The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, the Feast of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights. The exact dates of Hanukkah depend on the Hebrew Calendar, but it is always during the dark winter period of the year. The first day of the holiday, that lasts eight days, begins after sunset of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which is end of November, beginning of December. At this celebration the (olive) oil lamps in the hanukiah, the candelabrum with 8 + 1 branches, are lit with songs, with blessings said, with eating delicacies, connected with Hanukkah, and playing with the dreidel, a little spinning top with Hebrew letters on the sides. This refers to the Syrian occupation: students retreated into a cave, because their theological study was forbidden by the occupant. If they were threatened to be caught, the dreidel was used to suggest that they were merely playing an innocent game.



Jewish parishes are to be found all over the country. They often manage a synagogue and have their own rabbi. The public Hanukkah celebration is organised by the Stichting Chabad-Lubavitch Utrecht (Chabad Lubavitch Association Utrecht). This is a growing network of Jewish inhabitants of the province of Utrecht. Meetings, feasts and cultural gatherings are organised. Chabad also focuses on social work. Chabad-Utrecht organises lessons and courses as well, with themes like the Thorah, the Jewish culture and the Hebrew language.



The origin of the Hanukkah celebration is the (re)consecration of the Temple of Jerusalem, in the year 164  before Christ. The reigning Greeks desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by offering a pig on the altar, which invoked much resistance. Jerusalem was reconquered and it appeared that the Greeks had destroyed everything in the temple. Idols had to be removed and the menorah (candelabrum) put in place, and lit. However, there was only one small jar of pure oil, just enough for one day. The menorah was lit and the Temple was re-consecrated. The miracle is that the menorah was full again, every morning, for a full eight days, until new oil had been pressed and purified. From this moment on Hanukkah has been celebrated every year. Originally, the Hanukkah celebration was something for at home, with the family, but presently there are public celebrations, where the lights in the hanukiah are solemnly lit amid great public attention. This makes Hanukkah also the festival of freedom of religion and tolerance. Now that freedom of religion is getting widespread, and has been enshrined in the Dutch constitution, the possibilities for public Hanukkah celebrations are widened. Jewish families place the hanukiah visibly on the window sill or even in the garden.



Chanoeka Utrecht