Traditional militia groups in the province of Noord-Brabant are being put on the Dutch cultural heritage list, ensuring their annual festivals will continue.
These schuttersgilden were originally voluntary city guards or citizen militia in the medieval and early modern Netherlands. Their role was to protect the town or city from attack and act in case of revolt or fire.
They were usually grouped according to their district and their choice of weapon: bow, crossbow or rifle. They feature in many paintings, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.
The name schutterij is now applied to ceremonial shooting clubs and to the country’s Olympic rifle team.
Their inclusion on the cultural heritage list safeguards their annual reenactments, complete with rich costumes, banners, drums and shooting competitions.
Already on the list are traditional events and crafts such as king’s day and clog makers.
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