Antwerp museums and sports facilities team up with European Disability Card for accessible leisure activities

The City of Antwerp has entered into a partnership with the European Disability Card (EDC) and thus makes city-run culture, sports and leisure activities even more accessible to people with a disability. 

The EDC card is a European card that allows visitors to demonstrate that they have a recognized disability, even if it is invisible. In this way, the City of Antwerp wants to continue to focus on an inclusive leisure offer, by making the environment and activities even more accessible and by offering and publicizing various types of support.

A few Antwerp city museums were a good example, they already had a partnership with the EDC card. The City of Antwerp is now extending this to all urban services with a leisure offer. In this way, it remains committed to a full and accessible leisure offer for every Antwerp resident and visitor to the city.

Alderman for Equal Opportunities Karim Bachar (Vooruit): “There is so much to experience in Antwerp, but it is not always easy for people with disabilities to participate. With the EDC card, we are taking an important step today to make our city even more accessible and, above all, more inclusive. Now card holders know that their companion can enter the museum and swimming pool for free, or that there is room for the wheelchair in the theater hall. In this way we lower the thresholds to enjoy the wonderful leisure offer in our city.”

EDC card

Persons who themselves have a recognized disability, or receive a care allowance for one of their children, can apply for an EDC card at the Federal Public Service Social Security or via the Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Urban initiatives

The City of Antwerp has been committed to equality and diversity for years and various types of support are already underway in the culture and leisure sector, such as the use of a wheelchair, free access for visitors who accompany visitors with an EDC card, induction loop systems in cultural centres, brochures in large print, … The Red Star Line Museum is a good example of this. They have been making efforts for people with disabilities for years.

Alderman for culture Nabilla Ait Daoud (N-VA): “The municipal museums in Antwerp have been focusing on inclusion and integral accessibility for some time now. A museum visit equals an experience, for each of us. We want every visit to be safe, pleasant and comfortable. It often involves practical interventions: is there a floor plan available, can you borrow a wheelchair, are the lockers, the counter and the sanitary facilities easily accessible? How can we make a visit to the museum an experience for people with a hearing or visual impairment? But there are also low-stimulus visits (MAS), guided tours for people with dementia (DIVA) or a virtual/online visit. And in the renovation plans of our historic houses (Rubenshuis, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Museum Vleeshuis) we also focus on accessibility as much as possible.”

Director of the Red Star Line Museum Karen Moeskops: “We are pleased that the city is highlighting its commitment to the EDC card here in our museum. The Red Star Line Museum wants to be a hospitable museum for everyone and attaches great importance to low thresholds. This is literally about accessibility for wheelchair users, discounts for accompanying visitors with an EDC card, room texts that are available in advance, a step-by-step plan for neurodiverse people… But we also work hard to remove other, less visible barriers. As a museum about migration, we want to create a feeling of home for those who are new to our city and we are focusing on language practice opportunities and an exhibition about the universal feeling of ‘Homesickness‘, which will open on May 17, 2023.”

International guidelines

In 2023, the city will also complete the websites of urban leisure providers, with an overview of the accessibility of the building, the different types of support and the accessibility measures, all in accordance with WCAG guidelines. This way, visitors can prepare even better for their visit and the threshold to participate in an activity or visit is reduced.

Alderman for Sport Peter Wouters (N-VA): “For Sporting A, this partnership is the confirmation of a commitment that we have made for a long time. Moreover, it fits in seamlessly with our objective to make the urban sports infrastructure integrally accessible, so both physically and in terms of information and communication. Every inhabitant of Antwerp benefits from high-quality and accessible sports facilities, but for people with a disability, this ingrained ‘accessibility reflex’ is crucial to be able to participate fully in Antwerp’s sporting events.”

Art and museums in Antwerp

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