The nearly 40 fairs organised within the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium are now officially listed as part of the city’s heritage. Apart from recognition and protection, the fair culture’s new status could give access to a possible place on UNESCO’S intangible heritage list.
The Brussels Region, in collaboration with the French Minister of Culture and the Musée des arts forains de Bercy, has submitted an official request for recognition to UNESCO, The Brussels Times reported. “We all have memories of fairs, large and small”, mentioned Brussels Secretary of State Pascal Smet. “They deserve recognition and protection, both nationally and internationally.”
The inclusion of fairground culture in the inventory of intangible heritage in Brussels was supported by the Association of the Defence of Belgian Fairgoers (DFB-VBF). “We felt it was important to recognise the commitment of the fairground workers”, said Steve Severeyns, fairgoer and spokesman for the DFB-VBF. “Fairs are indispensable for activities, celebrations and folklore events. The locals bring these events to life and create a unique atmosphere and culture.”
The Belgian fairground community counts almost 2,000 members, spread across Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. Some operators travel all over Belgium, while some only visit the Brussels region. One of the most important fairs in Brussels is the Foire du Midi. It lasts for five weeks and in normal times welcomes nearly 1.5 million visitors. Watch the video down below to get an impression of one of the largest fairs of Belgium.