Did you know that the Belgian Raymond Lemaire was one of the founders of modern monument conservation?
The Venice Charter serves as the international guideline for safeguarding cultural heritage. It contains many recommendations for the maintenance and restoration of monuments. When it was drafted in 1964, the Belgian Raymond Lemaire was one of the writers.
During the post-war years, Raymond Lemaire, born in Brussels in 1921, became professor at the Catholic University of Leuven at a very young age, where he taught art history, in French and in Dutch.
His main areas of interest were architecture, restoration and urban development. He ensured that the principles of the Venice Charter were applied during the restoration of the Beguinage of Leuven. It is also thanks to him that the construction of the new city Louvain-la-Neuve was inspired by the structure of a traditional city.
In 1965 Raymond Lemaire was a co-founder of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a non-governmental organisation closely associated with UNESCO. It is within this context that recently a fund, which awards scholarships on a global scale to young specialists in the field of monument conservation, was named after him.
Raymond Lemaire was also involved in different restorations, including the Acropolis in Athens and the temples of Borobudur in Indonesia. For his work he also received several international prizes. He was elevated to the peerage a few years before his death in 1997.