Considering the DRAFT Decision of the Evaluation Body

Genossenschaften have been put on the list Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity despite the negative advice of the Unesco Evaluation Body. Below the reasoning for accepting the nomination.

Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.B.14

The Committee

  • Takes note that Germany has nominated Idea and practice of organizing shared interests in cooperatives (No. 01200) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

A cooperative is an association of volunteers that provides services of a social, cultural or economic nature to members of the community to help improve living standards, overcome shared challenges and promote positive change. Based on the subsidiarity principle that puts personal responsibility above state action, cooperatives allow for community building through shared interests and values creating innovative solutions to societal problems, from generating employment and assisting seniors to urban revitalization and renewable energy projects. Anyone can participate, with members also able to acquire shares in the association and have a say in its future direction. The system makes available low-interest loans to farmers, craftspeople and entrepreneurs. Today, about a quarter of Germany’s population are members of a cooperative, which besides farmers and craftspeople, includes 90 per cent of its bakers and butchers and 75 per cent of its retailers. Some cooperatives have also been set up specifically for students to gain experience. Associated knowledge and skills are transmitted by cooperatives, universities, the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation, the Akademie Deutscher Genossenschaften, the German Hermann-Schulze-Delitzsch Society and the German Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen Society.

  • Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The idea and practice of pursuing shared interests in cooperatives has been handed down in Germany from generation to generation and constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention. While collaboration through cooperatives is a worldwide phenomenon, specific characteristics of the community in Germany have been highlighted in the nomination. Mutual respect, equality and solidarity between the bearers are guaranteed by law, resulting from the initiative of the community. Social and cultural purposes are prominent among the shared interests pursued through cooperatives. Throughout Germany, two large associations of volunteers jointly promote the transmission of knowledge and the social practice. All practitioners of the element identify with this community in social, cultural and economic terms;

R.2:   The element’s inscription will contribute to ensuring visibility and awareness of intangible cultural heritage because the large number of bearers and practitioners in Germany will act as multipliers in various domains of daily life like education and culture, house building and renting, agriculture, skilled crafts, transport, credit system etc. Due to its effectiveness in satisfying existential needs, the element clearly shows the part played by intangible cultural heritage in ensuring social cohesion and sustainable development. Inscription will also encourage dialogue among communities with similar cooperative organizations, and the promotion of certain values, such as solidarity;

R.3:   The viability of the element is being ensured by initiatives carried out by the German Hermann-Schulze-Delitzsch Society and the German Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen Society, with the support of the submitting State. New safeguarding measures are proposed such as public relations campaigns, competitions, work in schools on the topic of cooperatives, and a cross-border thematic cultural hiking trail. The file recognizes that the element could be decontextualized by legal frameworks that undermine its basic principles and that ongoing negotiations in this respect are necessary. German development cooperation promotes the element in other countries as a response to societal challenges only if and where local partners express such a need and in strict compliance with national laws and regulations of the countries concerned;

R.4:  The file was prepared with the cooperation of representatives of the German Hermann‑Schulze-Delitzsch Society and the German Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen Society. The file presents letters expressing the free, prior and informed consent of these two representative institutions. The broad-based consultation with the variety of stakeholders of the element has been carried out in an extensive participatory process of national inventorying (2013). Support for the element’s nomination for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was confirmed via the public media and through internal communication processes within the cooperatives;

R.5:   The file presents a relevant extract of inscription of the element on the German Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. Traditional bearers, communities and non-governmental organizations were involved in the inscription process. The inventory is organized, maintained and updated by the German National Commission for UNESCO.

  • Inscribes Idea and practice of organizing shared interests in cooperatives on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

Thanks the delegation of Germany for the clarifications provided to the Committee on the information included in the file concerning criteria R.1, R.2, R.3 and R.4.

Schultze-Delitzsch Gesellschaft supports nomination Dutch National Inventory

The Hermann Schultze-Delitzsch Gesellschaft supports the nomination of the Governors’ and Memento Mori Associations of Nieuwendam. They regard the co-operative movement as elementary for the Dutch Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Schultze-Delitzsch Gesellschaft is one of the two organisations that has put forward an application for the Genossenschaften on the Word Heritage List of UNESCO. The nomination will be discussed in the week of 28 november 2016 in Addis Abeba on a UNESCO convention.


(Following: an excerpt from Wikipedia 11-’16)

Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch (29 August 1808 – 29 April 1883) was a German politician and economist. He was responsible for the organizing of the world’s first credit unions. He was also co-founder of the German Progress Party.

Schultze-Delitzsch devoted himself to the organization and development of co-operation in Germany, and to the foundation of Vorschussvereine(peoples’ banks), of which he had established the first at Delitzsch in 1850. In 1859 the more than 200 such banks were centrally organized under the direction of Schulze-Delitzsch. He promoted the first Genossenschaftstag, a co-operative meeting, in Weimar, and founded a central bureau of co-operative societies. In 1861 he again entered the Prussian Chamber, and became a prominent member of the Progressist party.

The spread of these co-operative organizations naturally led to legislation on the subject, and this too was chiefly the work of Schulze-Delitzsch. As a member of the Chamber in 1867 he was mainly instrumental in passing the Prussian law of association, which was extended to the North German Confederation in 1868, and later to the empire. Schulze-Delitzsch also contributed to uniformity of legislation throughout the states of Germany, in 1869, by the publication of Die Gesetzgebung über die privatrechtliche Stellung der Erwerbs- und Wirthschaftsgenossenschaften, etc.[1]

Both as a writer and a member of the Reichstag his industry was incessant, and he died in harness on 29 April 1883 at Potsdam, leaving the reputation of a benefactor to the smaller tradesmen and artisans. At the time of his death, there were in Germany alone 3,500 co-operative banking branches with more than $100,000,000 in deposits, while the system had been extended to Austria, Italy, Belgium and Russia.[2] His work was noteworthy enough to attain mention in Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina.