Unesco inscribed Kaustinen fiddle playing and the Nordic cliker boat tradition to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Currently, Unesco’s lists of intangible cultural heritage include more than 600 elements from around the world.
Finland’s first element on the lists is the sauna culture, which was inscribed in December 2020. Now, the list will be complemented with Kaustinen fiddle playing, estimated to be played by several hundred people of all ages.
– Finnish folk music and the Kaustinen fiddle playing have earned their place amongst elements like reggae, fado, flamenco and tango, says Senior Adviser Leena Marsio, who manages matters pertaining to UNESCO and living traditions at the Finnish Heritage Agency.
One important factor as to why this tradition has been so successfully passed on from generation to generation is the internationally acclaimed method of näppäri pedagogics. These days, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, first held in 1968, is the most important Finnish folk music festival, both domestically and globally, with more than 4,000 amateur and professional performers every year.
Picture: Finnish Folk Music Institution, Lauri Oino
– Cultural tourism is one of the aspects of tourism that speaks to many nationalities. However, the Finnish culture offering is not very well known, so getting on the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage is really valuable. We can be really proud of Kaustinen fiddle playing, that gives us a completely new kind of international visibility, says Visit Finland's Development Director Kati Paasi.
Finland is also a partner in an inscription concerning Nordic clinker boat tradition. Clinker boats have been used in the north for thousands of years, and they have been highly important to maritime transport in all the Nordic countries. To this day, hundreds of thousands of these wooden boats can be found on Finland’s shores, and they are used for fishing and rowing. However, these days Finland only has around 50 professional boat builders.
Kuva: Kultur Österbotten, Dan-Erik Olsen