Group wants Oktoberfest named ‘intangible’ UNESCO site

Group wants Oktoberfest named 'intangible' UNESCO site
Booze and boobs: A precious piece of German culture? Photo: DPA
The German festival association DSB wants Munich’s Oktoberfest to be added to the UNESCO’s list as an Intangible Cultural Heritage element, daily tz reported on Tuesday.

According to the association, the traditional Bavarian beer bash on the Wiesn apparently has the same influence on culture as World Heritage Sites like the pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal or Stonehenge, and they want it to be recognized as a cultural monument under UNESCO protection, DSB revealed at their annual meeting in Berlin this week, though they aren’t likely to go far UNESCO has said.

“At the moment the Oktoberfest has no reasonable chance to get on the list,” UNESCO spokesperson Dieter Offenhäußer told The Local on Tuesday.

The Local’s Oktoberfest opening gallery.

While the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into force after ratification by 30 countries in 2006, Germany is amongst the countries that haven’t signed the documents yet.

“Even if Germany ratified the convention now, there is still a certain procedure to follow and the condition would be that there is a choice of other elements Germany would like to have added to the list,” Offenhäußer said.

Oxherding and oxcart traditions in Costa Rica and processional giants and dragons in Belgium and France are among some 90 elements included on the list, and had to be proven worthy in a variety of criteria before making the intangibles list.

More Oktoberfest photos!

“It is surely worth preservation, but the proposal is purely speculative,” Offenhäußer said, adding that every new element is subject to evaluations by cultural experts and ethnologists.

Culture Minister Bernd Neumann doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with the DSB either. Even though he said festivals are “of great cultural importance,” calling them “culture for everyone” at the meeting, he seemed unsure of what to make of the intangible UNESCO element proposal, tz reported.

Germany is currently home to 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Cologne’s massive cathedral and the most recent addition of Modernist Housing Estates in Berlin.

The Local’s guide to Oktoberfest