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.


Limburg syrup is boiled in copper kettles, on an open wood or gas fire. Ingredients are standard apple and pear cultivars, preferably unsprayed. The bottom of the kettle is covered with a small amount of water to prevent the fruit from burning. The kettle is filled with layers of pears and apples up to 2000 pounds or even more. Subsequently the fruit is covered with a cloth of natural material, like untreated jute or thick cotton. The steam in the kettle alters the structure of the fruit and the skins burst open in four to six hours. During this process the syrup maker must continually check the fire and adjust if necessary. The pulp that is created by the boiling process is put in a wooden press, with cloths in between. The pressed juice is roughly filtered and once more boiled in the copper kettle. It is reduced during a couple of hours, varying from four to fifteen, to about fifteen percent of the original weight. When the syrup has reached the right level of thickness, the syrup maker puts it in pots immediately. By post-ripening the syrup in the pot will get a more intense taste.



There are still four syrup makers in southern Limburg, joint in the Slow Food Presidium Limburgse Stroop. They cooperate with other organisations, endeavouring for more standard orchards, the safeguarding of old fruit tree cultivars and the associated cultural landscape. The syrup makers generally sell their syrup directly to private persons.



As of the sixteenth century syrup making has been done as home industry in the south and the centre of Limburg. Farmers conserved their excess fruit in this way, for the winter period. Contract syrup making companies came up in many villages as a result of population growth in the eighteenth century. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century Napoleon stimulated the cultivation of sugar beets in the Netherlands. From that moment on these were used to make the syrup instead of or as an addition to pure fruit. At the end of the nineteenth century large-scale syrup factories were built because of the increased demand. This had a negative influence on the small-scale traditional syrup making. Due to the increased urbanisation and industrialisation and by the introduction of the dwarf tree, facilitating the picking process, many old standard fruit trees disappeared. These factors have also had a major influence on the traditional way of syrup making. As of the end of the twentieth century more attention has been paid to this typically southern Limburg craft. The remaining syrup makers have united in the Slow Food Presidium Limburgse Stroop and planted more standard orchards as part of the landscape management. The demand for tradition southern Limburg syrup has recently increased.



Slow Food Presidium Limburgse Stroop
Maria Wijngaard 12