Slovenia in multinational bid to get midwifery on UNESCO list

Ljubljana – The government gave its go-ahead on Thursday for Slovenia to take part in a multinational bid to get midwifery listed on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

Preparations for the nomination, which needs to be submitted by 31 March, are led by Germany, with the other countries involved being Columbia, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Nigeria and Togo.

As intangible heritage, midwifery is linked to public health, child and family care and women’s empowerment as a foundation for the well-being of the whole community, the Culture Ministry noted.

Birth is not only a biological process, but essentially a cultural one. The skills and knowledge of midwifery have been protected, developed and passed on by communities over many generations, complemented by direct experience, observation and interaction with the human body, it added.

The ministry prepared the Slovenian part of the nomination project with the National Institute of Public Health in cooperation with several associations of nurses and midwives, among others.

A midwifery school was founded in Ljubljana in 1753, and the first maternity hospital in Slovenia was established in 1789. Today, there is also a special midwifery course available at the Ljubljana medical school.

Slovenia has currently four listings on the UNESCO inventory of intangible heritage: the Škofja Loka passion play; rounds made by the kurenti, the best known Slovenian carnival figures; bobbin lace making; and as part of a multinational entry the art of dry stone walling.

It is also part of the multinational nomination for the Lipizzaner horse breeding and has also nominated the beekeeping tradition in Slovenia. The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is to decide on the two nominations at the end of the year.