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Denmark-Germany border could be added to Unesco heritage list

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Denmark-Germany border could be added to Unesco heritage list
File photo: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix
12:10 CET+01:00
The border area between Denmark and Germany should be included on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List, according to Danish Minister for Culture Mette Bock.

Bock has decided to nominate the border for inclusion on the list, one of the lesser-known of the UN's world heritage lists.

Unesco, the UN's organisation for education, science, knowledge and communication, established the list in 2008.

Unlike other Unesco lists, which protect material cultural heritage such as buildings, the Intangible Cultural Heritage List has the stated goal of protecting important intangible cultural heritages worldwide.

Bock said that the Denmark-Germany border area was “unique” and offered valuable lessons about life in border regions.

“The cooperation there has been between the minority and the majority on both sides of the Denmark-Germany border is, in a world with major border conflicts, a huge inspiration and should be even more recognised as such,” she said.

The application will be processed next year – providing a symbolic sense of timing, according to Bock, with 2020 marking the 100-year anniversary of the return of part of southern Jutland to Danish control in a referendum following the end of the First World War.

“I can't imagine a better birthday present than to be given recognition from Unesco,” she said.

In addition to the border, the autonomous government in Greenland has nominated the territory's Qilaatersorneq drum dance and song for inclusion on the list.

“This is a very, very old tradition, and there has been concern it might disappear. So there has been work in Greenland to ensure this tradition will be passed on to future generations,” Bock said.

Inclusion of the two nominations on the list would represent a boost for Denmark's culture and tourism.

“It means something for us and for our self-awareness, but also for tourism and narratives of the cultural heritage we have here in Denmark,” the minister said.

Denmark has a total of seven material Unesco cultural heritage sites.

These include Kronborg Castle, the Jelling Monuments, Roskilde Cathedral and an Inuit hunting ground in Greenland.

The white cliffs on the island of Møn and Greenland's Ilulissat Icefjord are among the natural Unesco heritage sites listed for Denmark.

Intangible cultural heritage is defined by Unesco as practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

The application for inclusion of the border area will be submitted in partnership with Germany, according to the plan, and is also supported by the Danish Royal Library.

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