List of World Heritage sites in Belgium
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. The Kingdom of Belgium accepted the convention on 24 July 1996, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.
Currently, there are 13 sites in Belgium inscribed on the list and 16 sites on the tentative list. The first sites in Belgium to be added to the list were the Flemish Béguinages, the Grand Place in Brussels and the lifts on the Canal du Centre, all three of them inscribed at the 22nd UNESCO session in 1998. Further sites were added in 1999, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2017. In total, there are 12 cultural sites, as determined by the organization's selection criteria. The Sonian Forest, as a part of the extension to the site of Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, is the only natural site. Three of the sites are transnational entries.
List of sites
The table lists information about each World Heritage site:
- Name: as listed by the World Heritage Committee
- Location: in Belgium
- Period: time period of significance, typically of construction
- UNESCO data: the site's reference number; the year the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List; the criteria it was listed under: criteria (i) through (vi) are cultural, while (vii) through (x) are natural; sites meeting both criteria are categorized as "mixed sites", the column sorts by year.
- Description: brief description of the site
|Belfries of Belgium and France*||Belgium and Northern France||11th to 17th centuries||943; 1999, 2005 (extended); ii, iv (cultural)||A total of 56 belfries are listed as World Heritage. Among them are 33 Belgian belfries: Antwerp (Cathedral of Our Lady & Antwerp City Hall), Herentals, Lier, Mechelen (St. Rumbold's Cathedral & city hall), Bruges, Diksmuide, Kortrijk, Lo-Reninge, Menen, Nieuwpoort, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne, Ypres, Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Ghent, Oudenaarde, Leuven, Tienen, Zoutleeuw, Sint-Truiden, Tongeren, Binche, Charleroi, Mons, Thuin, Tournai, Gembloux and Namur.|
|Flemish Béguinages||Flanders||13th century||855; 1998; ii, iii, iv (cultural)||Béguinage (French) or begijnhof (Dutch) are collections of small buildings used by Beguines. These were various lay sisterhoods of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the 13th century in the Low Countries, comprising religious women who sought to serve God without retiring from the world. The list includes 13 béguinages: Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Ghent (Klein Begijnhof, Groot Begijnhof), Hoogstraten, Kortrijk, Leuven (Groot Begijnhof), Lier, Mechelen (Groot Begijnhof), Sint-Truiden, Tongeren and Turnhout.|
|Historic Centre of Brugge||Bruges, West Flanders||12th to 19th centuries||996; 2000; ii, iv, vi (cultural)||Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the north-west of Belgium. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North". Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was considered the "chief commercial city" of the world.|
|La Grand-Place, Brussels||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||1695-1699||857; 1998; ii, iv (cultural)||The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft).|
|Major Mining Sites of Wallonia||Wallonia||19th to 20th centuries||1344; 2012; ii, iv (cultural)||During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, mining and the heavy industry that relied on coal formed a major part of Belgium's economy. Most of this mining and industry took place in the sillon industriel ("industrial valley" in French), a strip of land running across the country where many of the largest cities in Wallonia are located. The named locations of this World Heritage Site are all situated in or near the area of the sillon industriel. Mining activities in the area declined during the 20th century, and today the four mines listed are no longer operational. Nowadays they are each open to visitors as museums.|
|Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta||Brussels and Saint-Gilles, Brussels-Capital||19th to 20th centuries||1005; 2000; i, ii, iv (cultural)||The architect Victor Horta was well known for creating buildings in the Art Nouveau style fashionable at the time. Four of his most notable surviving works, Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde and Maison & Atelier Horta, are listed as World Heritage Sites.|
|Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes||Mons, Hainaut||Neolithic||1006; 2000; i, iii, iv (cultural)||The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes are Europe's largest and earliest neolithic mines, located close to Walloon village of Spiennes, southeast of Mons. The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic (4300–2200 BC).|
|Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai||Tournai, Hainaut||12th century||1009; 2000; ii, iv (cultural)||Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church, see of the Diocese of Tournai in Tournai. Begun in the 12th century on even older foundations, the building combines the work of three design periods with striking effect, the heavy and severe character of the Romanesque nave contrasting remarkably with the Transitional work of the transept and the fully developed Gothic of the choir. The transept is the most distinctive part of the building, with its cluster of five bell towers and apsidal (semicircular) ends.|
|Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex||Antwerp, Antwerp||16th to 17th centuries||1185; 2005; ii, iii, iv, vi (cultural)||The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a museum in Antwerp about early-modern printing in general and the famous printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus in particular. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press, at the Friday Market.|
|Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe*||Brussels-Capital, Flanders and Wallonia||N/A||1133; 2017; ix (natural)||The Sonian Forest is the only Belgian component to the multinational inscription 'Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpatians and Other Regions of Europe'. The list includes 63 beech forests in Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine.|
|Stoclet House||Woluwe-St-Pierre, Brussels-Capital||1911||1298; 2009; i, ii (cultural)||The Stoclet Palace was a private mansion built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 in Brussels, Belgium, for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. It was one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the twentieth century and was lavishly decorated inside, including works by the artist Gustav Klimt.|
|The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement*||Antwerp, Antwerp||1927||1321; 2016; i, ii, vi (cultural)||The Maison Guiette is the Belgian component of the multinational inscription 'The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement'. The building was listed among 16 other buildings of Le Corbusier in Argentina, France, Germany, India, Japan and Switzerland.|
Maison Guiette was designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in 1926 and it was finished in 1927. It served as the home and workplace of Belgian painter René Guiette. It is the only remaining building designed by Le Corbusier in Belgium. It is also known as Les Peupliers, named after the street where the building is situated.
|The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx||Hainaut||1888-1917||856; 1998, iii, iv (cultural)||The lifts on the old Canal du Centre are a series of four hydraulic boat lifts near the town of La Louvière in the Sillon industriel of Wallonia. Along a particular 7 km (4.3 mi) stretch of the Canal du Centre, which connects the river basins of the Meuse and the Scheldt, the water level rises by 66.2 metres (217 ft). To overcome this difference, the 15.4-metre lift at Houdeng-Goegnies was opened in 1888, and the other three lifts, each with a 16.93 metres (55.5 ft) rise, opened in 1917.|
In addition to the sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage list are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list. As of 2017, Belgium lists 16 properties on its tentative list.
|Ghent historic town centre||Ghent, East-Flanders||856; 2002; ii, iv (cultural)|
|Antwerp historic town centre||Antwerp, Antwerp||857; 2002; ii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|Historic buildings of the University of Leuven||Leuven, Flemish Brabant||1712; 2002; ii, iii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||5355; 2008; ii, iv (cultural)|
|Bloemenwerf by Henry van de Velde||Uccle, Brussels-Capital||5356; 2008; i, ii (cultural)|
|Palace of Justice||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital||5357; 2008; i (cultural)|
|High Fens landscape||Liège||5358; 2008; v (cultural)|
|Roman road from Bavay to Tongeren||Belgium||5359; 2008; iii, iv (cultural)|
|Prince-Bishops' Palace||Liège, Liège||5361; 2008; ii, iii (cultural)|
|Battlefield of Waterloo||Braine-l'Alleud, Walloon Brabant||5362; 2008; ii, iii, vi (cultural)|
|Battle of Waterloo Cyclorama||Braine-l'Alleud, Walloon Brabant||5364; 2008; i, ii, iv, vi (cultural)|
|The Mosane Citadels||Wallonia||5365; 2008; ii (cultural)||Includes the citadelles in Dinant, Namur and Huy.|
|Hoge Kempen landscape||Limburg||5623; 2011; iv, vi, viii (cultural and natural)|
|Koloniën van Weldadigheid (Agricultural pauper colonies)||Antwerp||5841; 2013; v, vi (cultural)||Together with The Netherlands. In total 7 colonies were selected for the list, among them are the colonies of Merksplas and Wortel in Belgium.|
|Cemeteries and memorials of the Great War*||Belgium and France||5886; 2014; iii, iv, vi (cultural)||Together with France. A total of 105 elements were selected for the list in France and Belgium. 25 sites are situated in Belgium.|
|Great Spas of Europe*||Spa, Liège||5932; 2014; ii, iii, iv, vi (cultural)||Collaboration with Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom. The city of Spa is selected to be part of the property.|
Location of sites
- "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – The World Heritage Convention". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "Belgium". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Report of the Rapporteur". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. January 29, 1999. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- "The Criteria of Selection". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- "Belfries of Belgium and France". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Flemish Béguinages". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Historic Centre of Brugge". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "La Grand-Place, Brussels". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Major Mining Sites of Wallonia". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- Sharp, Dennis (2002). Twentieth Century Architecture. Mulgrave: Images Publishing Group. ISBN 1-86470-085-8. pp.44
- Watkin, David (2005). A History of Western Architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing. ISBN 1-85669-459-3. pp.548
- "Stoclet House". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut)". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Tentative Lists". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "Tentative List – Belgium". unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2016.