Inspired by the existing World Peace Flame monument in Cadzand (Netherlands), a new flame was lit in a festive ceremony in Holsbeek, Belgium, on Saturday 3 October.
The flame in Cadzand has burned continuously since 2004. And it was a visit there by representatives from Holsbeek that triggered the building of the new World Peace Flame monument.
“We need to do our best for peace each and every day”, said Annelies Vander Bracht, Executive Councillor for International Cooperation and Culture in Holsbeek. “Unlike what many people think, conflicts aren’t just important in far-away places. They’re also a reality for us here in our own town. Our new World Peace Flame is a great start to make everyone aware of that.”
“The World Peace Flame unites our community”
The new World Peace Flame monument in Holsbeek unites four formerly separate villages and five parishes that now make up the municipality. The flame is housed in a 3.6-metre-high monument, topped by a large dove of peace and prominently located on a peaceful hillside overlooking the surrounding area.
“Our experience is that the World Peace Flame is a powerful force in uniting the community. We’re happy to serve as an inspiration to our friends in Holsbeek”, said WPF Cadzand representative Els van Venrooy.
New flame sparked by visit to Cadzand
This is the first World Peace Flame in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, joining the existing monument in Riemst (province of Limburg). The new flame and monument were sparked by a visit to Cadzand by two residents from Holsbeek. There they met with WPF Cadzand representative Els van Venrooy, who showed them the monument and explained what it stands for in the Dutch municipality. After that they were so enthusiastic that they set up a working group to develop the new monument in their own town in Belgium.
Symbol of unity, peace and freedom
Speaking on behalf of the World Peace Flame Foundation, Trudi Rubingh underlined the values that the flame symbolises. “The World Peace Flame stands
for unity, peace and freedom; it urges every one of us to think of peace and to work actively for peace, day in and day out. By doing so, it appeals to the highest in each of us, and it symbolises the importance of peace in our own lives, and in the lives of people all around the world.”
Festive inauguration ceremony
The festive opening ceremony on 3 October was attended by around 400 local residents, as well as a crowd of children from all the schools in the municipality. In a colourful torchlit procession, the same schoolchildren carried a mineworker’s lamp bringing the World Peace Flame from Cadzand, to be used to light the new flame in Holsbeek.
Reception with light show and fireworks
The inauguration ceremony, including the lighting of the World Peace Flame, was followed by a reception held in a party tent on the site of the WPF monument, with a light show and refreshments provided by the municipality. From now on, the World Peace Flame will burn constantly in the new Holsbeek monument, from where it radiates its message of peace and unity over this municipality at the heart of Belgium.