BRUSSELS - In the almost built-up Flanders (northern region of Belgium), land is a precious commodity. Who are the large landowners who own hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of hectares of land in Flanders? Who are the real estate investors who own whole streets in cities or have their eye on certain neighbourhoods? Why do they do it? What is the return?

In the coming months, Apache will focus on land ownership and property in four Flemish provinces: West and East Flanders, Antwerp and Limburg. A gigantic amount of leaked land registry data allows us to visualise for the first time who the most important and largest owners of real estate and land are in large parts of Flanders.

We go in search of the major landowners in the countryside and the major homeowners and speculators in the cities. How much and which land does the old nobility own? How big are the land banks of property developers? Who are the new land speculators? In addition, we also chart public land ownership, from local to federal, and look at the holdings of church councils, religious institutions and other interest groups. 

This grant was awarded within the framework of the Emergency Fund for Local Journalism.

Illustration: ©Apache

Team members

Tom Cochez

Tom Cochez is a Belgian investigative journalist.

Steven Vanden Bussche

Steven Vanden Bussche (1979) is an investigative journalist at Apache.

€ 19.830 allocated on 23/11/2020.

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