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.


To make a good cigar, good tobacco is needed that fits the type of cigar. There are differently shapes and flavours in cigars, like the bolknak, the tuitknak and the corona. Characteristic for the Dutch cigar, the shortfiller, is the blend of filler, a mixture of various – often up to twenty – cut tobacco varieties The cigar is made on a zinkje, a small iron plate. For a longfiller the tobacco is first stripped, the middle vein is taken out of the leaf. Then the tobacco is rolled up accordion-wise, so that flues appear. The bundle that has been created, is wrapped in a so-called omblad (binder), a strong leaf that keeps the bundle together. It is very important that the binder is strong, but flexible too, to give the right shape to the cigar. The little package is now called a wikkel (bunch) and that goes into an open, wooden mould. A lid is put on it and the mould is put under a cigar press for about three hours. This makes sure that the bunch dries and that the cigar is kept firm. When the cigar is taken out of the press, it is trimmed with small scissors. Then a wrapper is cut with a special wheel knife. This wrapper is selected from the finest tobacco and must be perfectly flawless, otherwise the cigar would leak and not be smokeable. The flavour of the wrapper is balanced with the blend inside, to make a good combination. Many good wrappers come from Sumatra. The bunch is wrapped obliquely in the wrapper and glued with gum arabic. The cigar is ready, but before it can be smoked, it must dry for a couple of days.



Ria Bos learnt the craft when she was working in two cigar factories in Kampen. Now Bos is one of the few people in the Netherlands who master the craft. She endeavours to pass on her knowledge to next generations. Through workshops, demonstrations and a future course, she wants to raise awareness for her craft and train new cigar-makers. As of 2015 the Tobacco and Craft Foundation helps her to spread the knowledge of the craft.



Cigars have been made in the Netherlands since the beginning of 1700. The shortfiller was often made with tobacco from Java and Sumatra, reaching the Netherlands via the VOC. In 1870 Kampen had twenty cigar factories and in 1892 even 35. By buying-out Sumatra-leaves at the end of the nineteenth century, prices shot up. The whole cigar industry in the Netherlands suffered a heavy blow. Cigars were made by hand for a long time, at home or in factories. As of World War II the process has been partly mechanised. From the eighties of the last century on, cigars have been more and more semi-automatically made and in the nineties the switch was made to fully automated production of cigars. The machines produce about a hundred cigars per minute. No manual work can compete with this and the number of people making cigars by hand, drops drastically. The Tobacco and Craft Foundation was established in 2015, to keep the craft of traditional cigar-making alive and give it a future. The Dutch cigar is still known for its high quality and every year some two billion cigars are exported to more than a hundred countries worldwide.



Ria Bos