Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Choir Music in German Amateur Choirs

Amateur choirs form the core of the musical tradition, musical life and the cultivation of music in Germany.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: all seasons - especially during Christmas time
Inscription: 2014
Domains: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts
Where to find: nationawide (also abroad)


Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Chorverbände e.V.
Prof. Dr. Hans Jaskulsky (President) / Niklas Dörr (Secretary General)

People from all classes of society of all groups and of different nationalities find themselves in numerous choral societies with differing musical emphases.

As the original form of artistic expression, singing mobilises the vitality of the human being and has the effect of establishing an identity.

Firmly connected with the amateur choirs is the cultivation of a wide repertoire of choral music. The origin of the amateur choirs goes back ca. one thousand years and is to be found in a religious environment. In the late 18th and in the 19th Century, the lay choirs then formed the main focal point of the bourgeois cultivation of music. Through being disentangled from the feudal environment they made an important contribution to the democracy movement in Germany.

The lay choirs of today form the basis of music’s audiences, are the breeding ground for future generations and stage performances of all kinds. At least 60,000 choirs are currently registered with the Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Chorverbände (Federal German Choirs’ Association), which organise more than 300,000 concerts annually for an audience of ca. 60 million listeners.

They stand for a diversity in the world of the choir that is unpatrolled and has global contacts.


Bundesweites Verzeichnis Immaterielles Kulturerbe - Jubiläumsausgabe.
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2023