Belgium has 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Belgium is 20th on the list of countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is impressive for a small country. Belgium also has the only museum that is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp is the only museum to hold that distinction.
13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belgium
Belfries of Belgium and France
A total of 56 belfries are listed as World Heritage. Among them are 33 Belgian belfries.
Collections of small buildings used by Beguines. These were various lay sisterhoods of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the 13th century in the Low Countries, comprising religious women who sought to serve God without retiring from the world.
Historic Center of Bruges (Brugge)
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the north-west of Belgium. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as “The Venice of the North.” Bruges is economically important thanks to its port. At one time, it was considered by some to be the “chief commercial city” of the world.
The Grand Place, Brussels
The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city’s Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 meters (223 by 361 ft).
Major Mining Sites of Wallonia
During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, mining and the heavy industry that relied on coal formed a major part of Belgium’s economy. Most of this mining and industry took place in the sillon industriel (“industrial valley” in French), a strip of land running across the country where many of the largest cities in Wallonia are located. The named locations of this World Heritage Site are all situated in or near the area of the sillon industriel. Mining activities in the area declined during the 20th century, and today the four mines listed are no longer operational. Nowadays they are each open to visitors as museums.
Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta, Brussels
The architect Victor Horta was well known for creating buildings in the Art Nouveau style fashionable at the time. Four of his most notable surviving works, Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde and Maison & Atelier Horta, are listed as World Heritage Sites
Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes
The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes are Europe’s largest and earliest neolithic mines, located close to the Walloon village of Spiennes, southeast of Mons. The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic (4300–2200 BC).
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai
Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church, see of the Diocese of Tournai in Tournai. Begun in the 12th century on even older foundations, the building combines the work of three design periods with striking effect: the heavy and severe character of the Romanesque nave contrasting remarkably with the Transitional work of the transept and the fully developed Gothic of the choir. The transept is the most distinctive part of the building, with its cluster of five bell towers and apsidal (semicircular) ends.
Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a museum in Antwerp about early-modern printing in general and the famous printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus in particular. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press, at the Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market).
The Stoclet Palace was a private mansion built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 in Brussels, for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. It was one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the 20th century and was lavishly decorated inside, including works by the artist Gustav Klimt.
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement
The Maison Guiette is the Belgian component of the multinational inscription ‘The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement’. The building was listed among 16 other buildings of Le Corbusier in Argentina, France, Germany, India, Japan and Switzerland. Maison Guiette was designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in 1926 and it was finished in 1927. It served as the home and workplace of Belgian painter René Guiette. It is the only remaining building designed by Le Corbusier in Belgium. It is also known as Les Peupliers, named after the street where the building is situated.
The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx
The lifts on the old Canal du Centre are a series of four hydraulic boat lifts near the town of La Louvière in the Sillon industriel of Wallonia. Along a particular 7 km (4.3 mi) stretch of the Canal du Centre, which connects the river basins of the Meuse and the Scheldt, the water level rises by 66.2 meters (217 ft). To overcome this difference, the 15.4-metre lift at Houdeng-Goegnies was opened in 1888, and the other three lifts, each with a 16.93 meters (55.5 ft) rise, opened in 1917.
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.
The Sonian Forest is the only Belgian component to the multinational inscription ‘Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. The list includes 63 beech forests in Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine.