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 Easter customs in Denekamp consist of a number of elements and take place under the leadership of Judas and Iscariot. These are two young men who have the honour to be at the forefront of the tradition. This task rotates, the Iscariot being the newcomer of the couple and the Judas the Iscariot of the previous year. It starts with the eier gadder'n (egg gathering) on Palm Sunday. For this the Denekamp youth gathers at the St. Nicholas church. Led by Judas & Iscariot, a tour through the village starts at 1 o’clock p.m. precisely. Singing, they ring the doorbells with the request: Eier, eier, geld is ôk goat (dialect for: Eggs, eggs, money is okay too! Eggs and money are collected to cover the costs of the Easter customs.

On Easter Saturday the male part of the population gathers at the St. Nicolas church to fetch the Easter wood. Led by Judas & Iscariot they go to the forest to fetch wood. With this wood the Easter fire is built on the Easter meadow. On Easter Sunday 'de Kul neighbourhood' and 'the residents of Brink' gather at the St. Nicolas church. Symbolically this stands for the whole population of Denekamp.

At the church Judas & Iscariot have made themselves ready to start off to the Singraven estate at the stroke of 1 p.m. At the castle they ask for an Easter stake. The lord of the castle offers the people in the woods a choice of three trees. The chosen tree is cut down and pulled by 'human chains' via the church to the Easter meadow. On the Easter meadow a wooden barrel (with steel rings) is attached to the Easter stake with a chain. After this, with the help of six wooden ladders and joint forces, it is placed upright next to the Easter fire. When the Easter stake is upright, it is fixed with the ladders. Alternately Judas & Iscariot then climb the highest ladder to address the crowd. They introduce themselves, to which the crowd reacts critically. Judas then sells the Easter stake and the rings (which remain after the burning of the barrel) to the highest bidder in the crowd. Finally, he invites all the listeners to be present in the evening when the barrel and the Easter fire are lit.

In the evening, at 8 p.m., the Easter stake is climbed again by Judas & Iscariot; they then light the barrel and the Easter fire. During the burning of the barrel and the Easter fire, people circle around the fire singing the Denenkamp Easter songs. When the barrel is burnt out, the stake is manually laid down flat. When afterwards the Easter fire is extinguished, the Easter tradition comes to an end for the year in question.


There is no overall organising committee in Denekamp, but an informal community that organises the Easter tradition every year. People born and raised in Denekamp and former residents join in the Easter customs in Denekamp. There are several families that are interwoven with the tradition, with or without an annual symbolic task or assignment. The Judas & Iscariot are chosen annually, whereby the Judas is always the Iscariot of the previous year. Concerning the Easter stake, the manager of the Singraven estate is involved in the tradition, as is the municipality that facilitates the police, fire brigade and public works and is the owner of the Easter meadow. The tourist information office, parish, tourists and of course the spectators are also involved in the tradition.


The origin of the Easter customs is, as far as we know, unknown. However, a newspaper article shows that the Easter customs led by Judas & Iscariot already took place in 1894. Tradition has it that the Denekampers are entitled to a free Easter stake of the Singraven estate every year, provided it is collected every year. As soon as a year would be skipped, this annual right would lapse. In practice, however, this rule has not been maintained. As far as we know the Easter traditions could not take place on two occasions, due to external circumstances. In 1945 because in this year Denekamp was liberated by the Americans on Easter Day and in 2001 because of mad cow disease (BSE). Before World War II Judas & Iscariot were dressed in suits with a narrow tie. After the war there was a trend that they dressed in jeans with a green cloth army jacket. The flat wagons for fetching the wood used to be pulled by horses; these have since been replaced by tractors. Due to increasing interest, the location of the Easter fire on the Easter hump has become too cramped. In addition, the Easter bonfire became an ever-increasing fire hazard, partly because the Easter hump is located in the woods and surrounded by a number of houses with thatched roofs. That is why it was moved to the lawn next to the recreational lake 'het Goor'. The origin of the Easter wood varies from year to year. Due to increasing environmental and nature interests, finding locations where pinewood can be felled and fetched is becoming increasingly difficult. That is why the wood harvesting location varies every year in and around the municipality of Dinkelland. The tradition is predominantly carried out by the male part of the population. The ladies are mainly in the supporting role towards 'their men', although the active involvement is slowly increasing.



  • Maintaining the online photo album to keep the memory of the intangible heritage alive.
  • Planting new trees on the Singraven Estate.
  • Maintaining the meeting of villagers with, among others, the responsible alderman, fire brigade, police and the coordinator of public works on the permit, safety and environment, a few weeks before Easter.
  • Limiting nuisance by: preventing excessive smoke by using only clean and dry wood; staying in contact with local residents.
  • Control by the fire brigade during hump build-up and burning.
  • A driver consultation for tractor drivers supplying wood: jointly identifying the risks and setting up measures to limit those risks. For example, by deploying traffic controllers, good communication about the route and police guidance, evaluating and discussing possible (near) incidents.
  • ‘Tree-climbing' consultation: ensuring that the climbers are trained, working in a controlled manner, preventing climbers from taking irresponsible actions due to adrenaline.


Paasgebruiken Denekamp
Ootmarsumsestraat 2a
7591 EP