Intangible Cultural Heritage

Living or intangible heritage is a less known category in the protection of cultural heritage. It belongs within the international framework of the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was ratified by Slovenia in 2008 under the Act Ratifying the Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Similar to immovable and movable cultural heritage, intangible heritage is divided into two categories: heritage and monuments.

Living heritage comprises intangible assets, such as practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills which communities, groups, and sometimes also individuals pass down from one generation to another and are continuously reproducing them. The Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage is a specialised list of intangible cultural heritage of Slovenia maintained by the Ministry of Culture. An initiative for inclusion may be given by anyone – an individual, society, institution, etc. Inclusion in the Register is proposed by the Coordinator for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, whose tasks have since 2011 been performed by the Slovene Ethnographic Museum.

On the initiative or proposal of the Coordinator, the intangible heritage entered in the register may, in a further procedure, be declared a monument – living masterpiece. Based on its significance, a living masterpiece may be of national or local importance. The declaration of a living masterpiece serves to showcase the protected elements of intangible heritage that need to be adequately protected.

The Slovenian Register of Intangible Heritage was established in 2008 with the entry of its first unit – Škofjeloški pasijon (Škofja Loka Passion Play). The second unit entered was the Cerkljanska laufarija (Cerkno Carnival figures) in 2012. In 2013 the list was enriched with two units – Klekljanje idrijske čipke (Making of Idrija bobbin lace) and Godbeništvo (Brass band activities). The initiative for their inclusion was given in September 2012 by the Idrija Municipal Museum. Entered as the bearer of the first of these two units (Making of Idrija bobbin lace) is the Idrija Lace School, which is continuously responsible for the preservation, transfer and development of Idrija bobbin lacemaking skills. In 2016 the unit was declared intangible heritage of national importance.
Within the second unit (Brass band activities), a special place is held by the Idrija Miners' Brass Band, believed to be the oldest brass band in Europe.