BRUSSELS, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- In Belgium, beer drinking is serious business -- and could soon be a recognized part of the European nation's cultural contributions to the world.
Belgium has applied to have its beer culture listed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The somewhat obscure international list created in 2006 already has more than 300 places and traditions on it, including the Great Wall of China and Tanzania's Stone Town in Zanzibar.
The list is meant to afford international recognition and protection for cultural heritage from UNESCO member-states.
In its application, the Belgian brewery association noted beer consumption goes beyond drinking alcohol for the side effect of intoxication and is a national rite of passage.
"It plays a role in daily life, as well as festive occasions," the Belgian application states. "Almost 1,500 types of beer are produced in the country including by some Trappist [monk] communities."
The petition was submitted by the German-speaking portion of the Belgian population on behalf of all three linguistic communities in the country. It was endorsed by French- and Dutch-speaking brewers, as well.