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.


Each year, on the second Saturday after Easter, a pine tree is planted in the South Limburgian village of Noorbeek, in honour of Saint Brigid. With lots of ceremony the Jonkheid (unmarried men) of Noorbeek put the large pine tree in front of the chapel of Saint Brigid in Noorbeek. On Easter Monday a lottery determines who may take the old tree away. A parade of some thirty draft horses pull a traditional empty pine tree wagon to fetch the new pine. The pastor and the mayor are the first ones to handle the axe. On the way back to Noorbeek a halt is made at every bar in the hamlets of Schilberg and Hoogcruts and in the village of Noorbeek. In the hamlet of Hoogcruts the horses are once again decorated with roses made of crepe paper and with garlands. Married men take over after arrival at the chapel. They take the tree from the wagon and erect it. Between 11 and 12 PM the work is usually finished and then the feast begins. The whole festivity attracts around eight hundred to a thousand visitors a year.



Almost all the inhabitants of Noorbeek are in one way or another involved in the Saint Brigid pine fetching. There is regional and cross-border involvement. The pastor of the parish Saint Brigid Noorbeek naturally plays a major role, but the Jonkheid is the driving force behind this tradition.



The history of the pine fetching dates back to 1634. In that year the cattle plague raged in the region of Noorbeek. The believers of Noorbeek directed their prayers to the Holy Brigid, the patron saint of cattle. They promised the saint that if she would make the plague disappear, a pine tree would be planted in front of the Saint Brigid Chapel every year, in her honour. The prayers were answered and the plague vanished. Since that moment a pine tree has been planted at the chapel, every year. In 2015 the 381st pine was fetched. Pine fetching has always been important for the social cohesion in Noorbeek. A large part of the village is actively involved. From the fifties of the twentieth century a so-called youth pine is taken to Noorbeek as well every year. That is a smaller version of the huge Brigida pine and it is annually fetched by the highest class of the primary school, in cooperation with the Jonkheid. The smaller youth pine tree wagon is not pulled by horses, but by the schoolboys. The pine tree is erected by the Jonkheid in front of the pavilion (community centre), with stiepen (metal support poles).



Jonkheid Sancta Brigida te Noorbeek
Brigidastraat 22
6255 AW