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.


Most children get familiar with paper cutting at primary school: folding a piece of paper and cut out a coaster or paper doll chain. Paper cutting art is related to this, it is a craft where shapes are cut out of paper with a knife or a pair of scissors. Pasted on a coloured background, the outlines give an attractive contrast. A technique that is often used in the Netherlands, is folding the paper in two, to get a symmetric cutting. Frequently after unfolding the paper one cuts varying details, thus producing different patterns after all. There are no typically Dutch designs to cut. One often cuts for special occasions, like weddings or current events, or one gets inspired by the Bible or other stories.



Paper cutting is done throughout the Netherlands, mostly in the northern and western part and the centre of the country. Cutters usually form a circle. The members of the circle assemble a number of times a year to cut and to inspire each other. Since 1983 these circles are united in a national association, the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Papierknipkunst (NVvP, Dutch Association for Paper Cutting). This association has about 500 members. Four times a year the association magazine is issued. The Papercut Art Museum is situated in Westerbork. The Foundation W.Tj. Lever, named after the founder of the Papercut Art Museum, conducts research into the history of the papercut art.



Even before paper was produced in the Netherlands itself, well-to-do people were busy with the art of paper cutting. The oldest Dutch cutting dates from 1589 and depicts a cut-out family coat of arms in an album amicorum. It was cut by Squire Hessel van Ostheim. In the seventeenth century  relatively more paper cut art was produced in the Republic of the Seven United Provinces than in the neighbouring countries. Commercial paper cutters appeared, who worked in commission and retailed their products. In the eighteenth century paper became cheaper and more readily available, resulting in an increasing number of paper cutters. In the designs often trendy fashion styles are to be recognised. People cut in their own circle or within a village. It was only after 1945 that contacts were made outside the own circles. In the first half of the twentieth century only a few active cutters were left in the Netherlands. From three centres the art of paper cutting was re-invigorated: the ones from Bussum, Arnhem and Drenthe. In 1983 the Dutch Open Air Museum held the first survey exhibition of the history of the paper cutting art.




  • Through the website practical tools are offered to those interested.
  • Because young people are hard to reach with guest lectures at school, they will be approached through social media.
  • The available archive material is inventoried and recorded in a digital database that is published on the Internet. (
  • In the anniversary year 2023 two manuscripts, one by Eline Huizenga Onnekes and one by Tjeerd Lever, will be published digitally.
  • Contacts within the cultural world will be established and where they already exist expanded.
  • Collaborations with medium-sized museums and galleries for exhibitions are started.
  • With the help of the website, social media and a clipping lexicon ( more visibility will be created online.
  • The possibility of organizing a course on how to run courses is being investigated.
  • More visibility will be created in lifestyle magazines and online, so that the paper cutting art is brought to the attention of people who currently do not know what they are missing from the paper cutting art.
  • More online content will be created so that paper cutting art is brought to the attention of new practitioners. Specifically, this will be done, among other things, through


Nederlandse Vereniging voor Papierknipkunst
prov. Utrecht