Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Meadow irrigation in the Queichwiesen between Landau and Germersheim

The technique of meadow irrigation, which is quite rare today, is still used along the Queich, a tributary of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate. It is based on the sustainable use of water as a natural resource and requires special knowledge based on experiences. Today, committed farmers, associations and foundations pass on the tradition and raise awareness through guided tours and interactive exhibitions. In this way, knowledge of nature conservation, of natural history and of biodiversity remains in existence.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: throughout the year
Inscription: 2018
Domains: Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; oral traditions and expressions, traditional craftsmanship
Where to find: along the Queich, from Landau to Bellheim in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate

Contact

Community of interest "Queichwiesen"
Pirmin Hilsendegen
Queich-bew.ike@web.de

For more than 500 years, meadow irrigation has been of great importance to agriculture all over. It is still used along the Queich whereas it nearly went missing in many other regions. Required knowledge and skills have been handed down from generation to generation since the Middle Ages. To irrigate the meadows, the Queich is damed so that the the water floods the meadows and seps away.

Farmers and volunteers support the project of meadow irrigation. Participants strengthen particular knowledge the entire community benefits from, which is why these cooperative structures and the resulting cultural landscapes create a sense of team spirit and shared identity. The meadows of the Queich, "Queichwiesen", and their irrigation have become a characteristic feature of the region. Inhabitants as well as tourists pay increasing attention to it.

In addition to having good hay harvest for farmers, which is possible despite the absence of fertilization, the meadows offer an idyllic natural spectacle in summer time. Before moving south, hundreds of storks gather in the meadows for summer irrigation to find food. This phenomenon especially attracts attention among the population and tourists. Throughout Europe, there are various activities that promote traditional irrigation techniques. The community of the "Queichwiesen" strengthens cooperation in Europe across borders in order to promote the idea of sustainability and biodiversity, as well as safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Publication

Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019

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