Commemoration Events

Preview of the Illumination Show by Clement Briend

A special Scientific Conference and Commemorative Event on Underwater Cultural Heritage from World War I were organized by UNESCO and the Government of Flanders (Belgium) from 26 to 28 June 2014 in the Bruges Courthouse in occasion of the Centenary of World War I. The event included a two-day scientific conference and a commemorative event.

UNESCO organized on 27/28 June 2014 a Commemorative Event to recall the Centenary of World War I and to draw attention to the need to better protect the conflict’s highly threatened underwater cultural heritage.

From 2014 onwards this underwater cultural heritage from World War I will come under the protection of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This treaty is the foremost reference document in the field to protect those irreplaceable witnesses of history belonging to the humanity as a whole.

Underwater heritage dating back from the period 1914-1918 is a precious witness of history. Despite its undisputable value as historical reminder, this heritage is however seriously endangered through environmental, but also human influences, such as looting and metal recovery from the wrecks for industrial and commercial purposes.

The Commemorative Event aimed at fostering heritage preservation, reconciliation and peace-building through remembering the lessons taught by history through the physical remains left by the conflict.

This special event was marked by the launch of different remembrance events worldwide, namely a Peace Education Initiative, a Dive for Peace Day and a Remembrance Signaling at Sea.

The Commemorative Event peaked with a contemporary art interpretation in form of a light and image projection through water reflection, on the Burg Square of Bruges at the evening of 27 June. This illumination event was open to the public.

28 June is a date of high symbolism, the date of the event that triggered World War I through the assassination of the heir of Austria.

Back to top