Unesco accepts Belgian beer as world heritage

EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

Unesco accepts Belgian beer as world heritage


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Belgian beer culture in all of its aspects has been approved by the United Nations’ heritage body UNESCO for inclusion on the list of world intangible heritage. UNESCO accepted Belgium’s application, recognising that brewing fosters a unified identity in a country sometimes divided on linguistic lines.

Belgium is home to nearly 200 breweries making 1,500 different beers, from brown ales to golden lagers and sour lambics to the strong trappist brews produced in monasteries. National dishes also include beer and the country has some 30 brewing museums.
Belgium’s German-speaking region, which submitted the application, said other countries made beer, but Belgium’s brewing history and diversity were unparalleled.Beer culture becomes Belgium’s 13th item on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, joining horse-drawn shrimp fishing and the Carnival in the town of Aalst.

This year’s additions to the list include Cuban rumba and the Mangal Shobhajatra festival in Bangladesh that celebrates the Bengali New Year. Last year, Arabic coffee and the bagpipe culture in Slovakia gained entry.

“The Unesco recognition is the pinnacle of the work done by countless beer brewers, beer lovers, beer promoters and zythologists who have lifted our beer culture to such a level that it is worth protecting,” said Isabelle Weykmans, culture minister for the German community. “This recognition will give Belgian beer culture even more gloss and attitude around the world.”

The UN created its list of intangible cultural heritage in 2008 for traditional events, rituals and social practices. To be considered, the tradition should be passed down through generations and give those involved a sense of identity.
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