Abstractie logo CAVA

About Us

Mission & Vision


The Centre for Academic and Secular Humanist Archives (CAVA) manages the analogue and digital cultural heritage of the VUB (Free University of Brussels) and the Dutch-speaking secular humanist organisations and individuals in Flanders and Brussels. This includes the acquisition, preservation and research of our cultural heritage, making it accessible to society, and valorizing it.

CAVA acts as a consultant for heritage communities and the creators of archives with regard to both their material and intangible cultural heritage. We encourage public participation.

Although the geographical scope of CAVA mainly encompasses Flanders and the Flemish community in Brussels, it can also extend further afield. The centre is very aware of its social and cultural responsibilities, which are reflected in its daily operations.

CAVA guarantees the management and preservation of this heritage:

  • because it provides evidence of the actions of the creators of archives and allows them to justify themselves administratively, financially, legally and morally;

  • in order to support the heritage communities in passing on their traditions to future generations. The history of secular humanism and the VUB is kept alive through the research, use and promotion of this heritage;

  • because it plays a key role in the pursuit of a democratic and pluralistic society based on the principles of free inquiry and humanistic values.


CAVA intends to realise its mission in 2019-2023 by:

  • further expanding its function as a cultural heritage institution in a highly qualitative manner by:

    • realising its functions throughout Flanders. The centre serves a diverse and broad audience as well as specific target groups (youngsters, students, disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals, people from varied cultural backgrounds, seniors, researchers, etc.).

    • working in cooperation with its natural, nationwide partners, with the heritage institutions united in OLAV and with various educational and research institutions. The aim is to increase substantive knowledge about the heritage, research it and transmit it to society at large.

    • incorporating quality tools (policies and procedures, best practices, manuals) and monitoring digital trends and developments.

    • testing innovative solutions and promoting best practices in the heritage sector. To this end, CAVA acts as a research laboratory for the Advanced Master in Archival Science and for other institutions that fulfil a function or role in the heritage sector.

    • actively and responsively serving as a role model and actively encouraging its personnel to participate in activities that support change in the heritage sector.

    • serving as a single point of contact and partner for similar heritage institutions in other countries.

  • further expanding its position as a Flemish heritage centre in Brussels through:

    • collaboration with and the provision of its expertise to both local heritage and cultural partners (Erfgoedcel, AMVB, Bruzz,...) and local secular humanist partners (BROVO,...).

  • fulfilling its role in society through:

    • the advancement of research into both the material and intangible heritage of secular humanism and through the dissemination of its results in society.

    • the promotion of humanist and democratic values and principles through the use and valorisation of heritage, based on current social issues.

    • participation in existing social projects that aim to reach and involve minorities.

  • ensuring that the daily operations of CAVA continue to be democratic, transparent, participatory and sustainable through:

    • a continued focus on enhancing and facilitating participation in its advisory bodies, in its daily operations and through active participation of volunteers.

    • acting ecologically, because ensuring our planet remains liveable is a humanistic obligation.

    • acting in a sustainable manner, to be able to further document evolutions in our society.

    • transparent accountancy, to ensure all partners have confidence in the way CAVA is run.