Lübben, 15 March 2023
On 15 March 2023, the Conference of the Ministers of Culture of the German federal states newly included the construction and use of the Spreewaldkahn in the Federal List of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the recommendation of the independent Expert Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage of the German UNESCO Commission. The application for inclusion in the Federal List of Intangible Cultural Heritage was submitted by the Spreewaldverein e.V. in spring 2022.
"We are extremely happy for the region and have already been able to receive the first congratulations. A start has been made, but cultural heritage must be actively lived and jointly developed. To this end, we want to consciously preserve what has been tried and tested, but also help shape the change in the form of culture - all perspectives and challenges to the Spreewaldkahn must be included," says Melanie Kossatz, managing director of the Spreewaldverein e.V. To this end, the association will continue to initiate projects and initiatives in the region together with committed people and supporters and engage in exchange. "It is now up to all of us! Participation and involvement are expressly encouraged," says Melanie Kossatz.
Regionally based craft enterprises manufacture wooden and metal barges and even today people still "Koahn gefoahrn" on the Spreewald rivers, even though road construction has changed the way the barge is used. The barge therefore reflects the history of the purely commercial vehicle in the cultural landscape of the Spreewald to the experience of near-natural recreation for many visitors. The barge is also present as a commercial vehicle for a wide variety of user groups, from fishermen and hunters to the fire brigade and the nature guards in the UNESCO Spreewald Biosphere Reserve. The Spreewald barge is clocked standing at the stern with a pack about 4 m long. The Spreewald punt, which creates identity for the Spreewald region, is closely linked to the preservation of the traditional cultural landscape and to the life of the Sorbian/Wendish minority in Lower Lusatia.
In the process of developing the application, there were several meetings with barge actors in the Spreewald economic region. Photos, documents and other evidence of the Spreewald barge were collected. The Spreewaldverein e.V. wants to establish and expand this network. Finally, promising points of contact between the actors and the Spreewaldverein e.V. have already been established. "We would like to thank all the committed actors who actively supported us in our application. Many thanks also for the impressive and authentic insights into their everyday life with the Spreewald boat.
Spreewald economic area with four EU-protected products
In 1999, the Spreewaldverein e.V., as a protective association for the products "Spreewälder Gurken" (Spreewald gherkins) and "Spreewälder Meerrettich" (Spreewald horseradish), succeeded in obtaining EU-wide recognition as a geographically protected indication (PGI). Since 2022, "Spreewälder Gurkensülze" has also been registered as a PGI, which is also due to the efforts of the Spreewald Association. And by the way, another product has been protected EU-wide in the Spreewald economic area since last year: The PGI registration of the "Peitzer Karpfen" was driven forward by the Lausitzer Fischereiverein 1874 e.V. (Lusatian Fishing Association).
Spreewald umbrella brand
Since 1995 the Spreewaldverein e.V. has been the owner of the regional umbrella brand "Spreewald". has been the owner of the regional umbrella brand "Spreewald", which was initially only used for fresh and processed vegetables with a corresponding guideline. In the economic area of the Spreewald or the LEADER region Spreewald-PLUS, the Spreewald Association has since then focused on improving regional added value in agriculture, the food industry, gastronomy, the service sector and tourism. The certification guideline currently covers 20 categories of goods, under which about 1,600 products from about 130 companies are certified.
About Spreewaldverein e.V.
The association represents the interests of municipalities, associations, enterprises and institutions in the region. It organises the process of rural development, supports the networking of actors in the economic area of the Spreewald and works for a sustainable improvement of the living conditions of the people in the towns and communities. This includes strengthening the rural economy and tourism as well as support in other areas of life such as social affairs, culture and nature conservation. As the owner of the regional umbrella brand Spreewald, the association uses the seal of quality to assure consumers of the high quality of regional products and services of the agriculture and food industry, crafts, trade and tourism. The focus is on protecting and safeguarding the quality standards of the image products "Spreewälder Gurken" and "Spreewälder Meerrettich". The Spreewaldverein e.V. can refer to many years of experience in dealing with the support programmes of the EU and the state. The concern is to use these programmes to show the people in the region development perspectives, to advise them in the application process and to support the communities in eliminating deficiencies in their infrastructure.
Press contact: Jessica Heitepriem, Press and Public Relations, Tel: +49 3546 8426