Inscription in the list of national intangible cultural heritage

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Intangible cultural heritage, often referred to as 'living cultural heritage', covers all the:

  • practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills of communities, groups or individuals; and
  • the associated instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces;

whose preservation is of national public interest.

These include:

  • oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle for intangible cultural heritage;
  • performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivities;
  • knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
  • traditional craftsmanship.

In order to be officially recognised as intangible cultural heritage, the element must be the subject of an application for inclusion to the Ministry of Culture.

Who is concerned?

The application for the inclusion of an element in the national intangible heritage can be made by any group of persons or non-profit association:

  • whose purpose is the safeguarding of intangible heritage; and
  • that:
    • recognise the element as part of their intangible heritage; and/or
    • actively practise the element; and
  • that are committed to its preservation and transmission to present and future generations.

Any person making the request must be mandated and supported by a representative group of such persons.


To be listed as intangible heritage, an element must meet the following conditions:

  • be alive, i.e. still be an active part of cultural life (practices, representations, expressions, etc.);
  • be passed on from generation to generation in Luxembourg and constantly recreated by the applicant group of people, according to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history;
  • provide a sense of identity and continuity for the applicant group;
  • contribute to the promotion of respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • be consistent with existing international human rights instruments and the requirement for mutual respect between communities, groups and individuals, and for sustainable development;
  • be the subject of a conservation plan drawn up by the applicant.

To be eligible, the element must meet all of the above conditions.

How to proceed

Filing an application

The request for inclusion of an element in the national intangible heritage must be made in writing to the Ministry of Culture.

Applicants must provide certain information about the group they represent (address, telephone number, website, etc.).

They must also provide certain information about the element to be listed, including:

  • the element's name;
  • the field in which the element manifests itself;
  • the communities, groups and individuals associated with the element and who maintain and transmit it;
  • a description of the element as it is currently practised in Luxembourg and which justifies the inclusion of the element in the inventory of intangible heritage;
  • the possible material and spatio-temporal elements that make up the element;
  • current modes of learning and transmission of knowledge and skills related to the element;
  • the element's historical context;
  • an explanation of its current social functions and cultural meanings within and for its community;
  • the existing or planned presentation and safeguarding measures to ensure its transmission to current and future generations;
  • the characteristics of the holders or practitioners of the element;
  • any other information likely to substantiate that the item meets the legal criteria.

Supporting documents

Applicants must attach a minimum of 10 royalty-free images to the application form.

For each inventoried element the following should be attached:

  • stories or inventories related to the practice and tradition of the element; and/or
  • a photographic documentation; and/or
  • an audiovisual documentation presenting the element in its current state; and/or
  • a summary bibliography, filmography or sitography of reference works published in relation to the element.

Processing of the application

The inventory of intangible cultural heritage is updated after each new inscription and is accessible to the public in electronic form.

Good to know

It is the responsibility of the Minister of Culture to take all necessary measures for the safeguarding, recognition, respect and promotion of intangible cultural heritage, such as:

  • educational, awareness-raising and information programmes for the public, especially young people;
  • specific educational programmes and training courses within the communities and groups concerned;
  • capacity-building activities for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, in particular with regard to management and scientific research activities;
  • non-formal means of transmitting knowledge.

Who to contact

Ministry of Culture

Related procedures and links

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