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Boardgames recognized as cultural heritage

The "German board game culture" has made it: the UNESCO Commission in Thuringia has placed it on its state list of intangible cultural heritages. This shows the state's appreciation for the 50-year-old culture of board game meetings, designer days and many other ways of experiencing board games in Germany. Thuringia will also propose the topic for inclusion in the Federal List of Intangible Cultural Heritage to further emphasize the importance of our tradition.

The Altenburger Spieletage and the Ali-Baba Spieleclub in Nuremberg with its eleven regional associations have been particularly committed to the inclusion in the state list in Thuringia. They were supported by Prof. Jens Junge, Director of the Institute for Ludology in Berlin and the two non-profit board game cafés Spielzeitcafé from Flensburg and Spielecafé der Generationen - Jung und Alt spielt from Pfarrkirchen. The fact that Dagmar de Cassan and Maria and Walter Schranz had transferred the Austrian Games Museum's collection of over 31,000 games to Altenburg in Thuringia some time ago was also of great significance.

Their commitment to "German board game culture" has now been officially recognized with the presentation of the certificate by the Thuringian State Secretary for Culture, Tina Beer, on 16 May 2024.

Important step to federal recognition

The regional directory depicts regionally significant cultural forms and thus shows the cultural diversity of the federal state. Inclusion in this list is a great honor for traditions that cultivate traditional customs and festivals, handicraft techniques and artistic forms of expression in the spirit of UNESCO. The next step for the initiators is inclusion in the Federal Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage lists in order to make the cultural form and its sponsorship even more visible to the public.

Prof. Dr. Karin Falkenberg and Tom Werneck also took an important step towards the cultural recognition of board games in Bavaria a few years ago. In 2019, the Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg, the Bayerisches Spiele-Archiv in Munich and the Deutsches Spielearchiv were recognized as best-practice locations for the promotion of board games.

Decision for federal list in 2025

Next spring will show whether the "German board game culture" will also receive the recognition it deserves nationwide. A decision will then be made on the new entries in the nationwide directory. Perhaps our hobby will then be included and become part of the list of around 150 entries, which is intended to show which cultural traditions and forms of expression are alive and being passed on in Germany.

v.l.t.r.: Maria Schranz (Spielefest Wien), Staatssekretärin Tina Beer, Prof. Dr. Karin Falkenberg (Deutsches Spielearchiv Nürnberg bis 2018, Stiftung Spielen), Jennifer Kühnold-Engel (Altenburger Spieletage), Gabriele Orymek (Altenburger Spieletage), Sarah-Ann Orymek (Altenburger Spieletage), Christian Wallisch (Ali-Baba-Spieleclub Nürnberg), Walter Schranz (Spielefest Wien), Dagmar de Cassan (Spielefest Wien and donor of 31,000 board games for Altenburg), Tom Werneck (Bayerisches Spiele-Archiv, Spielekreis Haar, Co-Founder Spiel-des-Jahres e.V.), Prof. Dr. Jens Junge (Institut für Ludologie Berlin, Spielezeitcafé Flensburg, Stiftung Spielen) and Michael Schöne (Altenburger Spieletage). picutre: TSK