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The Kaustinen folk fiddling tradition and the Nordic clinker boat tradition proposed for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list

Intangible Cultural Heritage, International Activities, Maritime Heritage

The Ministry of Education and Culture is nominating the Kaustinen folk fiddling tradition for inscription into UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. In addition to this, Finland is participating in the Nordic application concerning the clinker boat tradition. The Finnish Heritage Agency supports the safeguarding and development of the selected elements.

The nomination ‘Kaustinen fiddle tradition and the related practices and expressions’ has been prepared by the Finnish Heritage Agency in cooperation with communities practicing the tradition. The Finnish nomination was signed by Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen. In the nomination, the Kaustinen folk fiddling tradition has been identified and defined in accordance with the criteria specified in the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Kaustinen folk fiddling tradition is a strong and vital local tradition.

”The application has been prepared carefully in cooperation with the traditional community in Kaustinen. People in Kaustinen are very proud of and pleased with how the process has progressed so far thanks to excellent cooperation. I believe that this will increase the appreciation and recognition of both the Kaustinen tradition and the versatile field of traditional music in Finland,” says the nomination work group chair, director of the Finnish Folk Music Institute Matti Hakamäki.

Clinker boats have been built in the Baltic region for hundreds of years. The nomination of the Nordic clinker boat tradition to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is coordinated by Norway and supported by all of the Nordic countries. In Finland, 19 boat builders and operators in the field have expressed their support for the nomination.

“The work on the nomination has brought actors together to develop the field both in Finland and at the Nordic level,” says Bosse Mellberg, the coordinator of the nomination process.

The nomination of the Nordic clinker boat tradition is the first ever application filed jointly by the Nordic countries.

Listed sites are developed in cooperation

Both nominations now made to UNESCO were already selected for the National Inventory of Living Heritage maintained by the Finnish Heritage Agency in 2017 together with 50 other traditions. From this listing, elements can be nominated for inclusion in UNESCO listings. The decision on inscription of the elements will be made in December 2021 by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was established by the UNESCO Convention.

”Being listed is not the end goal, but a starting point for the real work. We strive to continue the development of the nominations together with communities. The Finnish Heritage Agency and the communities behind the nominations are committed to safeguarding the cultural heritage selected for the list,” says Senior Advisor Leena Marsio from the Finnish Heritage Agency.

The Finnish Heritage Agency is in charge of implementing the UNESCO convention in Finland and was involved in coordinating both nominations. The Finnish Heritage Agency will also be involved with the safeguarding measures in the future and supporting the communities behind the nominations in their work. The communities maintaining the cultural heritage will, however, be in charge of the actual activities.

National Inventory of Living Heritage

Fact box: UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage

  • UNESCO maintains a list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • Finland adopted the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage seven years ago. It promotes the safeguarding of living cultural heritage and makes the different cultural heritages of people, communities and groups visible.
  • The Finnish Heritage Agency is responsible for the implementation of the Convention in Finland.
  • At present, the list contains 549 elements from 127 countries.
  • The decision on Finland’s first nomination concerning the Finnish tradition of sauna bathing will be made in December 2020.

All elements in UNESCO’s international lists (UNESCO)

For more information, please contact

Senior Advisor Leena Marsio, Finnish Heritage Agency leena.marsio@museovirasto.fi +358 29533 6017
Director Matti Hakamäki, Finnish Folk Music Institute matti.hakamaki@kaustinen.fi +358 40 3588 921
Coordinator of the clinker boat initiative Bosse Mellberg mellbergbosse@gmail.com +358 40 564 3975

Links

On making a clinker boat in the National Inventory of Living Heritage (in Finnish)

On sailing a clinker boat in the National Inventory of Living Heritage (in Finnish)

On the Kaustinen folk fiddling tradition in the National Inventory of Living Heritage (in Finnish)

New elements nominated for inscription on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (25 March 2019 press release by the Ministry of Education and Culture)