In a statement published last Tuesday, Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Flemish Community Secretaries of State for Culture Joëlle Milquet and Sven Gatz said how glad they were that UNESCO has recognised Belgian carillon culture as the “best safeguarding practice to promote and preserve intangible cultural heritage”. The earliest known carillon was found in the Southern Netherlands, in the 1500s. It is considered to be the first musical instrument of mass communication.
After a very thorough selection process by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Belgian application was the only one that was selected. “This age-old Belgian tradition and the initiatives that were carried out to pass on and develop carillon culture” were fully appreciated and acknowledged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It was indeed cited as an example of World Cultural Heritage”.
Joëlle Milquet congratulated both bell-ringers and carillon music enthusiasts for their continued efforts to protect this intangible heritage and adapt it to our times. “Carillon music is the voice of our cities. Today it still greatly contributes to the quality of life in urban areas”, she said.
The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will be held in Paris, from November 24th to 28th. It will be chaired by José Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros (Peru).