Flanders has gained an impressive chunk of UNESCO heritage. The World Heritage Committee has officially recognised Flanders' World War I memorial sites as world heritage sites. This includes 27 monuments and cemeteries, such as Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendaele and the Menin Gate in Ypres.
These commemorative sites are the backbone of Flanders Fields, a region that was a battleground of the First World War for four years. The many monuments you will find here today symbolise a universal message of peace. They fit into a collection of 139 historical memorials in Flanders (27), Wallonia (16) and France (96). That collection is now recognised as world heritage in its entirety.
With this recognition, UNESCO has designated a material world heritage site in Flanders for the eighth time. Among other things, the historic city centre of Bruges and the centuries-old printing and publishing company Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp have already featured on this prestigious list. So this list now includes the Flanders Fields memorials as well. These monuments were already protected by the Flemish community. There is now an additional honour and responsibility, so that this invaluable heritage is preserved for eternity.