Brussels Ommegang is Intangible World Heritage

The United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO has added a medieval Brussels procession, the Ommegang, to its list of intangible world heritage.


The Ommegang started as a religious procession marking the transportation of a miraculous sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary from Antwerp to Brussels, but today has a more secular character.  Today the Ommegang reconstructs the entrance of Emperor Charles V and his son, Philip of Spain, in Brussels in 1549.

The Brussels Region applied to UNESCO for the inclusion of the Ommegang on the list in 2017. The Ommegang of the present era started in 1930 and is based on descriptions of the medieval procession in which anybody of name paraded on Brussels historic market square. The pageant is held annually in June or July and goes out twice.  Some 1,400 people take part.

PM Rudi Vervoort of the Brussels Region spoke of the Ommegang as a “multicultural city tradition with historic value that brings several strands of Belgian tradition together”.

The next Ommegang is planned on 1 and 3 July 2020.

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