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.


The Medemblik Harness Races take place on the third Monday of September and consist of two elements: ring tilting and short track harness racing. The ring tilting tradition means that one tries to push a lance through a ring from a harnessing (a coach with at least two persons in it, pulled by at least one horse, with a maximum of four horses). There are cash prizes and honour prizes to be won. The short track harness racing is part of the harness racing sport. The horses with drivers in sulkies (two-wheeled carts) rage through the Nieuwstraat. The short track is a knockout-race: the first one who wins two rides, goes on to the next round. Honour and cash prizes are made available. The length of the track is 82 yards and it is a special one for several reasons: it is decorated with flags and lamps, there is a triumphal arch at the start, decorated with flowers, the horses start on top of a slope and there is a slight turn in the course. A vet and a farrier are present during the whole day, to guarantee the well-being of the horses. Moreover the organisation meets the strict regulations of the Dutch Horse and Harness Racing. The prize ceremony of the short track by the chairman of the Association and the mayor, takes place around 7.30 PM in ‘Het Wapen van Medemblik’. Next to the ring tilting and the short track harness racing, there is a fair for the children, a children’s  pool for all primary schools in Medemblik, a fishing competition on Sunday and finally the fireworks on Monday.



The Medemblik Harness Racing is widely supported in town: inhabitants, schools, 1300 members of the Harddraverijvereniging Prins Hendrik (Harness Racing Association Prince Henry), entrepreneurs and the municipality are involved. The mayor is the protector. Entrepreneurs take care of financial support. The practitioners of ring tilting mainly come from the vicinity of Medemblik, the practitioners of short track harness racing are drivers from all over the country. The Dutch Horse and Harness Racing fulfils the role of the organisation around the races, breeding, disciplinary proceedings and financial management. The Harness Racing attracts five to seven thousand visitors from Medemblik and surrounding area.



The short track harness races once begun as mutual competitions and bets between farmers and other horse owners. From a newspaper article it appears that the harness racing in Medemblik did in any case take place in 1844 and that the initiator was coffee house manager Sip Lim de Vries. In 1852 the tenth anniversary was celebrated and this was further developed. The town took over the organisation and this remained the case up to 1885, when the forerunner of the Harness Racing Association Prince Henry took over. In the second half of the nineteenth century the switch was made from ridden horse racing to harnessed horse racing. In 1936 a sound-truck was used for music for the first time and as of the sixties the public was informed about the race through a sound system. The ring tilting has been a fixed element of the Medemblik Harness Racing since 1967. Whereas in the past the Harness Racing was financed by a lottery, in which one could win a horse, among other things, as of 1919 entrance fees have been charged and from the fifties sponsors have been attracted to finance the Harness Racing.



Harddraverijvereniging Prins Hendrik
Graaf Florislaan 18