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Information

Name:Belfries of Belgium and France
Area:Western Europe
Country:Belgium and France
Registered Year:1999 
Type:Cultural Heritage
Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
See description of criteria
Brief Description:
Twenty-three belfries in the north of France and the belfry of Gembloux in Belgium were inscribed as a group, an extension to the 30 Belgian belfries inscribed in 1999 as Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia. Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, they showcase the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties. Whilst Italian, German and English towns mostly opted to build town halls, in part of northwestern Europe (France, Belgium and the Netherlands), greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Originally, a belfry was erected as a sign of communal independence obtained by charter, and as the very symbol of freedom. Compared to the keep (symbol of the seigneurs, i.e. feudal lord) and to the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen. Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.

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