The convention in a national context

On May 15 in 2012, the Netherlands signed the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. On August 15 the convention became effective. The Network, the Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands and the Register of good examples result from signing the convention.

States that have signed the UNESCO Convention are bound to take measures for the protection of the intangible cultural heritage within their own national borders.

Concrete measures that every state is obliged to take, are:

  • Identification and definition of the intangible cultural heritage by means of one or more inventories, which are to be updated regularly;
  • Development of programmes that contribute to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage;
  • Assignment of competent bodies for the protection of the intangible cultural heritage;
  • Promotion of scientific research;
  • Establishing documentation centres for intangible cultural heritage;
  • Working on education, awareness and promotion of expertise.

The member states will periodically report to UNESCO in this respect, particularly on the inventories and the elements of ICH of the country concerned on the international UNESCO lists.

The greater part of the countries that participate in the convention have meanwhile created an inventory. The Portuguese Memoria Immaterial keeps records of inventories in the various countries, see the Memoriamedia website. 

Network, Inventory and Register

The Network, the Inventory and the Register are examples of measures that the Netherlands has taken to make the intangible cultural heritage visible and to secure it. The Dutch Centre of Intangible Cultural Heritage has assumed the coordination of the set-up.

By including intangible cultural heritage in the Network, the Inventory or the Register, the visibility is raised and the ICH and its practitioners will gain more appreciation and respect. That helps them to keep their intangible cultural heritage alive. They frequently consider the inclusion in the Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage as a recognition for their often longstanding efforts.

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