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 'Voorschoten Horse Days' is a multi-day event with various programme components during the last weekend of July: horse market, short track trotting, fair, show with horses and music evening.

On Friday the Short Track Trotting takes place on the Van Beethovenlaan, where the horses trot in a set course. The horse market takes place on Saturday, from 6 a.m. the horses and ponies are taken to the market square where they are judged and guided to their location on the Voorstraat, in the presence of a veterinarian. At 10 a.m. the horse market is officially opened by the mayor, by placing the Market Cross. A special tradition is that the visitors may wish each other a happy New Year then.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. a local market is held, including demonstrations of traditional crafts. There is also a fair. The evening programme is dedicated to the horse, after which the horse market ends with a band performance and disco.


The Horse Market is organised by Stichting Comité Paardenmarkt Voorschoten (Voorschoten Horse Market Committee Foundation) and the Stichting Paardensport Voorschoten (Short track trotting Foundation Voorschoten). Furthermore, the municipality, sponsors and local entrepreneurs are partners. This also applies to the horse dealers, horse owners, drivers, the Dutch Horse Racing Foundation and voluntary organisations such as first aid, the sports and parents associations. The Voorschoten Horse Days attract around ten thousand visitors a year with all their events.



The horse market originates from the medieval fair of Voorschoten. The people of Voorschoten traded cattle and agricultural products on the market for three days. Later on this became one day. Market peace prevailed at the annual markets: visitors could not be arrested and exiles were allowed to trade. This was indicated by two crosses placed at both ends of the market.

The fair has been part of the horse market since the early years. Since 1924, the horse-drawn carriage has been linked to the horse market, originally to enliven the Queen's Day celebrations around  August 31. In order to create more space in the programme, the activities have been spread over a few days for several years now.



  • Organize promotion through regional broadcasters and local press.
  • Participate in an initiative of the Bond Kortbaandraverij to create a teaching package about short track harness racing.
  • Think about dealing with the impending shortage of trained horses (due to corona) by higher prize money and interest groups of people to buy and train a horse together.
  • Attract new volunteers through word of mouth and addressing people personally.
  • Wish to make a film about the history and future of the Voorschoten short track harness racing for the 100th anniversary in 2024.
  • Continue good contacts with the municipality and the security region.
  • Promote very actively (radio-TV newspapers) to the outside world how well we take care of the animals. Avoid negative reactions by eg not allowing the use of whip.
  • Organize annual photo competition for everyone, including children.
  • Provide information about the horse market in schools through teacher friends. Perhaps put together a small teaching package based on existing video and photos.
  • Try to organize the archive. Perhaps also digitize parts of the archive and place them on the website.
  • Perhaps involve young people by having them organize their own section to gain experience .
  • Evaluate with the municipality after the event. Make good agreements about who does what. 
  • Possibly ask for more money from sponsors if the short-track has to pay the security people themselves.
  • Talk about the future: Also perhaps higher premiums for traders to keep them attracted. 
  • Emphasize that the welfare of the horses comes first. 
  • Think about an attractive alternative program for horses if horse markets are no longer allowed.



In order to safeguard the future of the Voorschoten Horse Days, the following actions will be taken:

  • There is cooperation with the Voorschoten hotel and catering industry for the programme.
  • The organisation is actively working on communication about the Voorschoten Horse Days.
  • The expansion of the attractions for children during both the Horse Market and the Short Track Trotting is being considered.



Stichting Comité Paardenmarkt Voorschoten-Stichting Paardensport Voorschoten
Koperwieklaan 40