- Takes note that the Netherlands have nominated Corso culture, flower and fruit parades in the Netherlands (no. 01707) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Dating back to the late nineteenth century, a corso is an annual parade of floats or boats decorated with flowers, fruit, vegetables and, in some cases, people in costumes. Originating in the south of France and Italy, the practice spread to the Netherlands in the nineteenth century. The parade takes place in streets or on rivers, and is often accompanied by bands and theatre performances, some of which occur at night with illuminated floats. Groups of friends or entire neighbourhoods often spend months preparing elaborate floats, adding the fresh products (flowers, fruit and vegetables) in the final days before the event. The floats, which can be up to 20 metres long and 10 metres high, are propelled by motor or pushed manually. The corso is a competition. Neighbourhoods compete in creating the best float, and the float judged best by the jury wins a prize. But corso culture is about much more than the parade and competition. Having a drink or meal together after working on the floats and organizing regular parties is an important part of the corso, creating a sense of social cohesion and solidarity that is often people’s main motivation for participating in the event. Corso culture is passed on through apprenticeships, school programmes and participation in the annual parade.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
R.1: Corso is an annual parade of constructed designs decorated with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Corso culture is much broader than the corso itself, as it includes many of the elements of preparation, which entails the participation of many people of all ages and genders and in varying roles, such as designers, float builders, costume designers, horticulturalists and flower vendors. Traditionally, the transmission of knowledge is carried out from master to apprentice. Additionally, some school programmes cover the history of corso and include float-building lessons and related skills. The annual parade is a central cultural event that fosters social cohesion and reinforces local identity.
R.2: The file sufficiently explains how inscription of the element would ensure visibility and awareness of its significance. At the local level, inscription would highlight its importance as a unifying factor among communities. It would also help communities exchange on common issues and safeguarding measures. At the national level, inscription would highlight the significance of local intangible cultural heritage and contribute to social cohesion. It will also promote greater awareness among youth about the general importance of intangible cultural heritage. At the international level, inscribing corso culture on the Representative List would result in greater awareness about similar traditions, thus increasing awareness of intangible cultural heritage worldwide. Dialogue is built into the corso culture and would reinforce exchange among people of all ages and backgrounds. Inscription would also encourage an artistic interpretation of intangible cultural heritage.
R.3: The file outlines past and current initiatives for safeguarding and proposes safeguarding measures involving the communities. Past and current initiatives include welding and float-construction workshops, introducing children to the float-building process, developing teaching packages for primary and secondary schools, and implementing public relations activities. The Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage and local authorities work together to provide technical and financial assistance in collaboration with the Corsokoepel Foundation. The framework for safeguarding measures includes: (a) exchanging knowledge and experience at the annual corso conference; (b) tackling joint issues together; (c) attracting new target groups, such as newcomers, asylum seekers and refugees; (d) developing educational materials; (e) addressing threats, including local logistical challenges, terrorism and over-commercialization; and (f) organizing a marketing campaign and further developing a multilingual website on corso culture (www.bloemencorso.eu). Communities are already engaged in implementing safeguarding measures for corso culture that are inscribed in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Netherlands.
R.4: Various practitioners, working groups, governmental departments and non-governmental organizations took part in the preparation of the nomination. During the meetings, questions related to the nomination and safeguarding measures were addressed. The file establishes free and prior consent from Corsokoepel’s board of directors and consent from men and women and children of all ages, including young corso builders, flower workers, corso designers, children and jury members. There are no customary practices governing access to the element and anyone can participate, although only adults take part in the more risk-susceptible activities during the building process.
R.5: The file sufficiently verifies that the element is listed on three inventories managed by the Dutch Centre for Intangible Culture. Namely: Network of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Netwerk Immaterieel Erfgoed); Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands (Inventaris Immaterieel Erfgoed Nederland) and Register of Inspiring Examples of Safeguarding (Register van Inspirerende Voorbeelden van Borging). The elements are updated every three years with communities being asked to check their element. These are submitted to a review committee that meets twice a year to go over safeguarding plans. As a reference, letters sent to the organizations are attached to the nomination file.
- Decides to inscribe Corso culture, flower and fruit parades in the Netherlands on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
- Commends the State Party on the preparation of a well-elaborated file that features strong participation of the relevant communities, groups and individuals in the overall nomination process.