Hunting horn players recognised as cultural heritage by Unesco
Share article:
Share article:

Hunting horn players recognised as cultural heritage by Unesco

© Belga

The tradition of playing the hunting horn, common in the Benelux and France, has been recognised by the UN cultural organisation Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

As the name suggests, the tradition of playing the hunting horn originated in the margins of the hunt, but has since become a thing in itself. The distinctive post-horn, which has no keys, remains, as does the striking uniform, but most groups nowadays do not take part in hunting.

The tradition originated in France, and is now spread across the Benelux and as far as northern Italy. Belgium has 23 groups, 14 in Wallonia and Brussels and nine in Flanders.

The repertoire of the players originally consisted of fanfares composed in 6/8 time – the cadence of a galloping horse – but has more recently expanded to include classical themes and even popular music.

The announcement was made by Unesco yesterday, at a congress which is sitting to consider other applications.

Unesco itself explains the core importance of the tradition:

“Playing the horn is a performative art open to musical creativity and practised on festive occasions. Drawn together by their shared fascination for this instrumental music, players come from all backgrounds. This great social mix is one of the hallmarks of current horn practice.

Education in the practice is traditionally oral and imitative. Players rarely learn alone, however musical practice is often acquired in horn schools. Horn music maintains a vast, lively musical repertoire constantly enriched since the seventeenth century. A great sense of belonging and continuity stems from interpreting this common repertoire, encouraging intercultural and international dialogue.”

The list of practices recognised an intangible cultural heritage falls into five main domains: oral traditions, performing arts, social practices and rituals, practices relating to nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship.

Examples include tango music and dance, Maghreb cuisine including couscous, horsemanship at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, making and sharing flatbread in Central Asia and falconry.

The annual Carnival celebrations in Aalst were added to the list in 2010, but the city withdrew itself last year after repeated accusations of anti-Semitism in the parade floats.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU auditors: More worried about the future budget than about pervasive errors in the 2020 budget
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) have signed off the 2020 EU accounts as giving a true and fair view of the union’s financial position but like ...
Belgium aims to tackle sexual violence with video interrogations
The federal government is looking to tackle sexual violence and increase convictions connected to this crime by relying more heavily on video ...
Duvel celebrates 150th anniversary with special brew in commemorative bottle
Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the release of a special brew in a commemorative bottle shaped like its ...
Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
Belgium in Brief: Feeling Good/ Pandemic Law
Yesterday I said I was writing a newsletter I didn't want to write again. Today I'm writing another one ahead of a meeting that wasn't supposed ...
Eating less meat won’t actually help much with Flemish CO2 emissions
When it comes to the ways in which ordinary people can help to reduce CO2 emissions, eating less meat is often touted as an important solution. ...
At least one in seven coronavirus patients suffers from long-term Covid
Six months after becoming infected with the coronavirus, at least one in seven people still show symptoms connected to the infection, varying from ...