UNESCO Cultural Heritage

Germany’s orchestra and theatre scene is globally unique. Nowhere else are there so many orchestras continually developing their special musical culture. For example, countless new concert formats have emerged in recent years. At the same time, orchestras are upholding a tradition dating back as far as 500 years.

Innovation and Tradition

Musicians are increasingly reaching out to their audiences. They use music as a means to initiate and help shape public debate. Orchestras as well as the public broadcaster’s choirs and big bands are making a special effort in musical outreach to all age groups.

In 2009 the DOV decided to advocate for recognition of Germany’s theatre and orchestra scene as UNESCO Cultural Heritage. The term ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ includes traditional knowledge and skills from all around the world such as music, theatre and dance as well as oral traditions, traditional customs, festivals and handicrafts.

UNESCO passed the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003 in order to preserve this knowledge and expertise. It came into force in 2006 after being ratified by 30 states, which has since risen to 170 states.

On the path to Intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage

  • The DOV raises public awareness of Germany’s unique and preservation-worthy orchestra scene with its ‘Orchesterland D’ campaign, launched in late 2013.
  • In late 2014 the German Commission for UNESCO includes orchestra and theatre in the nationwide List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • In December 2016 the German federal government and federal states, represented by the of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, decides to nominate the German orchestra and theatre scene for the international UNESCO list.
  • In March 2017 the DOV supports the German Commission for UNESCO’s ‘Kulturtalent’ (Cultural Talent) campaign.
  • In April 2018 Germany’s Federal Foreign Office submits a nomination proposal for the German theatre and orchestra scene as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ to UNESCO in Paris.
  • The Intergovernmental Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage will make a final acceptance decision in the end of 2020.
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