Fête des Vignerons submitted for inscription in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Bern, 30.03.2015 - The application for the Fête des Vignerons in Vevey to be inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has today been officially submitted to UNESCO. It is the first such application from Switzerland. The Intergovernmental Committee’s decision will be made public in November 2016, after an evaluation process which will take several months.

The Fête des Vignerons in Vevey, a major event in French-speaking Switzerland combining the performing arts and social customs, has been adopted by the Federal Office of Culture FOC as the first application submitted from Switzerland for inscription in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Organised around five times a century, the Fête des Vignerons (Winegrowers Festival) is a clear embodiment of the ideas of transmission and intergenerational dialogue – but also respect for tradition coupled with innovation – that characterise UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Originally created to celebrate and advance the techniques of wine-making, it also ties in with the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a World Heritage site since 2007, enabling both to be jointly safeguarded and maintained. 

Last October, the Federal Council approved an indicative list of the eight Swiss traditions which will form the subject of applications for inscription as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In addition to the Fête des Vignerons it includes avalanche risk management, watchmaking, Swiss graphic design and typography, the seasonal migration of livestock, yodelling, the Holy Week Processions in Mendrisio, and the Basel Carnival.

Swiss applications are drawn up in partnership with the practitioners concerned. They can be submitted in March each year, with a view to inclusion in autumn of the following year. Normally, only one national application can be submitted in each cycle, with an exception being made for multinational applications. The Federal Council did not set any priorities between the various traditions on its list, all of which are of equal interest. The order in which the applications are presented therefore reflects their degree of preparation.

The application on behalf of the Fête des Vignerons will be evaluated on the basis of five criteria: the degree to which it meets the definition of intangible cultural heritage, its contribution to increasing the visibility of the topic, the quality of the safeguarding measures proposed, the participation of the community concerned, and its inclusion in an inventory.

A 24-nation Intergovernmental Committee decides on whether the applicant will be added to the list in autumn of the year following submission. Its decision is based on a recommendation made by an evaluating body consisting of twelve experts from various parts of the world, half of them representing NGOs accredited with UNESCO and half States Parties to the Convention that are not members of the Committee.

The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage raises awareness of and protects a heritage that essentially does not consist of monuments and objects and exists not so much in space as in time, community practices and social interactions. It is a heritage that includes living traditions such as oral expressions, the performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. It thus testifies to human creativity and reflects the full diversity of cultural expressions around the world.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage is distinct from World Cultural and Natural Heritage, for which Switzerland successfully achieved the inscription of 11 properties between 1983 and 2011, including the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces site. 

For more information (in German, French or Italian) on the indicative list of Swiss applications for inscription as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, see: www.bak.admin.ch/IKE

Further information on the Fête des Vignerons can be found on the website devoted to the Swiss inventory of intangible cultural heritage: www.lebendigetraditionen.ch

Address for enquiries

Julia Dao, International affairs, section Culture and society, Federal Office of culture, +41 58 46 37260, julia.dao@bak.admin.ch


Federal Office of Cultural Affairs

Last modification 15.12.2023

Top of page