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Horseback shrimping in Belgium. Keeping the tradition alive

Belgium
Natalija Krutkiene

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Furry-legged Brabant horses ready for horseback shrimping, a UNESCO cultural heritage tradition carefully preserved in Oostduinkerke, Belgium. Essential companions to a dozen of Flemish paardenvissers plying the seabed the way their fathers did
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A sight attracting crowds as fishermen in their yellow overalls drag the gear to catch small grey shrimp highly valued in Belgium for its distinct taste. It is no longer a source of subsistence for local people. It is loyalty to tradition
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The catch needs to be carefully inspected and sorted before bringing it back to town for ceremonial cooking and tasting offered by the fishermen as part of the experience
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The paardenvissers community gives you a chance to witness this unique way of shrimping and marvel at the horses on set dates between April and September. Make sure to come on the day when the catch is cooked on the town’s beach promenade
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Belgium being the only place to keep doing this, the tradition needs to be carried forward by younger generations to stay alive. You too can become one of the paardenvissers by taking a course with two-years’ practical training and a final exam


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