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Vlaamse Kampeer- en Caravaning Federatie (VKCF)


Date: 29/07/2015
Source: FICC

Camping in Belgium goes back several centuries, but it was mostly associated with military activity. Camping for pleasure first happened a few centuries ago when rich families came to the health resort, Spa, and could not find suitable accommodation. They put up very large tents in surrounding fields and were served by a small army of servants. The question of course is whether this was really camping.
The first traces of organized camping club appear a few months before the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The first club was called “Camping Club de Belgique”. Thirteen years later a periodical magazine “La tente” was launched.
Between the two world wars there were three camping clubs in Belgium. The biggest, the “Royal Camping Club de Belgique”, and a much smaller one “Les Campeurs Belges” both served the French-speaking part of the country. For the Flemish part the “Vlaamse Kampeercentrale” was established in 1934. The Flemish organization could not count on government support so sought assistance from the “VTB”, the Vlaamse Toeristen Bond. “Vlaamse Kampeercentrale” became a member of F.I.C.C.
During World War II all camping was considered to be a military activity and was therefore prohibited. Nevertheless the fortnightly magazine “Toerisme” issued by the Vlaamse Toeristen Bond dated 1 July 1941, carried an announcement of the creation of “De Vlaamse Kampeertoeristen” (V.K.T.). To get around the war-time restrictions, announcing a picnic was the message to insiders that a camping weekend was being organised!
After the bombing of Antwerp in September 1944 all camping activities were stopped and the magazine “Toerisme” ceased publication. Between 1945 and 1947 there were several attempts to start the club again but the economic situation was not favorable.
However in 1948 in Ghent, some experienced campers along with other newer camping friends started the “Vlaamse Kampeertoeristen” all over again. Heavy tents carried on foot and by bike soon gave way to family cars transporting camping equipment. The first caravans rapidly made their appearance and later came the motorcaravans. The need for a proper camping magazine was never more marked and on 16 January 1953 the first issue of “Kampeertoerist” was published.
As most Belgian clubs were members of the Belgian Camping and Caravanning Federation, the regionalization of Belgium created a problem for F.I.C.C. Until that time F.I.C.C. only allowed one federation to represent any one country. However, as the Belgian federation was divided into the “Fédération Francophone des Clubs de Caravanning et de Camping de Belgique (FF3CB)” and the “Vlaamse Kampeer en Caravanning Federatie (VKCF)”, both federations became members of F.I.C.C.
“VKCF” was founded on 6 March 1979 and its original statutes were published in the Belgian Gazette on 14 June 1979.
“VKCF” was simply the umbrella organisation with member clubs like VKT, Vlaamse Kampeertoeristen and the former Vakantiegenoegens and Pasar. Pasar left both VKCF and F.I.C.C. The Royal Automobile Club RACB became a member of F.I.C.C., which means that today VKCF’s members are the Königlichen Automobil Club, Kampeervereniging t’Heiken
(Heiken Camping Federation), ATB De Natuurvrienden (ATB Friends of Nature) and Vlaamse Kampeertoeristen (Flemish Camping Tourists). “Vlaamse Kampeertoeristen” is still the leading camping club.