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 Cramignon is danced in eight villages in the border region between South Limburg and Belgium. It is a round dance in which boys and girls hold hands and move through the streets skipping and zigzagging to the cheerful sounds of Cramignon music. Traditionally, only single boys and girls are allowed to participate in the Cramignon, but over the years this has changed, and everyone is allowed to join in. The captain of the ‘jonkheid’ leads the way in the Cramignon, holding a bouquet of flowers (also known as the ‘rei-bouquet’) in his left hand and a girl in his other. Like a zigzagging chain of people, the Cramignon winds through the village. In some villages, the order is reversed, and a girl (called a ‘rei-maid’) goes first, followed by the captain of the jonkheid. In general, the jonkheid refers to the unmarried boys (in some cases also girls) of the village, aged 16 and over. In principle, all unmarried and/or non-cohabitants are members of the jonkheid and pay their membership fee at the annual Bronk.

In some places, the first Cramignon is traditionally danced in front of the church, with the priest taking the lead in the first Cramignon. During this first Cramignon, he hands over the rei-bouquet to the captain of the jonkheid, after which the Cramignon continues. If the Cramignon continues later in the day, the starting location is usually a local café, but during the dance, more and more people join in. In between, there are several resting places where one can have a drink and then – well rested – continue dancing. Finally, the Cramignon ends at one of the resting places mentioned above.

The dance is almost the similar in all villages. The Cramignon manifests itself on the Monday and Tuesday of the annual Bronk Feast, the multi-day celebration that follows the Sacrament Procession. When the Bronk ‘sets out’, the procession passes through the village and when ‘bronking’ takes place, this refers to the traditional festivities on the day of or days after the procession.

A few weeks after the Bronk, in some places the small Bronk is organised. This small Bronk is organised by and for the local children, imitating the Bronk and Cramignon of a few weeks earlier.


The Cramignon is organised by the boards of the various jonkheids, assisted by the other members of the jonkheid.

The various boards of the music associations are also involved in the organisation. The hotel, restaurant and café owners open their businesses for the Cramignon, as do several residents who open their gardens. They do not play music but wait for the Cramignon. The resting places are traditionally the large old square farms where the Cramignon stops for a while, people have a drink, and where waltzes and other festive songs are played and danced. Afterwards, the row of dancers moves on. 


From 1800 onwards, the Cramignon developed in its own way on both sides of the national border, in Wallonia and South Limburg. Although the elitist-like societies of Liège tried to revive the Cramignon by emphasising its folk character, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Cramignon became less and less popular with young people. The young people preferred to dance to the modern waltz and gallop.

Around 1900, it was the parish priests in the countryside who gave the Cramignon a boost to discourage the 'depraved' more intimate dances. As a result, the Cramignon survived in the conservative villages and disappeared in the more progressive cities such as Liège and Maastricht. The origins of folk music cannot always be traced because the music was passed on by ear and often not written down. By means of texts sung by the participants of the Cramignon, such as 'ao sjoen Nètteke' and 'd'n Os' or 'Sjtukske sjeenk', the melodies were passed on from generation to generation. It may happen that in one village the same melody is played, but a different text is sung than in another village. 

Until about 1940 the Sacrament Procession (and thus the Bronk) was held on the second Sunday after Easter in all villages. This is still the case in many villages, but because the feast used to be on the same days in all the villages, people started to shift the dates for commercial reasons.

In recent years, the Cramignon has changed somewhat. The order of the Cramignon (boy-girl-boy-girl, etc.) is not so strict anymore and non-bachelorettes are allowed to participate in the Cramignon. Also, a small Bronk is organised in some villages, where the Cramignon is danced by children in particular. In the past, children were not allowed to participate in the Cramignon, but this is no longer the case in recent years.



  • An information letter for new residents will be produced, containing information and explanations about the Cramignon, including an invitation to participate the next time.
  • The inclusion in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Netherlands creates the opportunity to bring the Cramignon to the attention of the region again, to connect various groups and to introduce a wider audience to this tradition.
  • The music, description of activities / events will be recorded.
  • An adequate online presentation of the Cramignon heritage will be made by Prof. J. Leerssen (Professor of European Studies at the VU University Amsterdam and an authority on European cultural history).
  • The municipality of Eijsden-Margraten will grant the permits for the longer term because little or nothing will change within the tradition. In connection with possible changes in laws and regulations, protocols are established.