Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Pitch extraction in Lower Austria

Applicant: Ernst Schagl i.V. Arbeitsgemeinschaft niederösterreichische Pecherstraße
Province: Lower Austria
Domain: Traditional Craftsmanship
Year of inclusion: 2011

The craftsmanship of “Pecherei“ has been practised for many centuries as a way of extracting resins (pitch) from pine trees. Here, the bole is injured on a superficial level as a way of activating the resinosis. The obtained resin, the so-called tar (“pech”), is processed in refineries and boiling-houses where it is turned into turpentine oil and colophony. These intermediate products used to form the basis of the industrial fabrication of paper, lacquer, paint, soap and many other products.

For centuries, the guild of resin extractors shaped the landscape, economy and culture of the South-Eastern part of Lower Austria in a sustainable manner. Although this tradition once formed the livelihood for thousands of families of that region, only eight active resin extractors (“Pecher”) in Austria remain. Their resin is delivered to Richard Schreieck in Hernstein of the Baden region, who owns the last independent resin extraction company (“Pecherei”) in Central Europe.