Heritage Day Flandres
On Sunday 11 September some of our finest and well-known heritage is opening its doors for the public once again. But of course a lot of other, lesser-known but equally interesting monuments have been added to the programme as well. This year’s Open Monumentendag will be about Conflict and everything that comes along with it.
Throughout history Flanders has seen a lot of conflicts, which has left a tremendous impact. Obviously World War I and II, two of the greatest tragedies in recent history, left many marks. But when looking back even further, it goes to show that there have been many more in the past. First, fortresses, castles and fortified farms arose in towns and the country at strategically well-chosen locations. After that, the nineteenth century gave us fortress girdles around cities and during the twentieth century fall-out shelters, anti-tank ditches and bunker lines started to emerge.
But not all ‘conflict heritage’ was initially constructed with military purposes in mind. As a matter of fact, in most cases existing buildings were simply given a different use. For example: mills and churches serving as an outpost or hotels and houses serving as a residence for soldiers. Up to now a lot of traces of military activity can be found in civil buildings.
This edition of Heritage Day Flanders also focuses on the commemoration of fallen heroes and the celebration of our country’s liberation. There are all kind of ways to do so: big and festive or small and modest, individual or collective, locally or nationally, anonymously or by reading the names aloud. Therefore some of the finest military burial grounds and war monuments are also incorporated in the curriculum.
However, Open Monumentendag is not only about armed conflicts: ideological, social and civil struggles have also left their footprint on today’s society. If conflicts do arise, they are mostly resolved in a civilized, nonviolent fashion. To do this properly specific types of buildings are needed. Many of these are considered today as monuments, for instance court houses, police stations and prisons.
Finally, the struggle for the protection of monuments is yet another aspect that shows what an impact they have on a society. This day is therefore an excellent opportunity to overview some of the efforts that people have been going through to preserve and maintain valuable heritage. We will also highlight some of the ongoing struggles for monuments, sites and landscapes and point out their respective pros and cons.
It goes without saying that this year’s programme will be very diverse once more. With hundreds of opened monuments and activities to choose from, it will be a difficult choice. Do not miss out on this unique opportunity to see some of the nation’s finest cultural heritage!
The full curriculum can be consulted via this web site’s search engine. Enjoy!
Want more information?
Coördinatiecentrum Open Monumentendag Vlaanderen
Erfgoedhuis Den Wolsack
Oude Beurs 27
T +32 (0)3 212 29 55