Beffroi de Namur
In the 14th century, the Belfry of Namur was situated in the tower of the collegiate church Saint-Pierre-au-Château. After a destructive fire in 1745, the belfry was transferred to the tower Saint-Jacques, the biggest tower of the third city walls built in 1388.
In the 16th century, the belfry was converted in order to receive the bell that should announce the opening and closing of the town gates. With its height of a bit more than 20m the tower Saint-Jacques is a remarkable witness of the military architecture of the 14th century.
The Belfry of Namur 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.