UNESCO declares timber rafting an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!
Joint nomination by Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Spain was successful.
On 1 December 2022, UNESCO declared timber rafting as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In doing so, the UN cultural organisation is honouring a tradition that has been alive in Europe for centuries. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Spain had jointly applied for the recognition.
The members of the International Association of Timber-Raftsmen (IATR) have received this recognition with great joy. It is a motivating moment for all raftswomen and raftsmen which are passionate about safeguarding and developing this craft and passing on their knowledge and skills to future generations. The nomination file was prepared firstly through discussions at the general assemblies of the International Association of Timber Raftsmen, especially in 2010. Many years of dedicated voluntary work by the bearer groups have now found their appreciation.
Today, the old craft is becoming increasingly widespread again and is open to both women and men. Timber rafting associations keep the traditional knowledge alive. At festivals and trips, in schools and kindergartens, they provide information about the cultural heritage and the importance of wood as a raw material in the past and in the future.
We members of the IATR are very happy about the inscription of timber rafting in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This also recognises the transnational cooperation that contributed significantly to the success of the nomination. Currently, almost 8,000 people in Europe are engaged in the safeguarding of this cultural heritage. The inscription in the UNESCO list will also give a corresponding impetus to the activities of timber rafting associations in the other member states where timber rafting is not yet inscribed in the national lists. These include, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Romania and Slovenia.
Here are the links of the 7-min-video (in EN, FR; ESP, Floor) at YouTube about our award at the UNESCO session in Rabat:
The complete documents in the UNESCO`s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are here: https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/timber-rafting-01866
UNESCO-Nomination of Timber Rafting (Information at the 33rd General Assembly, 25th of June 2021)
At the end of March 2021, the joint proposal of Austria, Czechia, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Spain was submitted to UNESCO in Paris to nominate timber rafting as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
A multinational working group with representatives of timber rafting associations, the UNESCO commissions and ministries of culture from these six countries worked on the joint nomination for almost three years. The Polish Ministry of Culture coordinated the process. The main requirement was to provide evidence of how the intangible cultural heritage of timber rafting is being further developed
as a living craft and passed on to the next generations. It was also necessary to explain what is done in the associations for identity-forming, wide public relations work and what safeguarding activities are practised by these associations, but also by local authorities and state agencies, in order to protect this heritage.
The IATR Board has issued a letter of support (see picture or pdf document).
Our special thanks go to Ms Joanna Cicha-Kuczynska from Polish Ministry of Culture for her dedicated work as coordinator of the international working group. Further thanks go to the participating representatives of the timber rafting associations from these countries. Thanks to their active work, it was possible to submit the nomination on time.
In the next few months, the documents will be examined by the UNESCO commissions. We, as member associations of IATR, should use all our possible activities in the coming months to do them as our contribution to a successful nomination. Concrete proposals have been made for this in the plan of activities for 2021-2022.
In the middle of July 2021, the UNESCO Commission has informed that the multinational nomination file ‘Timber rafting’ submitted by Austria, Czechia, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Spain on 29 March 2021 will be considered for possible inscription in 2022 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.