The Colonies of Benevolence, seven former landloperskolonies in Flanders and the Netherlands, have Saturday still not received recognition as a Unesco world Heritage site. The colonies, however, still have a chance and need some technical inaccuracies in their file to adjust, in June 2019 will be definitively resolved.
The mayors of the involved municipalities, Hoogstraten and Merksplas, respond satisfied on the delay that Unesco on Saturday decided. ‘Nevertheless, it is a pity that we our recognition today, not because we have the past few weeks and months a lot accomplished, ” says Tinne Rombouts (CD&V), the mayor of Hoogstraten, where the colony of Root is located.
“But we got the feeling that Unesco all seven of the colonies is important and it will come. That recognition will come there next year. We have some technical things to adjust, some factual inaccuracies straighten. This process was started in 2012 and had been incredibly interesting and enriching. The connection you now have between the different sites, there will always remain. The recognition by Unesco is the icing on the cake.’
Also her colleague in Merksplas, mayor Frank Wilrycx (Open VLD), is satisfied. ‘We now have a better starting position than when we came to Bahrain left, ” he says. “There was a negative opinion that now was transformed into a ‘maybe’. The Unesco recognition is a label for our site, which we tourist recreational want to unlock a hotel and bar / restaurant. As a Unesco-label helps in the promotion as a tourist site.”
Provincial deputy and co-chairman of the Kempens Landscape Inga Verhaert (sp.(a) remain hopeful. “It is unfortunate that Carrot – and Merksplas-Colony not a place on the world Heritage list. Exactly 200 years after the foundation of the first Colony and 25 years after the abolition of the law on vagrancy in Belgium, this was a very symbolic moment. But together with the Dutch colonies, we have it now to the final of the world Heritage kicked in. And the next match is next year. We now look at how we’re the best for gearing up.’
The Colonies of Benevolence are seven landbouwkoloniën in Belgium and the Netherlands from the 19th century where the poor, vagrants and orphans in a tight straitjacket lived and worked. After the Belgian independence were Merksplas and Root are used to vagrants to catch. Until 1993, lived, lived and worked there are still vagrants. Until 1993, was vagrancy is punishable.