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 Cow Market is an annual fair and a proper popular feast that is celebrated throughout the inner town of Woerden at the Wednesday after October 20th. Town residents, people from the region and former inhabitants come to join in. With the Cow Market the ‘harvest’ of the cows is celebrated. At the same time it marks the moment that the cows go back to the stable for the winter period. During the fair, various activities take place and the visitors enjoy culinary delicacies like snert (pea soup), poffertjes (fried dough-balls with butter and sugar) and kristaljons (special currant rolls, only made in Woerden). During the night prior to the Cow Market, the inner town is the scene of the Night of Woerden. People first watch the international cycling field tour. Then they turn back to the town centre to party. There are DJs, and various bands and artists give their performances. The following morning, at 5 AM, the cows are brought to the Church Square. In the tent on the Church Square they are washed and prepared for the shows. One of the elements consists of the traditional handjeklap (a way of trading cows by clapping each other’s hand). This is a playful way to explain to children how trading was done at fairs. From 8 AM there is a (goods) market. The rest of the day is left for various shows, there is a prize for the most beautiful cow, children can get acquainted with farm life and, of course, there is a fun-fair too. The Cow Market ends as it started: with eating snert and gathering in the bars. School children and many employees of companies in Woerden traditionally have time off during the Cow Market.



The Cow Market is organised by the municipality of Woerden. The tradition is borne by the inhabitants of Woerden. This happens in cooperation with, among others, the Woerden Agricultural Centre and the business association of the town. Former inhabitants return to Woerden; the Cow Market is also a reunion.



The Woerden Cow Market was introduced in 1410. In that year the duke Jan van Beieren granted the privilege to hold a free annual fair for horses and cattle. At the time, the fairs were held at varying days. Over time more and more side-activities were added: a fun-fair, musicians, street vendors and stunt workers. Although the dates changed in the course of time, up to 1935 two separate fairs were held: the horse market took place on the Monday after October 18th and the cattle market on the Wednesday after October 20th. Since then, the date for the cattle market has remained. The animals that can be found at the fair momentarily, have a mainly symbolic function, just like the trade that is still taking place. Consuming snert and poffertjes are traditions that have sustained in the middle of the modern entertainment. Since the beginning of the nineties of the last century, the Night of Woerden has become an important element of the tradition. Since the beginning of the year 2000 the International Field Tour (Kiremko cycling tour) has been taking place during the Night of Woerden.



Woerden Marketing
Emmakade 6a