In recent years, the separation of heritage conservation concerns and spatial planning concerns-a spectre of post-war modernism-is being criticised. Numerous commentators argue that heritage conservation needs to rethink its purpose and role if it is to maintain its place in the planning system specifically and urban and rural development more generally. This paper analyses the Belvedere Memorandum and its incentive programme (1999-2009) by which the Dutch government actively encouraged the integration of heritage conservation with spatial planning. It is a first attempt to identify the impact of Belvedere on Dutch heritage planning practises. We argue that Belvedere has contributed to a reorientation of heritage conservation. At the same time, however, heritage conservation now faces new challenges as a result of the fact that the government is reducing its involvement in spatial planning, of a turn-around in socio-economic and demographic development (from growth to shrinkage) and of a crisis in property development. We believe Belvedere can be called a success only if the heritage sector manages, under these changed circumstances, to actively respond to spatial challenges and forge links with social actors. © 2012 Taylor and Francis.