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Saint Verhaegen ceremony to become cultural heritage?

Application submitted to Flemish government

Today, on November 20th, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) commemorate their founder Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen. The Brussels Studentengenootschap (BSG), the St. V committee and the Centrum voor academische en vrijzinnige initiatieven (CAVA) have submitted an application for the incorporation of the Saint Verhaegen ceremony as intangible cultural heritage.


Keeping heritage alive

The application was submitted to the department Culture, Youth, Sports and Media of the Flemish Government - division Cultural Heritage. The application dossier exists of a description of among other things the meaning and value of the Saint Verhaegen remembrance and procession as well as a list of past, present and future actions that are undertaken to keep the heritage element alive. CAVA also created a dedicated page on its website:


Tradition since 1888

Vrije Universiteit Brussel originated from its French speaking counterpart Université Libre de Bruxelles which was founded on November 20th, 1834. That day has been remembered since the 19th century with a day off. But in 1888 students decided to give the day special meaning. Some 200 of them gathered around the statue of Verhaegen and then form a procession to the cemetery to lay flowers on the grave of their ‘idol’. On that day they want to pay their respects to Verhaegen as the initiator of free-thinking and scientific education, void of superstition and intolerance. The press ironically speaks of the ‘canonisation’ of Verhaegen: Saint Verhaegen is born.


Vrije Universiteit Brussel

For more than 180 years VUB has helped build a better society as an innovative, free inquiring and critical thinking university. We are linked to the world from within our international capital Brussels. A never-ending quest for knowledge, insights and enlightenment forms the golden thread in all we do in education, research and social commitment.

At the same time we continue to advance our very personal and democratic approach that enables all the members of the VUB-community to grow, so they can successfully take up their roles in the world of today and tomorrow.


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