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City of giants, land of tradition

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​​​The Ath ducasse procession traditionally takes place on the 4th Sunday in August. As far back as 1481, a gigantic character named “Goliath” was paraded throught the streets of the town. And centuries later he is still there. Over the years, other giants have made their appearance and the procession has been embellished by allegorical floats and historical groups.

In 1981, Goliath’s 500th anniversary was the occasion for widespread popular enthusiasm. Later, from the early 1990s, the town of Ath increased its attractiveness thanks to successful urban renovation, and took advantage of its intangible heritage in the context of tourist development. Building on these beginnings, the Giants'House was opened to the public in 2000.

Since 2005, the Ath ducasse, like the Mons ducasse or the Meyboom in Brussels, has been recognised by UNESCO. These festive occasions, which have been celebrated through the ages, are part of our popular culture and are deeply rooted in our traditions.

In 2008, the town of Ath received a new accolade. It was given an award as part of the EDEN competition (European Destinations of Excellence) undertaken by the European Commission. The quality approach to tourism developed by the town as well as the appropriation of popular traditions by the local population aroused the enthusiasm of the competition jury.

This award, added to the recognition given by UNESCO in 2005, confirms all the wealth of the intangible heritage of the town.