The Intangible Heritage Netherlands Inventory contains intangible heritage of which the heritage community, group or individual has written a guarantee plan to give the heritage a future. That plan has been tested by an independent Review Committee. Heritage care is evaluated every two years.

Description

On the second Wednesday of September there is a market in Valkenburg ZH (South-Holland), where horses are the key issue. Horses are traded, there are ring tilting competitions with horses and there is a lottery. The ring tilting with horses or harnessed ponies begins on Saturday, the Market on the following Wednesday and the lottery is held at the end of the market. The Horse Market is called mart by the people from Valkenburg. From 5 AM the first animals appear on the market, which is situated around the Dutch Reformed Church. The market lasts till noon. There is straw for the animals, drinking water and a veterinarian are available. Sick or crippled animals are not allowed. An average of a hundred horses are standing there, primarily for show and for the atmosphere, as most of the time no more than five horses are traded. There are a lot of festive activities around the Horse Market, which are organised by the Orange Committee.

 

Community

The Horse Market is organised by the Horse Market Committee. Horse traders and stall keepers from the wide area put their horses and ponies on the market. For the inhabitants of Valkenburg themselves, the Horse Market is so important that they invariably adapt their plans to it and even come back if they had moved to other places. They derive a part of their identity from it, as it were.

 

History

Before the year 1000 there have already been references of a horse market in Valkenburg SH. Thanks to the favourable location, it became more and more important for the region, with more than two thousand horses. These were trade horses, to be sold or exchanged. At a certain moment the Horse Market had grown into a feast that lasted for weeks, especially in the time of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962), whose birthday was on August 31st, for which the Orange Society Wilhelmina already organised festivities that lasted a week. The farmers were opposed to this, as they could not afford that nothing was being done for weeks due to all these festivities. It was then decided to combine the Orange festival week and the horse market festivities to one festive week. The exact moment is unknown. In any case it must have been after 1931, because the Orange Society Wilhelmina was established in that year. From that moment on the Society has been organising the games around the Horse Market. In the five years of World War II there was no Horse Market, but in 1946 the organisation was picked up again. Over time the Horse Market has developed from a trade market to a more folkloristic market, with a primarily social function. Nowadays the trade takes place on the internet mainly. As the Horse Market fulfils a significant binding function, its continued existence is important. Therefore the Horse Market Committee is trying to reach more children and young people. For this purpose, for instance, primary schools inform the children about the history and significance of the Horse Market. 

 

Contact

Comité tot Instandhouding van Neerlands Oudste Paardenmarkt
Achterweg 20
2235SB Valkenburg (ZH)
Website