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Source: Swiss Canton de Vaud – news in French

Press release

Posted on December 16, 2020

The know-how of watchmaking mechanics and mechanical art are officially inscribed on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Having actively worked on the census of Vaud’s intangible heritage, the Cultural Affairs Department (SERAC) is very pleased with this listing. It contributes to the mission of raising awareness and recognizing this precious heritage of the Jura Arc, still taught in the canton. The candidature file, resulting from a Franco-Swiss collaboration, received the praise of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee.

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The application for know-how in watchmaking and mechanical engineering submitted to UNESCO includes watchmaking craftsmanship present in the Jura Arc – from Geneva to Schaffhausen and from Biel to Besançon – as well as the manufacture of automatons and typical music boxes from the Sainte-Croix region. The compilation of the dossier, led by the Federal Office of Culture in collaboration with artisans, trainers, museums and local authorities in the Franco-Swiss area, will have required more than a year of work.

SERAC is delighted to measure the progress made over the past ten years in terms of the consideration of the knowledge and know-how put in the spotlight today. Since 2018, the Professional Center of the North of Vaud (CPNV) has offered continuing education entitled “Secrets de Maîtres” and an Interreg “Arc horloger” project which is being deployed across borders. It is led for Switzerland by the association UNESCO’s recognition crowns the efforts made and the developments undertaken by offering magnificent visibility to the region and to the skills it hosts.

Switzerland ratified the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008 and can therefore send UNESCO one nomination file per year. Among the eight traditions selected in 2014 by the Federal Council to represent the country, the Canton of Vaud can be proud to be involved in five of them: the Fête des Vignerons registered in 2016, the management of the risk of avalanches registered in 2018, the know-how in watchmaking and mechanical engineering registered this year, but also the Alpine Season or even Swiss graphic and typographic design which will be the subject of subsequent applications.

As a reminder, “intangible cultural heritage” is made up of practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and know-how identified by communities or individuals as being part of their cultural heritage as well as of their identity. It is constantly transmitted and enriched.

State of Vaud Information and Communication Office


DFJC, Cesla Amarelle, State Councilor,021 316 30 01
DFIRE, Pascal Broulis, State Councilor,021 316 20 01
DFJC, Ariane Devanthéry, Head of Movable and Intangible Heritage, Department of Cultural Affairs,,021 316 07 51
OFC, Julien Vuilleumier, scientific collaborator Intangible Cultural Heritage, Culture and Society Section, Federal Office of Culture,,058 467 89 75


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