Recognition of European fairground culture making progress

By | February 21, 2019

The recognition of European fairground culture as an intangible cultural heritage in the sense of the UNESCO Convention is on the right track. This is the central result of an international panel discussion to which the European Showmen’s Union invited to Essen on 30 January.

Expert speakers from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany discussed the background to the application and the UNESCO application process with showmen and showwomen from ten European nations. Representatives from the ESU member associations provided supplementary information on their experiences with the inclusion of fairgrounds in the respective national lists of intangible cultural heritage. At the end of the constructive session the European Showmen’s Union was commissioned to coordinate an application to UNESCO for recognition of European fairground culture. For this purpose a working group of experts will be formed under the leadership of the ESU.

The international ESU meeting took place in the context of the 70th General Meeting of the delegates of the German Showmen’s Association (DSB) and the interschau, the largest trade show for travelling showmen in Europe.

Strong demonstration of European Showmen unity
Following the panel discussion the participants took part in the traditional large mass rally of the German Showmen’s Association in the Gruga Halle in Essen. Together with their German colleagues the representatives of the ESU national associations impressively demonstrated the European solidarity of showmen. The traditional flag march with more than 100 flags was the highlight of the event.

In their speeches the German Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil, Vice-President of the NRW State Parliament Carina Gödecke, NRW State Labour Minister Karl-Josef Laumann, SPD Chairwoman and Chairwoman of the SPD Parliamentary Group Andrea Nahles as well as Essen’s Mayor Thomas Kufen congratulated the ESU on the 65th anniversary and emphasised the importance of European fairground culture for a free, peaceful and united Europe. President Albert Ritter warned that the centuries-old culture of the European fairgrounds would only survive if the framework conditions for the showmen were right.

Above all the lack of manpower is currently a problem threatening the existence of companies in Europe.