Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Field names in Vorarlberg

Applicant: Mag. Dieter Petras, Thomas Gamon und BM Mag. Harald Sonderegger
Province: Vorarlberg
Domain: Oral Traditions
Year of inclusion: 2011

Due to the fact that large distances often separate the farmland from villages and farm yards, it used to be very important to specify the exact location when finalising contracts, constructing path descriptions and calculating the contributions. Over hundreds of years, these field names formed a natural part of the rural realities of life. Only during the profound agricultural restructuring which occurred after the Second World War (mainly in the 1960s) did many of these farmland names become obsolete and threatened by extinction.

The Commission of Nomenclature brought many of these already forgotten field names back to life. The hydraulic construction engineer Werner Vogt from the village of Hard dedicated himself to the documentation of farmland names by hiking through and exploring the entirety of the province of Vorarlberg. The result of his research was published in nine books, including a plenitude of maps. These prove that farmland names exist in all 96 municipalities, while constituting an important element of their linguistic and socio-historic cultural heritage.