Gwalior, India & Leuven, Belgium

Categorized as Case Studies, News from Asia & Australasia

Strengthening governance for the restoration of privately-owned heritage buildings in Gwalior


Located in the heart of Belgium next to Brussels, the city of Leuven has a legacy and ongoing practices to make use of heritage buildings in a way that their heritage structure and design are protected. Within the IUC programme, Leuven entered into partnership with Gwalior, a major city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, located 343 kilometers south of Delhi, to carry out cooperation in the area of heritage conservation. Gwalior has a good number of heritage buildings. However, these magnificent structures are vulnerable to the pressure of modern infrastructure and absence of strong policy guidelines to protect privately-owned heritage buildings.

Their cooperation focuses on the strengthening of governance for heritage conservation and revival and started with a technical team from Leuven visiting Gwalior to assess and understand the basic heritage infrastructure in the city in November 2018. In February 2019, a larger group of experts led by the honorable mayor of Leuven visited Gwalior and further explored and analysed other specific components of their cooperation. In addition, a Belgian expert has regularly visited Gwalior under a broader partnership between India and Belgium on various areas of cooperation including heritage conservation.

In February 2021, Gwalior and Leuven jointly organised a two-day workshop to further their cooperation. During the workshop, the representatives from KU Leuven University presented a variety of successful case examples as well as the principles of conservation. A detailed discussion on the challenges, solutions and activities in Gwalior also took place, making use of the experience of Leuven and other European cities. Following this activity, the possibility of a pilot project in a specific location in Gwalior will be explored by the two cities.

The cooperation between Gwalior and Leuven has many expected outcomes. These include the preparation of a robust framework within Gwalior Municipal Corporation and Gwalior Smart City Development Corporation Ltd for the conservation of privately-owned heritage buildings and a policy model in which heritage becomes an integral part in urban development that can be applied to similar situations all over in India.

For more information, visit or contact Mr Ashish Verma at