Belgian Beer Culture recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage
BRUSSELS - “We have won the World Cup!” exclaims Sven Gatz, Minister of Culture for Flanders. In his former role as Managing Director of the Federation of Belgian Brewers he immediately lent his support to the initiative to submit an application to UNESCO to have Belgian beer culture recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Several years later the verdict has arrived: Belgium is now officially a world reference when it comes to beer culture. The Federation of Belgian Brewers has its offices on the Grand-Place in Brussels which, by the way, is itself a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The moment the decision is made, a media storm ensues. The people behind the project have a microphone thrust into their faces and are eye-to-eye with the camera. All of a sudden, Belgian beer is a ‘hot item’. The brewers have now hoisted the ‘Fier op ons bier’ (‘Proud of our beer’) flag on the protected façade of the Brewer’s House. Only a few seconds later, trays with well-filled beer glasses are doing the rounds.
Happiness and good cheer abound. “Our patience has been rewarded,” Sven Gatz states. “It was not always easy to get all the noses to point in the same direction as different people have different interests. Also, it’s hard to describe what is meant by ‘beer culture’. It is about the typically Belgian art of living and about the beer that unites all of us Belgians.”
“Beer culture encompasses brewing expertise, in-depth research into taste, established breweries as well as up-and-coming microbreweries... Nowadays, everybody will find something to their taste in our beer country of Belgium and it is precisely this diversity that is our greatest trump card.”
19 may 2017 - Beertourism.com