The Belfries of Belgium and France are a group of 56 historical buildings designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, in recognition of the civic (rather than church) belfries serving as an architectural manifestation of emerging civic independence from feudal and religious influences in the former County of Flanders (present-day French Flanders area of France and Flanders region of Belgium) and neighbouring areas which once were possessions of the House of Burgundy (in present-day Wallonia of Belgium).
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Location||Belgium; north of France|
|Criteria||Cultural: (ii), (iv)|
|Inscription||1999 (23rd Session)|
The World Heritage Site was originally called the Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia, a 1999 UNESCO list of 32 towers in those two regions of Belgium. In 2005, the list was expanded and given its current name, recognizing the addition of 23 belfries from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy regions in the north-eastern tip of France, plus the belfry of Gembloux in Wallonia.
Despite the list being concerned with civic tower structures, it includes six Belgian church towers (note the "cathedral"s, "church"es and "basilica" in the list below) under the pretext that they had served as watchtowers or alarm bell towers.
Most of the structures in this list are towers projecting from larger buildings. However, a few are notably standalone, of which, a handful are rebuilt towers formerly connected to adjacent buildings. One notable omission may seem the tower of Brussels' Town Hall, but this is not an actual belfry. The original Belfry of Brussels was located next to the Church of St. Nicholas, until its collapse in 1714. As a side note, Brussels' Town Hall is part of the Grand Place World Heritage Site.
List of belfriesEdit
- "The Hôtel de Ville in Antwerpen (1564) is an excellent example of the transposition of Renaissance principles in the central risalith with superposed diminishing registers flanked by obelisks and scrollwork and finished with a pediment, reiterating the theme of the central belfry." – Hôtel de Ville is French for 'City Hall', Antwerpen is the native name of 'Antwerp' in Dutch."
- UNESCO states, inappropriately in French: ID 943-015 Ancienne Halle avec Beffroi; in native Dutch language this is Oude [or: Voormalige] Halle met Belfort. This 14th-century Cloth Hall with never to its designed height built Belfry – both hardly ever used for the intended purposes – with more recent adjacent buildings, constitute the present-day City Hall.
- UNESCO states, inappropriately in French: ID 943-016 Tour de Saint-Rombaut ; in native Dutch language this is Sint-Romboutstoren which is the main tower of the cathedral, once also used as a watchtower against fires.
- The belfry is known as Hallentoren or Tower of the Halls, plural: of the two adjacent wings or halls, only one remains, hence Cloth Hall, singular.
- The city centre's Landhuis (literally: 'country-house') was once the seat of the kasselrij or burggraafschap (viscounty) Veurne-Ambacht, serving the countryside; here as opposed to the adjacent Stadhuis (literally: 'city-house' though always meaning the City Hall) serving the city. The Landhuis later became the Court of Justice and recently a place for cultural purposes, e.g. exhibitions, dance acts, concerts, etc.
- UNESCO states: ID 943-040 Beffroi de l'Hôtel de Ville, ID 943-039 Beffroi de l'église Saint-Eloi – further reading from other source: (in French) Monuments in Dunkirk
- "Il y eut pourtant des projets de reconstruction aux siècles passés. Oh effroi! Bruxelles est sans beffroi!". Le Soir (in French). Retrieved 3 November 2021.
- "Belfries of Belgium and France". UNESCO. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
- Brief description of the ensemble ID 943/943bis, UNESCO Website
- Detailed argumentation for list ID 943/943bis, UNESCO Website
- The complete list ID 943/943bis, UNESCO Website (monuments ordered by UNESCO ID, which precedes the corresponding monument in this Wikipedia article's main list)
- Articles on the phenomenon of the belfries from the Flemish Department of Monuments and Landscapes
- The Belgian belfries on the UNESCO list ID 943 (without Gembloux) with photographs and slideshows – from the Flemish Department of Monuments and Landscapes
- (in French) The French belfries on the UNESCO list ID 943bis with photographs and descriptions; and a general article
- (in French) The French belfries on the UNESCO list ID 943bis with thumbnails, photographs and descriptions