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 131 elements inscribed on the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 117 cultural practices and expressions, and 14 examples of good safeguarding practices (National 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, spirit of innovation, dynamics and knowledge of the society in Germany. It is not about elements of "German heritage" but it rather exemplifies lively cultural traditions and forms of diverse cultural expressions that are practiced in Germany.

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


Music and Performing Arts

The variety of dance, theater, music, (body) language and similar practices as bearers of intangible heritage promotes awareness of human creativity and cultural diversity. These practices adapt to society's development and include improvisation and artistic creativity. Furthermore, they contribute to the appreciation of the importance of intangible cultural heritage.

Customs and Festive Events Throughout the Year

In many cases, customs, rituals and festivals are celebrated on fixed dates or seasons. They bring people together and are based on civil society initatives. Furthermore, they promote feelings of identity and continuity. They adapt to society's changes and continously evolve.

Humanity and Nature

Intangible heritage includes as well knowledge and customs concerning nature and the universe. They include diverse aspects of ecological, economical and social sustainability such as dealing with environmental awareness and animal ethics. This especially concerns the relationship between humanity and nature, which is why the communities constantly evolve their cultural heritage.

Traditional Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship and handicraft are diverse and based on long traditions. Its bearers pass on their knowledge to the younger generations through theory and practice. They contribute to cultural diversity and human creativity. The use of crafts usually depends on tools and material ressources. In doing so, they continously evolve the material cultural heritage of their community as well.

Transmission and Traditions in Community Life

Intangible heritage strengthens the social cohesion by bringing together people who self organise and participate together in intangible practices. They are expressions of human creativity and cultural diversity and impart a sense of identity. The communities continously evolve their practices by interacting with their history and environment

Projects of Good Safeguarding Practices

The National Register of Good Safeguarding Practices shows succesful and innovative programs and projects, that especially comply with the foundations and goals of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The register promotes sustainable practices that safeguard, develop and evolve intangible heritage. The model programs and projects are examples of effective safeguarding measures of intangible cultural heritage and are intended to stimulate others.