Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage illustrates which living cultural traditions and expressions are practiced and transmitted in Germany. It recognizes creative and diverse cultural expressions and their wealth of traditional knowledge.

There are currently 97 elements inscribed on the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 88 cultural practices and expressions, and 9 examples of good safeguarding practices (Register of Good Safeguarding Practices).

The nationwide inventory continuously develops through a multi-level process by the German Commission for UNESCO and various German state actors. The cultural expressions included in the inventory as well as their bearers exemplify the creativity, dynamics and knowledge of the society in Germany.

It is not about elements of "German heritage" but rather about diverse cultural expressions that are practiced in Germany. On the contrary, it exemplifies lively cultural traditions and forms of expression that are practiced in Germany. The cultural forms included in the list as well as their bearers illustrate the creativity, spirit of innovation and knowledge of our society.

Attention should be given to the safeguarding, continuation and dynamic development of living traditions practiced by groups and communities in Germany today.


Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019

Customs and Festivals Throughout the Year

Social Customs and Festivals of the Lusatian Sorbs over the Course of a Year

The Lusatian Sorbs are an ethnic minority in the eastern part of Germany, consisting of ca. 60,000 people. The Sorbs are distinguished not only by their own language but also by peculiarities in their material and immaterial culture. continue reading


Every year around the 6th of January (Epiphany) children and adolescents all over Germany go from house to house dressed as the Three Magi, singing traditional and new songs and bless people for the new year, while collecting donations for children's aid projects around the world. continue reading

Honorable Court of Fools in Grosselfingen

The Honourable Court of Fools in Grosselfingen (Baden-Württemberg) is a Southern German Carnival tradition maintained over centuries, which takes place in irregular intervals of three to seven years. continue reading

The “Rhineland Carnival” in all its Local Variants

For many people in the Rhineland, the Carnival, as a community-strengthening festival, is an important element of their lives. This festival, which can be traced back to the beginning of the 13th Century, defines itself as a threshold to the pre-Easter fasting period. Since the 15th Century the social order has been symbolically questioned in the form of fools’ masks and costumes. continue reading

Swabian-Alemannic Carnival

The Swabian-Alemannic carnival, known in the vernacular as “Fasnet”, in its multifarious forms, is actively cultivated by wide sections of the population. Every year on the seventh weekend before Easter this is celebrated in numerous communities in Baden-Württemberg and beyond continue reading

Candlemas in Spergau

The “Spergauer Lichtmeß” (Candlemas in Spergau) is celebrated every year on the first Sunday after February 1 in Spergau in Saxony-Anhalt and signifies the expulsion of winter. For every inhabitant of Spergau it is natural to open his or her door while relatives and former citizens of Spergau join in. continue reading

Biike Burning

The so-called “Biikebrennen” is a popular bonfire celebrated by the Frisians by way of which evil spirits are to be driven away and the newly sown seed protected. Every year on February 21st in Schleswig-Holstein on the Islands of Sylt, Amrum and Föhr, on the non-dike protected isles and many parts of the North Friesian mainland more than 60 fire signals, so-called “Biiken”, are lit. continue reading

Heiligenstadt’s Palm Sunday Procession

The Palm Sunday Procession of Heiligenstadt is a religious parade, which takes place annually on Sunday before Easter and moves a determined, traditional way through the town’s streets. In the procession six larger-than-life statues are carried on sticks or frames. continue reading

Saint George Ride and Historical Sword Dance in Traunstein

Every year on Easter Monday, a St. Georgi Ride (“Georgiritt”) and a historical sword dance take place in the Bavarian city of Traunstein. More than 400 festively decorated horses and carriages from the surrounding communities are involved in the horse pilgrimage in honor of St. George. continue reading

The "Pentecostal dance" as the Basis of Communal Development in the Association of Municipalities Mansfelder Grund-Helbra

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

There are many Pentecostal associations, but those in the villages of Ahlsdorf, Blankenheim, Hergisdorf and Kreisfeld in the association of municipalities Mansfelder Grund-Helbra exemplify how a common practice can lead to intensive cooperation on a municipal and cultural level. continue reading

Eisenach's Summer Gain

The „Eisenacher Sommergewinn“ is a spring tradition which prepares for Laetere Sunday with a diverse festival program. Central to it is the victory of summer over winter or of life over death. The tradition can be associated with death expulsion traditions, which spread during the 13th century as reaction to pest epidemics. continue reading

Forst’s Twitthimble-Game

Every year on Laetare Sunday, the Twitthimble Game (“Hanselfingerhut-Spiel”) in Forst in Rhineland-Palatinate is performed a total of six times. It is a folk-play with rude words, which, according to tradition, consists of different parts. The play is performed by six male players. continue reading

Easter-Wheel-Run in Luegde

The Easter-Wheel-Run is a central event for the inhabitants of Luegde – the “City of Easter Wheels”. With the involvement of all generations, the beginning of spring is celebrated. Tradition requires the mastery of a variety of specific techniques that are passed on through active youth work. continue reading

Finch Manoeuvre in Harz

In the form of the Finch manoeuvre in eight communities in the Harz Region of Saxony-Anhalt a traditional spring custom has been preserved that was originally widespread in Central Europe. At finch manoeuvres the singing capability of chaffinches is assessed and rewarded. continue reading

Historical Play “The Master Draught” in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Bavaria), every year during the days of Pentecost, a central event of the town’s history is commemorated that took place during the Thirty Years’ War in 1631. Highlight is the performance of the historical play "The Master Draught" by more than 100 amateur actors, which is performed twelve times a year. continue reading

The Citizens’ Sons’ Parade to Lingen "The Kivelinge" from 1372

Every three years, Lingen hosts a historic market event and a big festival parade in honor of the citizens’ sons. Having its roots in the 14th century, the festival is prepared by hundreds of volunteers. This long-established tradition comprises dynamic and inclusive features. Anyone is welcome, regardless of social or migratory backgrounds. People with limited mobility are offered special services in order to be able to participate as well. continue reading

Wunsiedel’s Fountain Festival

The city of Wunsiedel in Upper Franconia (Bavaria) annually celebrates a fountain festival on the Saturday before Saint John’s Eve. Basis of the festival is a legend, which says that after a drought in the 18th century the people of Wunsiedel decorated their fountains with flowers and arnica wreaths. This revived the fountains. The festival is provable since 1833. Today, on the day of the fountain festival, many visitors admire the 35 decorated fountains of the town. Wandering musicians provide for a musical frame. continue reading

Grand Peace Festival of Augsburg

The Grand Peace Festival of Augsburg has been taking place every year since 1650. Lasting several weeks, the program of events is celebrated inter-religiously and interculturally. In recognition of plurality, the Peace Festival focusses on dialogue in order to settle social conflicts. continue reading

Traditional Funfair of Fuerth ("Kaerwa")

Due to its approximately 900-year-old tradition, the traditional funfair of Fuerth ("Kaerwa") is one of the most important events in the Franconian calendar. Therefore, Franks strongly identify with the numerous customs and rituals associated with the festival. Today's practice also includes a harvest festival procession more than 100,000 visitors participate in. continue reading

The Passion Play of Oberammergau

When the Bavarian village of Oberammergau was afflicted by the Plague in 1633, its inhabitants pledged to perform passion plays every ten years. They have been true to their oath for nearly 400 years now. continue reading

Barrel Hitting

“Tonnenabschlagen” is an old tradition, which is mainly performed in coastal regions of Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania. It is a rallying competition, in which participants ride their horses at a gallop through a course and slash with a wooden stick called “Tonnenknüppel” at a barrel decorated with leaves and colorful ribbons. continue reading

Peter-and-Paul-Festival in Bretten

The Peter-and-Paul-Festival in Bretten (Baden-Württemberg) takes place every year on the weekend following the Church Day of St. Peter-and-St. Paul under the motto "Eine Stadt lebt ihre Geschichte" (A city makes its history come alive). continue reading

Peter-und-Paul-Fest in Bretten

Malchow Folk Fair

The Folk Fair in Malchow, 160 years old, is the oldest homeland festival in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It was the first folk festival that was celebrated independently from the Church as a worldly event and was therefore considered to be a sign of independence. continue reading

Children’s Festival in Barth

Every year, a Children’s Festival takes place in the small town of Barth in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The tradition of the Children’s Festival has been passed on since 1828 and was regularly expanded to meet modern interests and standards. continue reading

Historical Play „The Children’s Feast“ (Kinderzeche) in Dinkelsbühl

The “Kinderzeche” in Dinkelsbühl (Bavaria) is a children's and Heimat festival, which goes back to a school festival organized for the first time in the 16th century. It includes an excursion of the school children outside the city gates to celebrate as well as a historical play, in which a local saga is enacted. continue reading

Lime Tree Fair Limmersdorf

The lime-tree fair of the village of Limmersdorf embodies a centuries-old and originally widespread custom that is today only cultivated in a few places in Upper Franconia (Bavaria) and Thuringia. At the focus of a lime-tree fair stands the often ancient dance lime tree of the municipality in question. continue reading

Historical Documentary Play “Landshut Wedding of 1475“

The re-enactment of the "Landshut Wedding of 1475" takes place every four years within a three-week period and is made of 96 individual events. The festival which was revived in 1903 combines local history with civil society activities. continue reading

Peace Festivals of Sennfeld and Gochsheim

The Peace Festivals in the municipalities of Sennfeld and Gochsheim date back to the regaining of imperial immediacy and the freedom to exercise the Protestant faith in 1649. The festivals take place at the same time as the parish fair. Since the 19th century descriptions of the festival have been passed on, in which singing, making music and preaching are described as main elements of the festival. continue reading

Carriage Rides for Saint Leonhard of Noblac in Bad Tölz

In Bad Tölz (Bavaria) a pilgrimage to St. Leonhard takes place every year: the “Tölzer Leonhardifahrt”. More than 80 splendidly decorated quadrigas participate, pulled exclusively by cold-blood horses. On top sit a wagoner and pilgrims dressed in festive costumes and habits, among them clergy and ministries, councilors of the city council, marching bands, guards and children. continue reading

Miners' Parades and Processions in Saxony

Mining, metallurgy and mining engineering have played an important role for economic and cultural development in Saxony. Related traditions are still alive today and contribute to the identity of their practitioners. Manufacture, maintenance and wearing of a miner’s habit are part of these traditions. continue reading

The Tradition of the "Martensmann"

After the German reunification, the tradition of the "Martensmann"- a symbolic delivery of wine from the Hanseatic city of Lübeck to the Dukes of Mecklenburg in Schwerin - was revived. It constitutes a medieval and modern regional custom of demanding an offering (a so-called "Heischebrauch"). Today it emphasises relations between Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein. continue reading

The Grasedanz

The Grasedanz, in which women play the lead role, is a living tradition in two villages in the Harz region. Local women initiated the festival more than 100 years ago to demonstrate appreciation for their work. Today the Grasedanz is known beyond the region and has an important place in the festival culture. The custom is open, versatile and cross-generational. continue reading

Humanity and Nature


Midwives have fundamental medical, anatomical and obstetrical knowledge, which has been mediated for generations from midwife to midwife. Today, midwives are trained in 1600 theory and 3000 practice lessons at a midwifery school or college. continue reading


UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity

Falconry, also known as hawking, is the art of hunting of wild game in its natural habitat using trained birds of prey. continue reading

Traditional River Fishing at the River Sieg’s Mouth into the Rhine

Since 987, fisher families in Bergheim an der Sieg have fishing rights at the mouth of the river Sieg in the Rhine. Over the centuries, the community of these families became a religiously inspired, guild-like organized association, which is called brotherhood since the late Middle Ages and still has the fishing rights today. continue reading

Turnery - Traditional Technique of Mechanical Material Processing Based on Rotating Workpieces

Turnery craft is a very dynamic and innovative craft. The practice of the traditional craft requires many years of experience, a strong technical understanding as well as fine-motor skills. In Germany, turnery is widely appreciated in professional and private sectors. continue reading

The Tradition of the Shepherd's Run and Shepherd's Trade Market in Markgröningen, Bad Urach and Wildberg

Since the 14th century, the tradition of the shepherd's run and shepherd's trade market is practiced in three cities of today's Baden-Wuerttemberg. In the guise of a playful competition, the tradition contributes to the preservation of specific knowledge only shepherds possess. continue reading

Charcoal Burner's Craft and Tar Distillery

The carbonisation of wood is one of the oldest handicraft techniques known to man. Despite the different processing techniques worldwide, which have developed over several millennia, the actual technical process itself, the thermal transformation of biomass, has remained the same. continue reading

Innercity Horticulture in Bamberg

Inner-city commercial vegetable gardening in Bamberg is accompanied by various social, religious, and corporate traditions of the gardeners. They are expressed e.g. in housing, clothing and language. continue reading

Innerstädtischer Erwerbsgartenbau in Bamberg

German Bread Culture

All over the world, German bread is valued for its unique diversity. The knowledge of raw materials, baking procedures and the awareness of tradition is passed on from generation to generation by the master and journeymen to the apprentice. In the baking craft, centuries-old traditions are united with the latest insights and practices. continue reading

Traditional Milling in Wind or Water Mills

The miller guild aims at preserving the traditional miller craft. Therefore, the guild provides pre- and early industrial mill engineering knowledge and experience. Thus, the miller guild ensures the transfer of specific craftsmanship skills by supporting craftsman training. continue reading

Tree Fields Agriculture and Production of Dried Fruits

Sustainable agricultural activities and traditional production of dried fruits in the Steigerwald is maintained by a small community. Due to their strong commitment, the specific knowledge can be passed on to future generations. The focus is on traditional craftsmanship, knowledge of the cultivation of cultural landscapes and the preservation of traditional and local fruits. continue reading

Kneippism – Traditional Knowledge and Practice According to Sebastian Kneipp

Kneipp naturopathic treatment is a complementary medicine with the goal to preserve and restore human health. It is based upon the principles of regular training and inurement, for example by treading water. The holistic Kneipp therapy aims to achieve harmony between the body, mind and soul. continue reading

Construction Workshops (called “Bauhütten”) – Transmission, Documentation, Preservation and Fostering of Craft Techniques and Knowledge

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

For centuries, construction workshops, mainly related to cathedrals, such as in Ulm, Freiburg or Cologne, safeguard craft techniques, traditional knowledge and customs in connection with the construction and preservation of large-scale buildings. This tradition continues to the present day. continue reading

Raffle of Osing

The “Osingverlosung” is a centuries-old tradition, where every ten years jointly owned fields are redistributed among the farmers of the villages Humprechtsau, Krautostheim, Herbolzheim and Rüdisbronn near Bad Windsheim (Bavaria). The “Osing” is communal agricultural land comprising 264 hectares or 213 field lots of land. continue reading

Traditional Manufacturing of Darss Doors

Darss doors are of great recognition value for villages along the coastline in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. They have become a symbol of local identity. The traditional and regional production of Darss doors is closely linked to the maritime culture of the peninsula of Darss. The craftsmanship enjoys cult status and great popularity. Knowledge has successfully been passed on in the course of six generations. continue reading

Preservation and Use of Maritime Boats called “Zeesboote” in the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

Maritime boats called “Zeesboote” represent a specific type of former fishing boats. The tradition of these boats is kept alive by using them for traditional regattas and recreational sailing. Consequently, much effort is put into their preservation. Therefore, particular knowledge is needed: skills of wooden boat building, expertise with regard to the manufacture of sails, nautical handling of sailing ships and a broad understanding of the relationship between culture and nature. contine reading

Timber Rafting

The craft of rafting involves the transport of wood by waterway from areas rich in woodland to those in which it is scarcer. In the past rafting in Germany played an outstanding role in the meeting of the huge demand for wood in all walks of life within society. continue reading

Thatcher’s Craft

The covering of roofs with reeds is one of the oldest craftsmanship techniques to do with house construction, and had been verifiably practised as early as ca. 4,000 B.C. Originally it had been roofs in rural areas which the builder of the house had constructed using his own means from the tried and tested, regionally available materials reed or straw. continue reading

Weaving Craftsmanship

Weaving describes a process during which materials are connected in a way so they form a structure that is stable in itself. The permanent moving and burdening of fingers requires both strength and sensitivity at once. Without machines, the material is shaped to unique items like wicker furniture, which often finds its place in living spaces. continue reading

Meadow Irrigation in the Queichwiesen Between Landau and Germersheim

The agricultural technique of meadow irrigation is based on the sustainable use of water as a natural resource. Today, committed farmers, associations and foundations pass on knowledge through guided tours and interactive exhibitions. In this way, knowledge of nature conservation, of natural history and of biodiversity remains in existence. continue reading

Planting and Care of Pleached Hedges

Pleached hedges are a cultural-historical practice of field fencing. This artisanal technique used to be widespread and popular in Europe. Working with natural materials, that technique is still of value for active cultural landscape management. Since that cultural form is in line with nature conservation objectives, the traditional craftsmanship has gained new relevance. continue reading

The “Dragon Stab“ of Furth in the Forest

The “Drachenstich” (Dragon Stab) in the Bavarian town of Furth in the Forest is a folk play with a tradition of almost 500 years. It keeps its basic motifs at its core, but has developed in a lively exchange with changing realities of life. The Drachenstich is the highlight of the year for the inhabitants of Furth and its surrounding area. continue reading

Hauberg Management in Siegerland and Adjacent regions

The Hauberg management in Siegerland and in neighboring regions is a locally anchored and sustainable form of forest management. Common forest management has always been subject to constant change and has shaped the cultural landscape of the region. The sponsorship enables thematic tours as well as environmental education at schools, and therefore, impresses with outstanding commitment. continue reading

Indigo Blue Dyeing

UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity

“Blaudruck” (Indigo blue-dyeing in a vat) is a reserve-print-process applied to natural materials such as linen, cotton or silk. It refers to a practice of dyeing fabrics blue with indigo and decorating it using dye-resisting mix preventing colouring at the places of ornaments. continue reading

Hessian Scratching Finery

In the Hessian regions of “Schwalm” and “Hessisches Hinterland”, house landscapes are in many places characterized by historical half-timbered houses, which are decorated with complex truss-renderings. “Hessischer Kratzputz” is a colloquial term for a historical rendering-technique typical in rural construction tradition, which dates back to the 17th century. continue reading

Painting, Setting and Gilding Techniques of Church Painters

Traditional painting, setting and gilding techniques by church painters have provably existed for over 600 years. In their richness of decorative and ornamental surface designs with color and sheet metal, they are indispensable throughout Germany and especially in Bavaria for the development and decoration of churches, castles, town halls, inns, etc. They contribute to an unmistakable appearance of buildings, cities and regions. continue reading

Manual Production of Mouth-Blown Hollow and Flat Glass

The techniques of manual hollow glassware and flat glass production require complex knowledge and a wealth of experience. In Germany there are nearly 500 persons with this implicit knowledge. continue reading

Porcelain Painting

The porcelain painting in Germany looks back on a centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship. The transfer and maintenance of the complex knowledge takes place only in scattered locations. In the 18th century three of Germany's most important manufactories were founded. continue reading

Bobbin-Lace Making in the Upper Palatine Forest

In the Upper Palatinate Forest, “Spitzenklöppeln” (bobbin lace-making) has been a practice passed down from generation to generation since the 19th century, which until today is an essential part of the local identity. When making bobbin lace, threads wrapped around lathed sticks called “lace bobbins” are interwoven by systematic crossing and twisting. An important aid is provided by pins which the threads are knotted around. continue reading

Pottery Tradition of Westerwald’s Stoneware in Höhr-Grenzhausen and Breitscheid

Ever since people have the knowledge of how hard-burnt figures or vessels can be made from soft clay, they have left evidence of their cultures. Today ceramic finds provide important insights into social, cultural and art history of mankind. continue reading

Artistic Printing Techniques of Relief, Gravure, Planographic, Pressure Printing and Their Mixed Forms

In Germany and Europe, traditional artistic printing techniques are mainly maintained by visual artists today. Printed texts and images have been part of European culture and knowledge societies for more than 500 years. continue reading

Vogtland Musical Instrument Construction in Markneukirchen and the Surrounding Area

In the so-called “musical corner” of the Vogtland Region, musical instruments have been constructed over a period of ca. 350 years in a concentration and variety that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. continue reading

Preparation and Application of Traditional Lime Mortar

Knowledge about the use and production of lime mortar has been passed on for generations by working together. The building material lime mortar has long been used for many different purposes, e.g. for plastering and grouting, as basis for mosaics and as carrier for lime paintings or decorative wall coatings. Depending on the various fields of application, different mixtures of lime mortar exist. continue reading

Allgäu’s High Alpine Agriculture in Bad Hindelang

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

Alps (Alemannic, Old-Bavarian: “Almen”) are summer pastures in the mountains, with which mountain farmers extend the fodder base of the valley. The cattle grazes until mid-September in different altitudes and is gradually moved downhill from higher positions. The herds follow the development of the vegetation in the course of the year. At the end of the summer grazing the cattle is moved back to the valley, where it is separated and returned to the respective owners. continue reading

Manufactory Production and Design of Jewellery

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

Manufactory production techniques such as guilloching, stamping/pressing or sand casting are characteristic for the production of art nouveau jewellery. These dominated the European jewellery industry from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The project "Manufactory production and design of jewellery" tackles these threats to the viability of the cultural knowledge and skills with the goal of preserving and passing on the unique production techniques and the related knowledge gained in many years of experience. continue reading

Craft Beer Brewing

The traditional craft of brewing beer is very adaptable. Newly founded breweries rely on old traditions and use it to develop new recipes. Above all, the regional roots of brewing lead to close ties between people, which are further strengthened by communal rituals such as festivals, regulars' tables and clubs. continue reading

South German Nomadic Sheep Farming and Herding

Since centuries, nomadic and herding sheep farming is practiced in southern Germany. The custom still plays a decisive role in the preservation of the natural and cultural landscapes today. The relevant knowledge and skills are communicated through professional training and further education. continue reading

Cemetery Culture in Germany

Cemetery culture in Germany refers to the design of cemeteries, burial practices and mourning and commemoration rituals. Associated craft techniques and customs preserve this cultural form and ensure the maintenance of the cemeteries. As places of commemorative culture that are in harmony with nature, cemeteries today are also testimony to a pluralistic society. continue reading

Music and (Body) Language

Theatres and Orchestras in Germany and Their Socio-Cultural spaces

In Germany there are more than 100 theatres and symphony orchestras. The German theatrical and orchestral scene is characterised by an extraordinary diversity of artistic forms of expression consisting of: acting, puppet theatre, opera, operetta, musical, dance, concerts and performing events of different kinds. continue reading

Choral Singing

Choral singing as a special form of choir music that has its origins in the early Middle ages. From 1520 onwards, with the Reformation in the protestant church communities and the resulting emancipation of the communities, choral singing spread widely in Germany: no longer was singing restricted to priests, instead the parishioners sang in their native German tongue, understandable to everyone. Popular 'street melodies' found their way into new compositions, contributing greatly to a distinct popularisation of choral melodies and texts. continue reading

Choir Music in German Amateur Choirs

Amateur choirs form the core of the musical tradition, musical life and the cultivation of music in Germany. People from all classes of society of all groups and of different nationalities find themselves in numerous choral societies with differing musical emphases. continue reading

Non-Professional Instrumental Music-Making

Instrumental music played by amateur musicians in Germany is known for its diversity and range. It influences all societal sectors and shapes and sustains Germany’s cultural identity. In Germany today, approximately nine million people play an instrument in their leisure time. The spectrum ranges from A like accordion to Z like zither. continue reading

Low German Theater

The Low German Theatre is the main pillar of Low German culture. Its peculiar character results from the combination of theatre and the local dialect: Low German exists primarily as a spoken language and is restricted to usage in social units such as families, friends, neighbourhoods and colleagues. continue reading

Poetry-Slam in German-Speaking Regions

Everyone can take part in a Poetry Slam. The only exception are championships, where competitors must be approved by a qualification procedure. In a fixed time limit, self-written texts of any text form, such as poems, spoken word texts, stories or rap lyrics, may be recited. continue reading

Saxon Boy’s Choirs

In many parts of Germany and also beyond, there are boys’ choirs with a long tradition and of outstanding quality. From as long ago as the 13th Century three boys’ choirs have existed in Saxony: the Thomanerchor of St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, the “Kreuzchor” of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden and the “Dresdner Kapellknaben” of the Cathedral (former court chapel) in Dresden. continue reading

Non-Professional Music-Making in Baden-Württemberg

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

Baden-Württemberg has a very high density of music associations where amateur music, both instrumental and vocal, is made by about one million people. They are members of about 6,500 amateur music association with about 12,500 ensembles. Making music in associations has an already very long tradition in Baden-Württemberg, dating back to the 17th century. Until today, they continue to enjoy unbroken appreciation, also in an almost limitless, individualized and globalized world with diverse possibilities of cultural or artistic activity. continue reading

Trombone Choirs

A "Trombone Choir" is a multi-voice amateur brass ensemble, in which all instruments of the brass family can be found. Musically trombone choirs differ from other brass ensembles by the variable cast and their focus in the care of spiritual songs. Trombone choirs are the trademark of the Protestant church - Nevertheless, a cross-confessional participation is possible. continue reading

Regional Diversity of Dialect Theatre in Germany

Dialect theater and oral folk theater is practiced by several thousand amateur stages, more than a thousand of which are organized in associations. This includes children's and youth theater departments. The repertoire of the folk theaters ranges from passion plays across idealizing, popular farces, drolleries and rural Heimat plays to critical analyses of humans’ history and everyday life. continue reading

Morse Telegraphy

In the mid-1830s, Samuel F. B. Morse initiated in the form of the development of the Morse telegraphy the age of electrical communications. By means of shorter and longer signalising elements messages could be sent as so-called Morse signals without materials, at first only wire-bound and then, from the end of the 19th Century, without wires via radio waves, the whole world over. continue reading

Organ Construction and Organ Music

UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The nurture of organ culture in Germany is particularly rich and lively. Moreover, it is characterised by a high degree of artistic capability. In the field of organ construction knowledge of dealing with nature, traditional handicraft and innovative technology have always gone hand in hand. continue reading

Telling Fairy Tales

When telling fairy tales, stories are told freely in front of an audience. In addition to heroic and magic tales, this includes farces, animal fairy tales, etiological narratives, mythological substances and mixed forms. Telling fairy tales is an art that is aimed at all levels of education, age and population. Since all cultures have oral narrative forms, a fairy tale’s material and narration are suitable for intercultural cooperation and understanding. continue reading

Modern Dance - Styles and Ways of Imparting Rhythm and Free Dance Movement

The styles and ways of imparting rhythm and free dance movement, known collectively as “Modern Dance”, originated at the beginning of the 20th Century in the German-speaking world. continue reading

Two-Rhythm Dance

The “Zwiefacher” is a traditionally Bavarian-Bohemian musical genre that encompasses music, dance and singing. Its characteristic is the irregular alternation between three-quarter-time (waltz) and two-quarter-time (turn). The oldest Bavarian source of a “Zwiefacher” is a music handbook from 1740 and the earliest printed proof of a “Zwiefacher” is a publication from 1825. continue reading

Folk Dance Movement in all its Regional Variations in Germany

The folk dance movement is characterised by many different manifestations, historically deriving from the diverse states, which made and make up Germany. Traditional regional music, the social environment and local customs characterise the respective forms and practices. The dances were passed on over many centuries orally and by physical imitation. continue reading

Revitalisation of Playing the Diatonic Accordion in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

The diatonic accordion originated at the beginning of the 19th century in the German-speaking world. It spread first into neighbouring countries and later also worldwide. Today the instrument is played mainly abroad. In Germany it almost disappeared and is now once again increasingly shaping the local awareness of younger generations. continue reading

Revitalisation of Synagogal Choral Music of the 19th and 20th Centuries in Central and Eastern Europe 

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

The synagogal choral music originated at the beginning of the 19th century. It disappeared during the National Socialist period due to the Holocaust and the destruction of many synagogues. Today, the musical tradition is being revived by a number of choirs that rehearse and develop the composers' repertoire and perform it in concerts or festivals. continue reading

Use and Transmission of Braille in Germany

Braille and its application are the foundation for the educational opportunities of blind people and their professional and social participation. This lively cultural form is constantly adapting to new developments and technologies. Braille is passed on in schools, rehabilitation facilities, associations and clubs. continue reading

Community Life

The Idea and Practice of Cooperatives

UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Cooperatives are community-based associations whose members work together on a voluntary basis for the benefit of all. It needs at least three people to found a cooperative. The purpose defined in the cooperatives' statutes may serve social, cultural and economic interests. continue reading

Chess Tradition in Ströbeck

Chess is a centuries-old cultural tradition, which is lively practiced and also has been found in arts, literature, philosophy and science. The Chess Village Ströbeck in the city of Halberstadt (Saxony-Anhalt) is dedicated to this tradition in a unique way and with diverse characteristics: According to a legend, Ströbeckers play chess since 1011. continue reading

East Frisian Tea Culture

For about 300 years, Eastern Friesland (Lower Saxony) has been a tea drinking region and to this day the tea culture is an East Frisian cultural practice. A distinct East Frisian tea culture has developed, visible e.g. in the East Frisian tea ceremony, a ritualized way to drink tea. continue reading

Heligoland‘s Steamboat Service

Ever since one can remember, the maritime tradition of Heligoland’s steamboat service has been passed on from generation to generation. Little boats carry passengers of the ocean-going vessels at anchor from board and aboard. They have shaped the typical appearance of the island Heligoland and are especially beneficial to the elderly and people with physical disabilities. continue reading

The Upper Palatinate Culture of Zoiglbeer

Ever since the 15th century, the Upper Palatinate culture of Zoiglbeer comprises the idea of collective brewing and enjoyment of Zoiglbeer. Zoiglbeer is a special kind of beer coming from the South of Germany and its consumption goes hand in hand with a variety of rituals and traditions. continue reading

Playing Skat

Skat is a card game, which is played competitively or as leisure activity across societal, gender and generation groups. A Skat game requires three players. It is both a strategy and entertainment game, which requires mathematical and logical but also imaginative skills to plan moves, relate cards to each other, and calculate game results. continue reading

Singing the Songs of the German Labour Movement

In the context of actions of the labour movement, typical songs have been sung since the 19th Century. The singing of these songs is on the one hand an expression of the discrimination and suppression of those dependent upon their wages and on the other of their resistance and confidence in the future. continue reading

Marksmanship in Germany

In many regions, marksmanship is an important and vibrant part of the regional or local identity. It incorporates many customs and traditions, which manifest themselves in different ways. In the course of their history, marksmen’s associations have repeatedly reacted to changes in the underlying social conditions and become greatly differentiated. continue reading

Journeymen's Wanderings on the Road

The wanderings of the journeyman or the journeywoman is a tradition followed by the professions of the main construction trade and others of taking to the road after the successful completion of one’s apprenticeship and to spend several years in other regions, learning new skills and gaining new insights in the process. continue reading

Dealing with the Pied Piper of Hameln

The story of the Pied Piper of Hameln is one of the most well-known German folk tales. The form of the story that is known today, with the linking of the departure of the children from Hameln with the motif of the Pied Piper originated in the 16th Century. continue reading

Salt Panners’ Fraternity in the Valley of Halle

The salt-panners’ fraternity in the valley of Halle can look back on a tradition of salt boiling that is more than 1,000 years old. Since 1491 the salt panners have verifiably been organised in their own fraternity, the members of which are known as “Halloren”. continue reading

Honorary Land Surveying in Bavaria

Field juries (“Feldgeschworene” or “Siebener”) establish and protect land and property boundaries for hundreds of years already. The expression “Siebener” emerged because usually there are seven officials responsible for a municipality. Due to the odd number, an unambiguous decision can always be made. continue reading

Research and Documentation of Cadastral Sections’ and House Names in Bavaria

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

Names belong to the oldest linguistic and cultural heritage. They have been shaped many generations ago to characterize and distinguish between people and places. Until the 18th century, names for cadastral sections and houses were formed by the population through natural use and are thus direct expression of their interest in these geographic places. They are unique witnesses to the past that, on closer inspection, reveal a wealth of information on natural conditions, ownership, use or legal forms at the time of naming. continue reading

Preservation and Fostering of the Culture, Diversity and Quality of Regional Specialties in Upper Franconia

Project on the National Register for Good Safeguarding Practices

Upper Franconia offers a multitude of culinary specialties, frequently relating to carefully preserved customs and their creative further development. The culinary identity is not only a part of history, but also to this day a part of the identity of the people. The knowledge of the creation, preparation, recipes, customs and interrelationships of different customs in regard to these specialties has been transmitted for centuries from generation to generation. continue reading

Age Comrades' Festivities in Schwaebisch Gmuend

Ever since 1863, “age comrades” meet in Schwäbisch Gmünd to engage in social activities and festivities. Age comrades are those born in the same year. This event offers a great opportunity to get to know each other and to be part of the region’s culture. continue reading

Cultural Forms of Communal Forest Management in the Steigerwald and Neighbouring Regions

The communal forests in the Steigerwald and the neighbouring regions are commons, which are managed according to long-established rules and practices with the help of traditional skills. continue reading