10 Year Anniversary of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

We all have heard of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. As of 2015, 1031 sites of unique cultural and physical significance are listed, numbers of course are increasing.

But what is only known to a few is the existence of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Human knowledge, tradition and skills also need protection. The convention of the conservation of the intangible cultural heritage was adopted in 2003 and came into force in 2006.

Germany joined the convention in 2013 as we have to offer a huge variety of tradition and skills.

To this day there are 34 elements in the German Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

  1. Malchow Folk Fair
  2. Thatcher’s Craft
  3. The “Rhineland Carnival” in all its local variants
  4. Peter-and-Paul-Festival in Bretten
  5. Swabian-Alemannic Carnival
  6. The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  7. Lime Tree Fair Limmersdorf
  8. The Passion Plays of Oberammergau
  9. Biike Burning
  10. Vogtland Musical Instrument Construction in Markneukirchen and the surrounding area
  11. Saxony Boys’ Choirs
  12. Salt Panners’ Fraternity in the Valley of Halle
  13. Finch Manoeuvre in Harz
  14. Low German Theatre
  15. Social Customs and Festivals of the Lusatian Sorbs over the Course of a Year
  16. Charcoal Burner’s Craft and Tar Distillery
  17. The German Theatre and Orchestra Landscape
  18. Falconry
  19. Singing the Songs of the German Labour Movement
  20. Organ Construction and Organ Music
  21. Modern Dance – Styles and ways of imparting rhythm and free dance movement
  22. Journeymen’s Wanderings on the road
  23. Choir music in German Amateur Choirs
  24. The Idea and Practice of Cooperatives
  25. Timber Rafting
  26. Morse Telegraphy
  27. German Bread Culture
  28. Folk Dance Movement in all its Regional Variations in Germany
  29. Choral Singing
  30. Carolling
  31. Marksmanship in Germany
  32. Honorable Court of Fools in Grosselfingen
  33. Kneippism – traditional knowledge and practice according to Sebastian Kneipp
  34. Manual production of mouth-blown hollow and flat glass

As you can see this is an inventory of cultural traditions in Germany and we are obliged to update this list on a regular basis. The next round of proposals is scheduled for 2017. Civil society organisations, communities and initiatives are contacted for suggestions and assistance to create a nationwide list.
German traditions are versatile, colourful, innovative and members of our society are full of creative ideas and very talented. A good basis to let the inventory grow.

Of course there is a website to get a much deeper insight into the UNESCO nominations for 2016 & 2017 and the selection process for the nationwide inventory:



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