Beffroi de Binche
The Belfry of Binche is part of the town hall, which was constructed in the 14th century. After the pillage of the town by the French army in 1554, the monument was rebuilt by the architect Du Broeucq in the renaissance style.
In the 18th century, the architect Dewelz renovated the façade and gave it a neo-classical look. After an important renovation, which was finished in 1901, the building got back its front in renaissance style.
The belfry has a baroque cupola and a carillon. Some of the bells date back to the 16th century. The building is decorated with the coats of arms of Charles V and his sister Mary of Hungary.
The Belfry of Binche is one of the 32 “Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia” (Belgium) that the UNESCO inscribed onto its list of world cultural heritage in 1999. In 2005, the belfry of Gembloux in the Walloon Region of Belgium and 23 belfries from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie régions in the northern tip of France were appended to the renamed list. Today this group is called “Belfries of Belgium and France”.
Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, they showcase the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties.
While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Compared with the keep (symbol of the seigneurs) and the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen.
Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.