Co-operative Movement of the Netherlands on the National Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage?

tempel blauwFoundation Journey of the Razzia (Reis van de Razzia) has put forward a proposal to list the Co-operative Movement of the Netherlands on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The proposal wil be evaluated in November 2016, somewhere at the time the German application to put the Genossenschaften on the Word heritage reference list of UNESCO wil be decided. The Dutch proposal is effectively put forward by the Associations ‘To Our Avail’ and ‘Memento Mori’. The proposal is backed by the National Co-operative Museum. 

(The following comes from the research report). 

The research project ‘Chronicle of a Gov’s Association’ has established by fact that the Association “To Our Avail” is not an isolated biotope. The Association was able to respond adequately to the evolving economical circumstances and this has contributed to her longevity. “To Our Avail”’ has also empowered the local community for more than a century by strengthening social cohesion. Apart from that, the flexibility of the economy increased because the cooperative movements lead to a greater diversity of business structures. 

The attention for cooperative forms can be traced back to the early Middle Ages. ”At that time”, argues Prof. De Moor, ”there was a Silent Revolution, because it didn’t evolve riots, but the construction of new social institutions”. The current economical cycles we are experiencing are, according to the De Moor, evidence of a new Silent Revolution. New Business-models increasingly incorporate cooperative principles as a solution for the dwindling Welfare-State. Nevertheless, despite her longstanding history, the cooperative principles are not always being carried forward by businesses presenting themselves as “commons”. The up and coming Sharing Economy and changing structures of some well-known Cooperative Banks seriously contribute to this wide-spread disorientation. 

Nurturing of and promoting the cooperative principles encourages new forms of Institutions for Collective Action orientate and helps to prevent confusion. The project ‘Chronicle of The Governor’s Association’ provides a modest contribution by securing the importance and the history of this local cooperative through immortalizing the personal stories and minutes of ”To Our Avail” and by situating them in the context of their times. In line with this we propose the Cooperative Movement as a suitable candidate for the Dutch National Intangible Heritage Inventory.[1] At present our request coincides with the current application to the UNESCO Commission Germany for the Genossenshaften to be included on the Representative List for the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Association “To Our Avail” is very proud to be part of this movement and is looking forward to see the German application for UNESCO accepted by November 2016.

(Translation: Jeanette Tierney)