. Therefore, our Quality Charter aims to define the terms and conditions of allocation and the conditions of admission or exclusion of the label.

Every municipality or local association will be accepted in “The Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia” if it meets the following requirements:

  1. Have a hamlet, settlement or area within its territory that meets the criteria of a traditional village. This first criterion is disqualifying.
  2. Have, within this whole, an architectural and/or a set of classified architectural heritages or which can potentially be so, or to have an area protected by any other regulatory provision. This second criterion is also disqualifying.
  3. Offer a heritage, services and activities of which the qualities and the value-creation are assessed based on the following criteria:

Quality of the landscape

  • Quality of the landscape site and landscape perspectives (perimeters of landscape interest, viewpoints, panoramas, etc.);
  • Presence of natural heritage elements;
  • Preservation of the village outline and integration of the village into the site;
  • The boundary of the village from other village entities.

Urban quality

  • Diversity of pathways and pedestrian comfort;
  • Quality of the route and urban segments;
  • Enhancement of street amenities, squares, village entrances, etc.;
  • Quality of contemporary additions;
  • Harmony of volumes, colours, façade and roofing materials;
  • Presence of structural vegetation: tree lines, hedges, orchards, etc.;
  • The aesthetic design of infrastructure: public furnishings, overhead lines, public lighting, etc.

Architectural quality

  • Presence of symbolic elements of small heritage and monumental heritage (accessibility and visibility);
  • Preservation of the rural habitat representative of the agro-geographical area;
  • Quality of the renovations of the traditional habitat;
  • Legibility of openings;
  • Harmony and homogeneity of colours and materials of the facades and roofs;
  • Quality of contemporary architectural buildings.

Projects and management tools

  • Community involvement in the management of its territory and in the association of the PBVWs;
  • Planning and implementation of development projects: PCDR (Rural Municipality Development Policy), municipality projects, etc.;
  • Existence of spatial planning guidance documents or management tools (SDC, Master Plan, development plan, RGBSR, GCU, Landscape Inventory, CCATM).

Quality of the welcome and activities

  • Capacity to accommodate and/or creative capacity to include the village in terms of travelling;
  • Existence and accessibility of a welcome area;
  • Quality of the information and signage;
  • Presence and quality of shops, arts and crafts, local products;
  • Presence of an accommodation offer embedded in the village;
  • The organisation of permanent and/or temporary events.

4. Demonstrate willingness and develop a policy for the enhancement and preservation, development, promotion and activities of the village’s heritage

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