Skip to main content

Traditional music in Belgium

Since 2018-2019, the MIM has been producing short documentaries on the theme of traditional music in Belgium. The movies are published with English subtitles on the YouTube channel of the museum.

The Moncrabeau Royal Society & the 40 Molons

40 Molons are active in Namur, collecting money for the poor since 1843. They enliven the city with menteries, stories that are full of lies, with traditional songs and with their kazoos. The Molons are true lovers of the kazoo, which is rather rare in Belgium. Be surprised by this generous and funny society!

The Last Post

Between 1914 and 1918, the Ypres region underwent intense fights in which hundreds of thousands of soldiers from different sides lost their lives. To remember these sacrifices, the local people have developed since 1928 a unique and original tradition: the daily playing of the Last Post.

The bell ringer

Marc Nicolas is one of the last bell ringer in Belgium. Every day, he rings the Angelus over the meadows and slate roofs of Bellevaux, a small village located in the Ardennes. Through this film, he invites us to discover his workplace: a wooden bell tower that houses two large bells, faithful companions of the villagers.

The Trawantel

Trawantel is said to be one of the oldest stick dances in Western Europe. It is still performed in the Antwerp Kempen region, among others at the St. Sebastian's Guild in Westerlo and Tongerlo. The RIETMA team went to meet this dance. The RIETMA (funded by Belgian Science Policy) project brings together African and European cultural workers on the issue of Representation through music. Within this framework, the project partners focused on the Trawantel dance performed in Westerlo (Belgium).

Sounds of the Binche carnival

The Centre region (Hainaut, Wallonia) has many traditional carnivals with gilles and drums. The one in Binche is probably the best known and is presented here as an example for all carnival's sounds and musics in this area.

Saint Catherine's ball in Haine-Saint-Pierre

Saint Catherine's ball in Haine-Saint-Pierre

The Saint Catherine's ball in Haine-Saint-Pierre (Hainaut) is the last popular ball organised without interruption since the second world war. Created at the time by a rejection of new dance forms from America, it is a living link with the popular European balls from the 19th century.


Knaptand: a strange animal - werewolf or furry fish? Since at least the 17th century, he has been walking once a year through the streets of Dendermonde, animating the town with the sound of his terrible jaws! A sound of fright that makes it a curious musical object.

The ratchet of the Holy Week

The ratchet of the Holy Week

In Christian liturgy, the ratchet was once used as an alternative to bells for the three days before Easter. The silence of the bells, a sign of mourning, reminded the people of Christ's Passion and death. The rasping sound of ratchets further reinforced the anguish and sadness of these three holy days. The tradition is still maintained during for the announcement of the Angelus in the small Ardennes village of Rossart. This video is not intended to evoke all the meaning and richness of the ratchet tradition in general. It simply describes how this practice still exists nowadays.

Music of the crâmignons in the Basse-Meuse area

The « crâmignon », a traditional chain dance, was once practiced throughout the Liège region. Nowadays, it is only danced in the villages of the Basse-Meuse area, between Liège and the Dutch border, and in some entities of Dutch Limburg. All afternoon long, two rival societies, Bleus and Rouges, parade through the streets, men in tuxedos, women dressed in sumptuous dresses, usually made by themselves or their entourage. In Hermalle-sous-Argenteau, near Visé, the celebration lasts five days. It ends with the crâmignon of the Youth (Monday, for unmarried people), and the gigantic crâmignon open to all (Tuesday). The latter is undoubtedly the most impressive for the external observer. The entire report was shot on Tuesday. We focused in particular on the musical aspect of the event and the bands.

Hanske Knap

« Hans knap knap knap, ... A penny or a coin to take Hanske's beard off! It hasn’t been cut in 100 years. See how long his beard is! Ho Hans, ho Hans! Put a penny in the Hans! ». So resounds the song of the « knappers », who go from door to door wishing good wishes to the inhabitants on « Lost Monday », the Monday following Epiphany. This tradition was once celebrated throughout the Antwerp Polders, but can now only be seen in the villages of Berendrecht and Zandvliet. But for how much longer?

National deer bell imitation championship 2018

This film presents a curious sound manifestation related to our forest massifs: a deer’s bell competition. From ancient hunting traditions, these competitions are widespread in Germany and Eastern Europe. They have been in existence in France since 2013, and in Belgium since 2014, where they take place every year at Le Fourneau-Saint-Michel, near Saint-Hubert. Passionate encounters between nature lovers, they are also a musical phenomenon in their own right. The imitations are based on a very developed listening and restitution skills. As the film shows, there is a great variety in the quality and expressive capacity of the bell imitator.