Besançon, strategic planning and citadel management

World Heritage Citadel - Public Institution - 2011-2015


After several studies and many themed working group meetings held from 2008 to2010, ascientific, cultural and tourism project was defined and a new way of governance established.

A dual perspective was drawn out, namely to strengthen the balance between historic heritage and natural heritage and develop a policy of events organization on one hand, and to consider the UNESCO world heritage fortifications in Besançon globally on the other hand.

In September 2010, the Municipal council decided to create a public institution chaired by the mayor in order to bestow a scientific, cultural, heritage and administrative unity to this ensemble. Since 1 January 2011, all 76 members of staff, and their projects, from the three previously distinct structures have joined forces, namely the municipal management of Citadel museums, the Citadel semi-public company and the municipal Mission Vauban.

This institution has the following tasks:                                        

  • To define and implement the scientific, cultural and tourism project,
  • To manage the site and the three museums that are housed there (the Resistance and Deportation museum, the County museum, and the zoo, insectarium and aquarium,
  • To ensure  day to day operations of tourist facilities such as the ticket office, shops and restaurants; visitor reception, safety, maintenance and upkeep,
  • To organise cultural, educational and tourism activities and events,
  • To enhance the site and the museums,
  • To monitor restoration work of the buildings and the Vauban fortifications commissioned by the Town,
  • To provide communications and promote the site.

As owner of the premises and museum collections, the town is responsible for all related charges.

The agreement of means and objectives signed for five years between the town and the public institution provides ten strategic guidelines, including:

  • preserving and enhancing the UNESCO World Heritage site;
  • ensuring coherency of the site based on three themes related to the priorities of UNESCO (history and society, biodiversity and preservation of rare and endangered species, and the  relationship between the arts and heritage);
  • establishing an  interpretation trail in the Citadel and historic town and developing tourism.

The strategic project 2011-2015, adopted in March 2011 by the Board of Directors of the Public Institution, sets out these guidelines in 31 areas of work. 


Positive aspects

Les premiers effets de cette mise en cohérence du projet et de la gestion ont été évidents dès 2011, année au cours de laquelle la fréquentation de la Citadelle a progressé de 10 % pour atteindre 283 000 entrées, dont 257 000 dans la partie payante du site.