Flanders wants Western Front added to UNESCO’S World Heritage List

The Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters was in London last weekend for the official inauguration of the Flanders Field Memorial Garden. Designed by Bruges landscape architect Piet Blanckaert, the garden contains 70 sandbags of soil gathered from First World War military cemeteries in Belgium. At the ceremony, Peeters said the garden “symbolised the coming home of the sons of Great Britain who did not return from Flanders Fields”.

He added that the Flemish government is now in talks with UNESCO to have the Western Front battlefields and war cemeteries recognised as a World Heritage Site by 2016. “The recognition of the entire Western Front as World Heritage would send a strong message that we will never forget what happened there almost one hundred years ago,” said Peeters.

Peeters also took the opportunity to announce that the government was working with three Flemish musicians to create a new composition in 2014 to mark the anniversary of the war. The classical composer Dirk Brossé, jazz pianist Jef Neve and pop singer Frederik Sioen would work together to create the work. “It will be a unique commission bringing together three different genres,” Peeters said.

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