About us

  Neuseeland-Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara Maori Culture Group, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest 2005; Foto: Beate Guder

  SMU AL AZHAR aus Indonesien, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest 2003; Foto: Beate Guder

Since 1970, the CIOFF® works at the international level for the preservation and trans-national dissemination of traditional culture. It supports particularly the intangible handed down heritage which is expressed in dances, music, games, conventions, costumes and other customs.

It supports the activities of its members and works with non-governmental organizations that are active in fields of folklore and cultural heritage.

The CIOFF® is acting with his work for international understanding and peace.

The CIOFF® is divided into six sectors (North, Central Europe, Southern Europe and Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania and Europe). These sectors are divided into national sections and the CIOFF® Deutschland e. V. is one of them.


  Bogyiszlo Nepiegyüttes from Ungarn/Bogyiszlo, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest 2003

  La Reunion - Les Etincelles Panonnaises, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest 2005; Photo: Beate Guder

Often seen at international costume festivals except the flags of the participating groups of guests, a white flag with a blue globe and the inscription "CIOFF®" is blowing. This flag indicates that the organizer of the global CIOFF® is connected and thus guarantees a certain quality of the participating groups and the festival.

CIOFF® moves...

It is responsible for traditional and popular culture, but the outstanding aspect is the folklore and international understanding. The main activities are reflected in the great music and folk dance festivals. The CIOFF® is coordinating over 300 events annually and regulates the exchange of folklore groups with more than 50,000 amateurs. It also participates in numerous programs with UNESCO conferences and exhibitions, and transmits cultural heritage onto children and young people.

Collaboration with UNESCO

On September 29, 2003 the General conference of UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Federal Republic of Germany is intending to ratify this convention still in 2012. As soon as this Ratification is in effect, CIOFF® Germany, who is already in contact with the German UNESCO Commission on this field, will play a part in the compilation of the German inventory. On June 06, 2012 the CIOFF® World Organization was accredited as a Non Governmental Organization to provide advisory service to the Committee of the UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Every 4 years the world-folkloriada

Every 4 years the CIOFF® is organizing the world-folkloriada. It is the largest festival of its kind in the world, comparable to the Olympics, and will be held with over 2,500 participants. Each member country is committed to come up with its best and most interesting groups. Folk dance, folk songs, folk music, folk costumes and traditional art will be presented. The Folkloriada is reflecting a large cross-section of each continent.


Every year a "festival calendar" is published all over the world in which you can see when and where the festivals are taking place in the CIOFF®-world. This CIOFF® Festival calendar is compiled by Norbert Mueller, Chairman of the CIOFF® Festivals Commission and Wolfgang Denke Otterbein, Coordinator for the Festivals Calendar. Both are members of CIOFF® Germany. In addition, there is a biannual CIOFF® newsletter (in English, French and spanish) as well as reports on various topics.



The "Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels (CIOFF®)" was founded in 1970 in France as a non-governmental cultural organization of UNESCO. The later accession of Germany has to be seen differentiated, as there had been at that time, two German states.

Development in the German Democratic Republic

In 1973 for the first time a delegation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) took part at the annual meeting of the CIOFF® in Zakopane / Poland. This imposed in 1974 the participation at the international folklore festival in Confolens / France by the folklore ensemble from Rudolstadt and at other festivals, which took place at the initiative of CIOFF®
Until 1976, the Ministry of Culture took advantage of membership in the CIOFF®, after which the secretary for international non-governmental organizations established in the ethnic work. It had to coordinate among its tasks, the work in the appropriate international organizations with the respective sponsoring organizations. In this era amongst others the CIOFF® World Congress in 1983 in Gera took place. By 1990, the GDR remained the CIOFF® under this leadership.

The beginnings of the Federal Republic of Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany the organizers of the festivals in Neustadt, Scheeßel, Laggenbeck, Kröv, Bitburg, Wehrheim, Burg Ludwigstein und Marburg-Biedenkopf formed together a joint venture in 1975. In the same year Bernd Schäfer took part for the first time at the CIOFF® Annual General Meeting in Szeged / Hungary. On 01.06.1977 he was then also recognized by the "Joint Conference of the cultural ministers of the Länder" as representative of the Federal Republic of Germany in World CIOFF® association. In May 1976, already the first meeting of the Board of the International CIOFF® was arranged in Schlitz / Hessen.

The founding of the German section

In 1977 the General Assembly of CIOFF® decided at its annual meeting in Istanbul / Turkey to found sections in its member countries. This was the occasion to convene a first meeting on 18.02.1978 for the establishment of a national section in German CIOFF® in Schlitz. After extensive discussions it was decided to organize another meeting in October in Scheeßel. 

At this first meeting also a delegation from Luxembourg took part who expressed interest in a membership. A draft constitution was prepared which should be finally adopted at the next meeting. The founding document was signed by the following organizations: folklore groups of Angersbach, Schlitz, Cölbe, Lauterbach, Heppenheim, Wehrheim, Jugendburg Ludwigstein - all from Hessen -, Laggenbeck/Westfalen, Scheeßel and Hermannsburg from Niedersachsen, the tourist association Kröv/Mosel and Mersch/Luxemburg. 

The next meeting took place in March 1979 in Cölbe. There the statute was again revised and finally adopted without dissent. It was incorporated the terms that extend the activities of CIOFF® section Germany on the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. At all these meetings the Belgian CIOFF® delegate Siegfried Verbeelen participated actively. He played a decisive role in ensuring that everything could be completed as quickly and as smoothly within a year.

The first 10 years

In the autumn of the same year a managing-committee could have been elected for the first time in Wehrheim / Taunus. In April 1983 the board meeting of the World federation took place in Mersch / Luxembourg. 1984 the national CIOFF®-section agreed to organize the international CIOFF® conference in Schlitz after the UdSSR cancelled the already agreed implementation of this meeting. 67 delegates from 34 nations were present at the event. 

At the annual meeting of the National CIOFF® in September 1988 in Scheeßel an anniversary event took place on the occasion of the 10-year existence. The program was designed by some member folkloric groups. All participants were accommodated free of charge in families.

From 1990 all-German ...

Following the merger of the two German states in October 1990 there was an all-German meeting. It was agreed that the statute must be adapted to the new circumstances. In future, all persons who hold office in the world association, should automatically be members of the board of the national section. Rosemarie Engel, long Delegate of the GDR, was therefore provisionally appointed to the board. Upon entry into force of the new statute, the charitable status was requested and obtained in 1993. 

In 2001, Hans Joachim Wiesmüller and Bernd Schaefer attended a reception at Mr. Rau (Federal President). The members of the German delegations have always introduced themselves and actively participated at international level. Rosemarie Engel was from 1981 to 2000 Member of the "Legal Commission" (Statutes Commission). Bernd Schäfer is since the founding of the festival commission in 1989 a present member of this group and the publisher of the CIOFF® Festival calendar. Norbert Müller is also a member of the festival commission since 1997 and since 2002 its chairman and belongs therefore to the board of the world federation. Susanne Kramer, a member of the festival commission since 2000, was at the meeting of the Pan-European sector in Leoben / Austria in 2007, elected as its representative. She also belongs to the board of the world federation. 

Since 2005 the CIOFF®-section of Germany is a co-operative member of the German costume association (DTV). On the 18th of September 2004 the German CIOFF® section celebrated its 25th anniversary in Scheeßel. This anniversary has been attributed to the formation of the CIOFF® section of the former Federal Republic of Germany in 1978. At the annual meeting in Schwalenberg in September 2005 it was decided to take the first-time participation of a German delegate to the international CIOFF® conference in 1973 in Zakopane / Poland, as the founding date of the final section CIOFF® Germany.

Managing committee

Tanz- und Trachtengruppe Loshausen 1978 e.V./Schwalm, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest; Photo: Beate Guder.

Lauterbacher Trachtegilde e.V., Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest; Photo: Beate Guder.

Volkskunstensemble Makovica from Slowakei, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest; Photo: Beate Guder.
  • Norbert Müller, Heppenheim 
    1st Chairman
  • Klaus Hohmeier, Schlitz 
    Vice Chairman
  • Jörg Lübbe, Mechelroda
    Secretary General
  • Iris Werner, Scheeßel 
  • Marko Kowar, Bautzen
  • Philipp Müller, Bräunlingen
    Youth representative
    Ex officio:
  • Wolfgang Denke-Otterbein, Schlitz
    Acting Chairman CIOFF® festivals commission

  • Susanne Kramer, Mersch/Luxemburg
    Delegate of the CIOFF® Luxemburg

  • Bernd Schäfer, Schlitz 
    Honorary Chairman
  • Helmut Behrens, Scheeßel
    Honorary member
  • Hans J. Wiesenmüller, Thale 
    Honorary member


List of ordinary members in alphabetical order by location (August 2007). 

City ZIP Name Internet
Anklam D-17389 Fritz Reuter Ensemble  
Balingen D-72336 Volkstanzgruppe Frommern www.volkstanzgruppe.de
Bautzen D-02625 Domowina - Bund Lausitzer Sorben e.V.
More information
Bautzen D-02625 Sorbisches National Ensemble GmbH www.sne-bautzen.de
Bitburg D-54634 Europäisches Folklorefestival www.bitburg.de 
Bräunlingen D-78199 Heimat- und Trachtenbund Bräunlingen e.V.
More information 
Brouch Luxemburg 7415 Vallee de Sept Chateaux www.folklore-mersch.lu
Cottbus D-03046 Tanzensemble Freundschaft Cottbus www.folklore-modern.de
Dorndorf D-36460 Tanzkreis Werrataler e. V. Dorndorf www.werrataler.de
Dresden D-01307 Folkloretanzensemble "Thea Maass" der Technischen Universität
More information
Eisenach D-99817 Wartburg-Ensemble e.V. www.wartburg-ensemble.de
Erfurt D-99084 Thüringer Folklore Ensemble Erfurt e.V.
More information 
Erlangen D-91054 Tanz- und Folkloreensembles Ihna www.ihna.de
Frankfurt/ Main D-60596 Arbeitskreis Europäische Jugendwochen Burg Ludwigstein e.V. www.eurowoche.org
Friedewald D-36289 Folkloregruppe Friedewald www.folklore-gruppe-friedewald.de
Gütersloh D-33330 Folklorekreis Gütersloh e. V.
More information
Hamburg D-21039 Vierländer Speeldeel "De Veerlanner" von 1964 e.V. www.vierlaender-speeldeel.de
Hamburg D-21129  Finkwarder Danzkring "Lünborger Siet" e.V.  www.finkwarder-danzkring.de
Heppenheim  D-64646 Trachten- und Volkstanzgruppe Starkenburg Heppenheim e.V. www.folklorefestival-heppenheim.de
Hermannsburg D-29320 Volkstanzgruppe "De Vergneugten Harmsberger" im Heimatbund Hermannsburg e.V. www.heimatbund-hermannsburg.de
Hofbieber/ Elters D-36145 Trachtenkapelle Elters/Rhön e.V. www.trachtenkapelle-elters.de
Ibbenbüren D-49479 Volkstanzgruppe der KAB Laggenbeck 
More information
Kleinblittersdorf D-66271 Kultur- und Trachtenverein Bliesransbach / Saar e.V. www.ktv-saar.de
Kröv D-54536 Verkehrsbüro Kröv


Lauterbach D-36341 Lauterbacher Trachtengilde e. V. 
More information 
Ludwigsau-Tann D-36251 VTG Ludwigsau-Tann www.rsv-tann.de 
Martfeld D-27327 Schützenverein Loge - Tuschendorf e.V. Loger Musiktage www.loger-musiktage.de
Molfsee D-24113 LTV S-H im SHHB www.heimatbund.de
Mutterstadt D-67112 Verband für Volkstum und Heimat Rheinland Pfalz www.verband-rheinland-pfalz.de.vu
Neustadt D-23730 europäisches folklore festival  www.trachtenwoche.de
Paderborn D-33102 Internationale Jugendwoche auf der Wewelsburg Kreis Paderborn  
Panschwitz-Kuckau D-01920 Sorbian Folklore Ensemble Wudwor www.wudwor.de
Ribnitz-Damgarten D-18311 Mecklenburg-Pommeraner Folkloreensemble "Richard Wossidlo" www.folklore-ribnitz.de
Ribnitz-Damgarten D-18311 Tanzverband des Landes Mecklenburg - Vorpommern  
Rudolstadt D-07407 Thüringer Folkloretanzensemble
More information 
Salzkotten D-33154 Danzdeel Salzkotten www.danzdeel.de
Salzkotten-Niederntudorf D-33154 Volkstanzkreis Niederntudorf www.volkstanzkreis-niederntudorf.de
Scheeßel D-27383 Tanz- und Trachtengruppe "De Beekscheepers" Scheeßel e.V. www.beekscheepers.de
Schieder - Schwalenberg D-32816 Trachtengilde Schwalenberg / Lippe e.V. www.trachtengilde-schwalenberg.de
Schleife 02959 Sorbisches Folkloreensemble Schleife e. V.
More information
www.folklore-schleife.com www.dudelsackfestival-schleife.com
Schlitz D-36110 Schlitzerländer Trachten- und Volkstanzkreis 
More information 
Schlitz D-36110 Heimat- und Trachtenfestverein Schlitzerland e.V. www.schlitzer-trachtenfest.de
Schmerlitz D-01920 Sorbische Volkstanzgruppe Schmerlitz e.V.
More Information


Sinntal- Weiperz D-36391 Trachtenkapelle Musikfreunde Weiperz 1960 www.trachtenkapelle-weiperz.de
Süssen D-73079 Volkstanzgruppe Süssen www.albverein-suessen.de
Tatenhausen D-83109 Bayerischer Trachtenverband www.trachtenverband-bayern.de
Thale D-06502 Verband des künstlerischen Volksschaffens e.V. www.vdkv.de
Wartenberg D-36367 Trachten- und Volkstanzgruppe Angersbach  
Wechmar D-99869 Deutscher Trachtenverband www.deutscher-trachtenverband.de
Wehrheim D-61273 Landjugend Wehrheim www.landjugend-wehrheim.de
Willingshausen D-34628 Tanz- und Trachtengruppe Loshausen 1978 e.V. - Verein zur Pflege des Schwälmer Brauchtums www.trachtengruppe-loshausen.de
Winningen D-56333 Winzer-, Trachten- und Tanzgruppe www.tanzgruppe.winningen.de


  Thüringer Folklore Ensemble Erfurt e.V. - Die Vogelscheuche; Foto: TFE Erfurt

  Ensemble of song and dance Siandele aus Vilning/Litauen, Kindertrachtenfest Schlitz 2000, Foto: Beate Guder
  Taiwan-Taipei - Fang Shiang Dance Theatre, Schlitzerländer Heimat- und Trachtenfest 2005, Foto: Beate Guder

The youth is the future of the CIOFF®.

Since 2011 CIOFF® Germany has again a Youth Representative. It is Philipp Mueller from Braeunlingen. He has established already contacts to the members of CIOFF® Germany and some young people were announced to him which are interested to work in a Youth Commission.

The task of CIOFF® is to preserve traditions in the form of dance, music and colorful costumes for the following generations and make them more attractive. The top priority should therefore be the work with young people and attractive festivals with special attention to the needs of young people. Today's children and young people are the festival visitors and organizers of tomorrow.

If we will not make an effort to set the course for the future, many of the beautiful CIOFF® festivals in Germany will belong to the past.

This website should give a chance to the young people to bring in their work for the CIOFF® via internet. Contributions by and for young people are always welcome!                 


Additional information