The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Fairground culture officially recognised as part of Brussels heritage

Illustration picture shows the Brussels Midi Fair (Brusselse Zuidfoor - Foire du Midi), between the Hallepoort / Porte de Hal and the Anderlechtse Poort / Porte d'Anderlecht, in Brussels. ( BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK)
05:50 04/05/2021

The culture of fairgrounds and fairs has been recognised as a part of Brussels heritage, the capital region’s secretary of state Pascal Smet announced on Monday. By awarding this distinction, it opens up the possibility of the capital’s fairgrounds and fairs being recognised by Unesco.

Around 40 fairs are organised throughout the Brussels-Capital Region and its 19 municipalities. Each has its own history, but the most significant is the Midi fair, which lasts for five weeks and usually welcomes nearly 1.5 million visitors.

"We all have memories of fairs, big and small,” said Pascal Smet “They deserve to be recognised and protected, both nationally and internationally."

The inclusion of fairground culture in the heritage list of Brussels is supported by the Belgian Fairgrounds Association and is a first step towards wider recognition. In partnership with France's culture ministry and the Museum of Fairground Arts in Paris, the Brussels region has submitted an official application for recognition to UNESCO.

In Belgium, the funfair community has nearly 2,000 members and forms a travelling family of 330 operators in Wallonia, 75 in Brussels and 440 in Flanders.

Written by Nick Amies