Since 1411, two stilt walkers’ teams of Namur have confronted one another relentlessly. On the one side, the ‘Mélans’ who carry yellow and black stilts and represent the old city. On the other, the ‘Avresses’, climbed on red and white stilts, representing the new town and the suburbs. Their spectacular jousts have pleased Emperors and Kings. Charles the Fifth, Louis XIV, Peter the Great from Russia, Napoleon… all of them attended a stilt walkers’ fight given by the Stilt walkers of Namur. Nowadays, the stilt walkers still joust on stilts and perpetuate this living heritage which is the pride of Namur. Since December 16, 2021, Namur stilt jousting has been included on the list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity (UNESCO). In September 2022, the very first women’s joust in history took place.
The Joust for the Golden Stilt takes place on the third Sunday of September during the Wallonia festivities. This joust is the most prestigious and popular of all. More about the Golden Stilt.