Articles See all articles

Brussels intangible heritage: two traditions in the running for UNESCO registration in 2025

Thanks to Urban's coordination work, two symbols of Brussels' heritage are in the running for inscription on the UNESCO 2025 Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!

These are the tradition of flower carpets and festive arrangements with natural materials, as well as the well-known Brussels rod puppets.

Brussels' carpet of flowers in the making
© Laboriver-Flowercarpet

Flower carpets and festive arrangements

The flower carpet celebration is a highlight of Brussels' summer cultural calendar. It's a unique event that brings together designers, growers and volunteers to create an eclectic, temporary work of art that graces the Grand-Place. Every two years, around August 15th, when the flowers are in bloom, the Grand-Place in Brussels celebrates its carpet of flowers.

The theme, chosen almost a year before the event, is linked to the art of tapestry or to the region's international calendar. The creation is often matched by an original musical composition. Unlike many older carpets, linked to celebrations of Christ the King or Corpus Christi, this carpet has a fairly recent secular origin. However, the methods of creation, based on tracing paper, stencils and cardboard, are identical to those used throughout the world. 

Puppets at the Théâtre Royal de Toone in Brussels

Brussels rod puppets

Brussels rod puppets have a long history. While the practice dates back to the late Middle Ages, the Royal Theatre Toone, for example, serves as a true conservatory, perpetuating a popular Brussels tradition that dates back to 1830.

The performance and creation of puppets and plays requires theatrical and physical skills on the part of the puppeteers, which are passed down from generation to generation within families and apprentices. The Brussels rod puppet theatre is also a place devoted to passing on the Brussels language, the zwanze and freedom of expression. A family-friendly venue, it reinterprets some classics with humour and performs traditional plays for a wide audience.

→ These two applications were submitted to UNESCO by the Permanent Delegation of Belgium with the award expected in December 2025.

To find any further information about the results of these two popular, lively and colourful proposals, which have been prepared in close collaboration between Urban, the heritage communities, the association tapis de fleurs de Bruxelles asbl, the Théâtre royal de Toone asbl and many other partners, keep tuned.

Good to know

The Royal Theatre Toone was awarded the European Heritage Label in April 2024. The European Commission awarded the label to the Théâtre Royal de Toone in Brussels, in recognition of the theatre's role in European history and culture. 

Read the article 

Flower carpet of the Grand-Place of Brussels
Flower carpet of the Grand-Place of Brussels. M. Vanhulst ©