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 Tiel carnival cake is only on sale in the third week of October during the Tiel autumn fair. It is a traditionally made, luxurious type of gingerbread cake with a fine herb taste. There are varieties with rock candy and ginger. The cakes are always sweetened with pure bee honey that is produced in the vicinity of Tiel. One does not buy a carnival cake for oneself, but to give it to somebody else. It is the tradition to buy the cake on the fair to show one’s love for somebody. The cake is usually eaten in company. It is to be cut in thin slices. One can put butter on them. Tiel carnival cake is baked according to an old recipe. It comprises freshly harvested rye flour, a herb mixture and honey from the Betuwe region. But the rest of the recipe is secret. The bakery works with old cake baking trays between wooden cake bars. The wooden bars give the cake the specific wood taste. The baking is done in a masonry stone oven that is slowly heated up on gas.



The carnival cake is only baked by baker Van Ooijen in Tiel. Many visitors to the fair in Tiel maintain the tradition of the Tiel carnival cake. Young people especially like to give their lover a cake with an inscription.



We know for sure that carnival cakes have been sold in Tiel for more than 175 years. The cake is described in a book from 1871 by Jan ter Gouw: De volksvermaken (Popular entertainment). It was common that farmer’s sons in love from Tiel and surrounding area, bought the cake and gave it to their lovers as a kind of marriage proposal. If the young woman, after eight days or a fortnight, gave a slice of cake to the man when he visited her family on Sunday, that was a sign that she wanted him for a husband. In 1840 a bakery was established at the Westluidensestraat in Tiel. It still exists and still produces the carnival cakes. At the time, cakes were baked for fairs throughout the country, nowadays only for the fair in Tiel. The carnival cakes are now seldom used as marriage proposals, but still there is a story behind the cake as a present. They are generally given as a token of appreciation and love. In recent years the smaller cakes have become very popular. They are available with all kinds of sweet texts on top. Well into the twentieth century the Tiel carnival cakes were sold at a stand on the fair in Tiel. They are at present only sold at the shop that belongs to the bakery.



Bakkerij Van Ooijen
Westluidensestraat 43
4001 NE