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.


Every year, on the first Monday of September, the horse market takes place in Elst. Large numbers of horses are brought in for sale. The trade still happens in the traditional way: the horse is well-examined and watched, meaning that one makes the animal walk and trot, so that the movements of the horse can be judged. And then the game of bargaining begins, until one agrees on the price and the sale is sealed with a slap in the hand. Payment is done cash most of the time and the new owner takes the horse away immediately. The market has yet another important economic significance. The recreational function of the Elst Horse Market cannot be underestimated. In Elst, it is the day on which the family is visited, but visits to the associated autumn fair, the goods market and the local bars and restaurants are of more than equal importance. In recent years the event is visited by at least 40,000 people. At home the people from Elst treat their family and visitors to the Elster mik, a traditionally baked loaf of bread, richly filled with fruits, which belongs to the horse market feeling.



The organisation of the horse market is done by the Stichting Paardenmarkt Elst (Elst Horse Market Foundation), established in 2010. The board of this foundation closely cooperates with the municipality of Overbetuwe. The residents of Elst and surrounding area look forward to the market and the ones who left, consider their visit a reunion. And then, of course, there are the tourists, who experience the market as a fascinating spectacle. The many horse traders and owners are also directly involved.



From a document that dates from 1260, it appears that there was already a horse market in Elst. The references of the following years in the archives show that the Elst Horse Market has probably been held continuously, until today. We also find many clues in the archives that point out that the fair and the stalls market have been inextricably linked to the horse market since the Middle Ages. Many foreign horse and pony breeds are traded on the market. The foreign buyers come from all over Europe, but particularly from Italy, France and Belgium. In 2010 the 750th anniversary of the market was festively celebrated. In the meantime its principle, to bring together buyers and sellers of horses with their merchandise in order to trade on the spot, has remained the same.



Stichting Paardenmarkt Elst
Rijksweg Noord 117
6661 KE
Elst (Gld)