As of two weeks ago, the thirty Dutch Parades are on the International Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced this in Paris on 16th of December.
"Murica, F*ck Yeah" winner 2021
It’s not just about flower parades. There are dahlia parades, allegorical processions with flowers, but also a fruit parade (in Tiel), there are flower days with mosaics and there is a paper parade. The largest parades in the world take place in the Netherlands, but there are also very small ones. Some don’t drive, but sail. Paul Bastiaansen of the Corso Dome is pleased with the recognition.
“It feels incredible, we’ve been working towards it for so long. It's a recognition of the Dutch parade culture. An underlining that those parades are important traditions, but also that you as municipalities should cherish that tradition. Because, that is what Unesco also says: it brings people together.”
Bulb region and Zundert
The most famous is the flower parade in the "Bollenstreek". If there is no corona, a long journey of floats decorated with hyacinths, tulips and other flowers will drive from Noordwijk to Haarlem on the first Saturday after April 19. There are sometimes more than a million people along the route. The Keukenhof will also open at the same time as the parade.
The Zundert parade claims to be the largest parade in the world. In the Brabant village, twenty hamlets compete with each other every year for who has built the most beautiful car.
"Murica, F*ck Yeah" is a nod to the extreme patriotism in certain parts of the most powerful country in the world, the United States. An iconic image from a typical daily activity with a high level of exaggeration. The flag was the only thing that received a feather this year, you couldn't stop looking at it.
The tradition of the parades started at the beginning of the last century when farmers drove through the village or to the city in decorated wagons. In Giethoorn, in the early twentieth century, children went to school on the first day of school with illuminated and decorated boats.
And now those parades are on the list of intangible heritage. You should not confuse this list with the world heritage list: because it contains material heritage. With material heritage you can put a bell jar over it to preserve it for the future. Think of a work of art. But that is not possible with intangible heritage. Heritage fulfills a connecting role in society. You can protect material heritage such as buildings by properly maintaining them. Intangible heritage, such as the tradition of the parades and the efforts of the many volunteers, is living heritage. Living heritage can only be preserved by continuing to bind younger generations to it. And for this it is important that the parades handle traditions carefully and continue to innovate. In this way, the younger generations are also attracted and future generations can continue to enjoy all the parades.