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    Belgian beer officially gains UNESCO World Heritage status

    Belgian beer has reached a new milestone. On Friday afternoon, the UNESCO representative in Brussels, Paolo Fontani, met with ministers responsible for culture in Belgium, and provided them a certificate attesting to recognition of the production of Belgian beer. As a consequence, this is now considered to have UNESCO intangible cultural world heritage status

    An official ceremony took place in the Brussels Town Hall. Present were Alda Greoli (of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation), Isabelle Weykmans (of the German-speaking community) and Sven Gatz (from the Flemish community).

    All participants stressed the strong collaboration upon this issue of these three Belgian communities. UNESCO made its official decision on November 30th last year.

    The nomination of Belgian beer had been launched two years ago, by the intervention of the German-speaking community. This thus avoided the long queue of applications, which the nomination would have stuck in if it had been introduced by Belgium as a nation.

    The Belgian request was backed up by the entire brewing sector: the Belgian Brewers association, professional brewers and tasters, and industry training institutions.

    Those who wrote the UNESCO application say that it is the unmatched diversity of the art of Belgian brewing and the intensity of the actual beer production that are vital. These “make it both an integral part of our daily life and all of our country’s celebrations,” thus leading to this recognition, when compared to other beer-producing countries.

    The next major event for Belgian beer and Brussels will involve the opening of a so-called “Beer Temple” in the La Bourse building (the old Brussels Stock Exchange). The Alderman for Tourism, Philippe Close, emphasised that this is scheduled to take place in 2020.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times