UNESCO Listed Sites in Belgium (Europe)

UNESCO Listed Sites in Belgium

Nine Belgium sites (including a shared on with France) have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List since 1998.

Flemish Beguine Convents (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998)

Flemish Beguine convents (béguinage in French, begijnhof in Dutch) were places of safety for unmarried women and widows. The oldest Flemish convents were founded during the twelfth century and by 1500, there were around hundred in operation. These convents operated like small, enclosed towns. Buildings of around 25 convents survived. A few are used by other religious orders but most are now cultural centers and retirement homes.

Thirteen beguine convents were inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998.

La Grand-Place, Brussels (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998)

La Grand-Place, Brussels

La Grand-Place (Grote Markt) in the center of Brussels is one of Europe’s grandest market squares. In addition to the Gothic Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) the square is lined by mostly late-seventeenth-century guildhalls showing a remarkable conformity in style.

The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998)

These hydraulic boatlifts in La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault region) are engineering masterpieces from the late-nineteenth, early-twentieth-century industrial period. They are the only boatlifts from this age still in their original working condition.

Belfries of Belgium and France (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1999)

Belfries of Belgium and France

Belfries (belfort in Dutch, beffroi in French) were symbols of the power and wealth of towns and the third kind of towers erected in Europe after the church’s bell towers and nobilities’ keeps. A total of 23 French and 33 Belgium belfries are on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list (added in 1999 and 2005). They were built from the eleventh to seventeenth centuries and in the styles of the period: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.

Major Town Houses in Brussels by Victor Horta (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2000)

Four town houses by Belgium Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta are on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List: Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde, and Maison and Atelier Horta. The latter, where Horta designed literally everything from the building to door hinges and wall decorations, now houses the Horta Museum.

Historic Centre of Brugge (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2000)

During the Middle Ages, Bruges (Brugge in Dutch) was a major commercial and cultural capital. Changes in trade routes meant the town became too poor to rebuild in more modern styles and now is an excellent example of medieval town architecture. It has particularly impressive brick Gothic buildings. The belfry and beguine were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list previously.

Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2000)

Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes

The flint mines at Spiennes in the Mons region are amongst the oldest mines in the world. Flint has been mined here during the late fifth millennium BC. Deep shafts sunk show knowledge of geology and technology to extract high-quality flint from deep underground.

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2000)

The Cathedral of Our Lady in Tournai is an extraordinarily fine example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The five unequal towers and large nave (134 m/ 440 ft) built during the twelfth century are precursors of the coming Gothic while the choir, rebuilt during the thirteenth century, is pure Gothic in style. The church is filled with art.

Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2005)

This museum in Antwerp is in the former house and workshop of the sixteenth-century Plantin printer-publisher family. Antwerp was one of the principle early printing centers in Europe. The museum has numerous early printing machines while the building itself is an excellent example of the relationship between the living, working, and commercial environment of a 16th to 18th century European city family enterprise.

Secessionist Stoclet House in Brussels (Added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2009)

The residence of banker Adolphe Stoclet in Brussels is a prime example of architecture and furnishing by the Viennese Secessionist movement. The building completed in 1911 was designed by Josef Hoffmann and features art and fixings designed by other leading Secessionist members including Koloman Moser and Gustav Klimt. This Gesamtkunstwerk is a turning point in the Art Nouveau and indicator of the Art Deco and Modern that would follow.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *