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Campaign to save a listed building at threat of demolition (Tournai, Belgium).

The "Pont des Trous" is one of the most prestigious vestiges of the medieval military architecture in Belgium. It was part of the second wall of the city and defended the course of the Scheldt along the town. The tower on the left bank dates back to 1281, the one on the right bank to 1302-1304.

Why a petition? Because it is unacceptable that we are passive witnesses of the destruction of a unique monument in Europe. We understand the economic challenge (allow the passage of larger boats), but the current choice destroys the identity of the Monument. Other solutions exist! On the other hand, we never denied the fact that the central part of the "Pont des Trous" was destroyed during the second world war and rebuilt in accordance with the needs of navigation. However, as many historical monuments, the "Pont des Trous" has evolved, over the centuries, without losing the elements that define it as a "fortified gate".

"Sauvons le Pont des Trous, Monument médiéval emblématique de la Ville de Tournai (Belgique)"

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Avec le soutien du réseau
et de l'Association "Les Amis de la Citadelle"

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The "Pont des Trous" is not a bridge in the classical sense of the term. It is a water gate : a defensive structure that was part of the City walls and its function was to control and protect access to the city by the river (The Scheldt). The name comes from the presence of a lock located nearby and was called "Les Trous" (Holes) by Tournaisiens .

"Sauvons le Pont des Trous, Monument médiéval emblématique de la Ville de Tournai (Belgique)"

Damaged during the Second World War, the "Pont des Trous" had a major restoration in 1948. The Administration decided that the restoration of the building was to be allowing passage of larger ships : the deck is raised 2.40 meters and towers reduced by 1 meter. During discussions, the Administration recalled that before the war, an ambitious project was imagined : creating a diversion and conversion of existing bed of the Scheldt basin at the Pont des Trous. This solution was preferred by the Royal Commission of Monuments. Destruction suffered during the war leads to a different choice.

Nevertheless, as many historical monuments, the Pont des Trous has evolved over the centuries without losing the elements that define it as a fortified gate. With the towers of Saint-Jean and Marvis, the "Pont des Trous"  is one of the few witnesses still visible from the second wall (thirteenth century) but also one of the last water gates in Europe. Due to its heritage and historical interest, the Bridge has been classified by the Walloon Region in 1991. The classification decision concerned not only the building, but also the docks and the Garden of the Queen (Le Jardin de la Reine)

With the Cathedral of Our Lady - Roman Catholic church, see of the Diocese of Tournai in Tournai, Belgium, classified both as a Wallonia's major heritage since 1936 and as a World Heritage Site since 2000 - and the belfry - freestanding bell tower of medieval origin; one of a set of belfries of Belgium and France registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List -, the "Pont des Trous" is part of local identity. It is a strong symbol for the city and its inhabitants. Since the nineteenth century , in fact , a majority of postcards and photographs illustrate the City of Tournai with the Bridge of holes in the foreground and the Cathedral and the Belfry in the background.

2013 - The Seine-Nord Europe Canal is a project of a high capacity canal in France that would link the Oise River at Janville, Oise, and the Canal Dunkerque-Escaut, east of Arleux. The effect would be to considerably expand trade flows while connecting to surrounding northern European countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

The goal is to allow the same thing on the Seine-Escaut link.

In June, the announcement made by the City of Tournai : 4 projects were possible. In July, the media and the public had made their choice : a bridge expanded but still stone. November the 5, the shock. The 6 , a facebook group starts - Préservons l'identité du Pont des Trous, Monument emblématique de Tournai - In 15 days, the City of Tournai gave the possibility to citizens to contest the decision adopted : remarks, observations (accordance with the reglementation). Since November the 5 so we are waiting ...
Others solutions exist :
Another architectural choice? bypass the monument? bypass the city? In France, such a situation would be unthinkable. In Wallonia, this example demonstrates that there is not the same cultural sensitivity.

Some pictures of the reconstruction taken after the second war world

"Sauvons le Pont des Trous, Monument médiéval emblématique de la Ville de Tournai (Belgique)"

Liens utiles

Page Facebook "Préservons l'identité du Pont des Trous, Monument emblématique de Tournai!"

Pourquoi détruire le Pont des Trous de Tournai? (, 13 novembre 2013)

Bulletin n° 13 – Spécial Pont des Trous Elections communales 2012" (Les Amis de la Citadelle)

Mise au point sur le site de l'Association "Les Amis de la Citadelle"

Yves DHINNIN "Sur le pont des trous, on y chante et on y danse..." (, 10 décembre 2013)

Revue de presse

* "Un pont des Trous new look à Tournai" (, 5 novembre 2013)

* "Tournai - Le Pont des Trous gardera sa physionomie" (Notélé, 30 avril 13)

* "le Pont des Trous : Objectif 2016" (, 29 mars 2013)

* "Demotte : agrandir le pont des Trous pour ne pas le dénaturer" (, 9 octobre 2012)

* "Tournai: un vestige du Moyen-Age bloque un projet d’envergure (vidéo)" (RTL, 14 août 2012)

* Bulletin spécial de l'association "Les Amis de la Citadelle" (23 mai 2011) - Consulter le document

*ANNEXE 8.5-1 Caractérisation patrimoniale du Pont des Trous, évaluation des impacts des différents tracés proposés pour sa traversée et recommandations URL :