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.


A boermarke is by its origin a management organisation, in which the ‘neighbours’ are jointly responsible for commonly owned land. The boermarke does not have its initial power anymore. The emphasis has shifted to the care for the quality of life within the area. Examples are the maintenance of shelterbelts and groves, meadow bird management and biotope improvement. A boermarke consists of a number of waardeel (share) holders, from whom a board is chosen. The board members receive the title of volmacht (proxy). Income is generated by the rental of common hunting grounds. The boermarkes can be locally active in many fields. Once a year the board gives an account to the members during an annual general meeting.



All members of the 87 local boermarkes are directly involved in this tradition. Other inhabitants of the province of Drenthe are indirectly involved. Site-managing and nature organisations, municipality and province are in direct contact with the boermarkes. Agricultural associations, nature lovers, tourists and hunters associations profit from their existence. The Vereniging Drentse Boermarken (Drenthe Boermarkes Association) endeavours to safeguard the tradition, in accordance with the changes in society. Many of the boermarke members take their children to the boermarke activities. In this way the necessary knowledge is passed on to the next generation.



The earliest reference to boermarkes dates back to around the end of the fourteenth century. To create some order in the chaos for themselves, the local population that lived off a certain area, started to determine fixed borders (markes) and define measures. Because the neighbours were mostly farmers, the name buur (neighbour) marke was changed into boer (farmer) marke. A waardeel that was given to the owners of a farm with a private yard, was bound to the farmhouse. If the farmhouse was sold, the waardeel thus went to the next owner. Inheritance and purchase varieties caused more and more differences in shareholding. Now there were large landowners too, which caused differences in the balance of power. The board members were generally chosen from this group. If there were things to do in cooperation in the village, the boerhoorn (a horn) was blown. Absentees were fined. Until around 1795 the boermarke had the power in the countryside. At that point the central government forced the boermarkes to waive their shared property. The land reparcelling after World War II has damaged the boermarke to a greater extent than this war itself. Although much has changed over the years, the core value has remained: the togetherness. Not long ago, when parts of the north of the Netherlands were cut off from the outside world by heavy snow storms, in many of the villages of Drenthe the boerhoorn was blown, according to the old tradition, and the population was called to jointly clear the snow.



Vereniging Drentse Boermarken
Drentse Statenlaan 3