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 Horse Market in Vianen is part of the many festivities that are organised on and around the Wednesday prior to the second Thursday of October each year. The day before the Horse Market a big lantern procession is held, accompanied by showbands and ending at the fair, which lasts till Saturday night.  On the very day of the Horse Market there is a big goods market with a crafts fair and market vendor competitions. During the morning programme the horse inspections take place, while the jury judges the horses presented and awards prizes. From the prize winners of every category the Champion of the Day is finally chosen. The owner receives a Bronze Horse as a challenge trophy from the jury and Silver Spurs from the municipality. A horse show closes the morning programme. In the afternoon ring tilting games are held, in which the participants are dressed after the theme of the year. The ring tilting is followed by traditional games like pole climbing and koekslaan (cookie beating) and yet another horse show. For the children there is a Children’s Square with a mini-ring tilting setup, various games and a children’s farm. The inhabitants of Vianen eat pea soup that evening and oliebollen (fried dough balls), as part of the tradition. The fair days are closed off with fireworks on Saturday night.



The Horse Market is a feast for everyone in Vianen. Some 3000 people take part in the lantern procession, accompanied by four bands. Most of the 25,000 visitors want to witness the Horse Market with the inspections, the show and the ring tilting games. The organisation is done by the Stichting Paardenmarktcomité Vianen (Vianen Horse Market Committee Foundation). Another important player is the Friends of the Horse Market Foundation, established in 1993 with the aim to promote the historic awareness and the involvement of the people of Vianen with the Horse Market. The Friends of the Horse Market Committee financially support the Horse Market.



In 1261 the bishop of Utrecht granted town rights to Vianen. Ten years later Vianen was given the right to hold an annual fair twice a year, within the walls of the current centre. One of these annual fairs was the market for ‘livestock’. From miles around horse traders came to Vianen. There was always a lot of entertainment during the Horse Market. Between 1725 and 1946 the annual Horse Market was organised by the town council. In 1946 the organisation was handed over to the Vianen Events Committee, later called Horse Market Committee. The Committee became a foundation in 1978. In the course of the seventies of the last century the horse trade decreased further and further. In 1975 it was decided to hold horse inspections on the market. To display small animals on the Horse Market despite the trade ban, a children’s farm was set up. More and more festivities came up around the Horse Market. By the end of the eighties of the last century the lantern procession was introduced, for Tuesday night. For decades the fair had belonged to the Horse Market and at the end of the last century it was scaled up and moved to a place just outside the town centre.



Stichting Paardenmarktcomité Vianen
Postbus 8
4130 EA