Flanders wants Vooruit complex in Ghent to be recognised as UNESCO world heritage

The Flemish government wants UNESCO to recognise the Vooruit cultural centre in Ghent as a World Heritage site. The government officially announced on Tuesday that it is preparing a joint dossier with six other cultural centres from around the world.

The Vooruit complex opened its doors in 1913, making it one of the oldest cultural centres in Belgium. Built to democratise workers' leisure activities, it became a focal point as a socialist party and arts centre in the segregated Flemish society before the Second World War.

After the war, the building fell into disrepair until it was given a new lease of life as an independent arts centre in 1982. Today, Vooruit is a household name in Ghent, not only among nostalgic socialists, but also among young people for its nightlife, concerts and cultural programme.

Name change

In 2021, the leadership of the former socialist party SP.A adopted the name to boost its popularity, much to the displeasure of the Ghent organisation's management. The art centre decided to change its name to VierNulVier (FourZeroFour), in reference to the famous internet error message. The building itself is still called Vooruit.

The dossier will be submitted to UNESCO in 2026. If approved, the complex will be officially recognised in the autumn of 2027.



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