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.


Bonaken is a game of cards that is played in pubs, at the bar. The purpose of the game is to determine a loser, who subsequently has to buy a round. Bonaken is played with 32 cards out of a deck: 2 to 6 and the joker are not used. The number of players can range from two to maximum seven per game. This also increases or decreases the number of cards that is given to each player and of the cards that are out of play (sleeping). The further rules differ per region of the country, or sometimes per place. For a long time the rules were passed on during the game, from player to player, from old to young, while playing at the bar. The fact that in this game cards sleep and lay blind (upside-down on the table), in combination with the deliberations of the players in order to bid, to take tricks, to play safely or not, makes the progression of the game unpredictable: a game can end very quickly or take half an hour. There is much laughter, because the game regularly takes a different course from what everyone thinks. This causes amusement and connection between the players and is therefore also a pleasure to watch. At the same time it is not easy to learn the game. Players must learn it in practice, even if they have studied the rules online. In the province of Overijssel bonaken is known as kleintje klaverjassen, meaning that it a ‘smaller version’ of another card game, klaverjassen, which takes a lot longer. Bonaken is often played after a game of klaverjassen.



The average bonaker in the Netherlands is a man of around fifty years old, who drinks and smokes, with quite some overweight, but first of all: a joiner. Next to these pub players and the approximately hundred and forty participants of the Dutch Championship (from five provinces), there is a group of volunteers from Leimuiden active, who organise the tournament on behalf of the Stichting Bonaken Nederland (Dutch Bonaken Foundation).



In any case, bonaken has been played for a hundred years already in Leimuiden. The eldest regulars at Café Keijzer are over eighty and learnt to play at the bar as boys. Presumably, the game started when farmworkers playing for beans (bean = boon) on the fields. It is certain that the game spread over large parts of the country. While playing at the bar, the unwritten rules of the game were traditionally passed on from the elder to the younger players, mostly boys and men. When in the year 2000, at the 150th anniversary of Café Keijzer in Leimuiden, the idea came up to organise a Dutch Championship Bonaken, the local game rules were written down and ever since have been used as the rules for the Championship by the Dutch Bonaken Foundation, and made visible through the website. The game rules are a ‘living process’, meaning that if from another region a game rule pops up that enriches the game, this rule is adopted for the Championship. The competition system in which traditionally a loser was determined who had to give a round, has been adapted for the Championship. Not the loser, but the best bonaker of the day wins the tournament.



Stichting Bonaken Nederland
Dorpsstraat 30
zuid holland