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Intangible cultural heritage

Traditions, knoweldge, craftsmanship techniques  
Photo: © UNESCO/James Muriuki

Intangible cultural heritage

What do the dialect of Montafon, avalanche risk management and scythe-forging have in common? They all constitute intangible cultural heritage according to UNESCO.<br/> Whether oral traditions, performing arts, social practices and festivals, knowledge concerning nature or craftsmanship, intangible cultural heritage is alive. This heritage is borne by human knowledge and skills and passed on from one generation to the next. Intangible cultural heritage plays a role in social cohesion and significantly contributes to the sustainable development of societies.<br/> Among the objectives of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) is the effort of listing and highlighting intangible cultural heritage in the respective states by means of National Inventories. The Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria collects and documents these diverse practices since the ratification of this international convention in 2009. By highlighting previously hidden traditions and practices, it becomes possible to develop a new understanding of regional particularities, functioning communities as well as the sustainable use of local resources.