"This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Muzeji Hrvatskog zagorja and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union."

The first inscribed phenomena – Traditional Toys of Hrvatsko Zagorje – helped the project sustainability

The decision of inscribing wooden children's toys of Hrvatsko zagorje on the protected Intangible Heritage List within the Register of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia created preconditions for continued work on traditional artefacts that are increasingly diminishing due to powerful industrialization of modern times. With that act, one of the traditional skills gained importance and permanent protection, so the inscription on the UNESCO World Representative List would confirm and intensify activities of reviving that segment of Croatian traditional heritage. 
Special safeguarding programmes, documentation and revival of production of traditional children's toys are conducted by the Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje in their museum facilities – especially in Kumrovec and Gornja Stubica. Museum „Staro selo“ in Kumrovec is introducing a permanent demonstration of the production of children’s toys within a museum exposition in the preserved ambiance of traditional architecture, besides that within the scope of CRAFTATTRACT project it organises demonstrations in the neighbouring countries, especially at traditional fairs like the one in Gabrovo (Bulgaria) or at Bitola (Macedonia).
In the last years,  several master craftsmen like Dragutin Kunić, Dragutin Gereci and Stjepan Mikuš,  manufacturers of wooden reeds žveglice in village Laz, died and their workshops have been left without heirs. Dragutin Kunić and his wife Marija were the first presenters of that traditional skill in the “Old Village” Museum already in 1986, but after  Drago Kunić's death his wife continued to the work alone in spite of the difficulties to attend the museum. However, the museum managed to find a young couple who started a trade and are willing to demonstrate the skill. They are also eager to present their work at foreign fairs and in 2013 they presented in Beograd and Bratislava.
In Gornja Stubica the Museum of Peasant Uprisings has been conducting a project called Zagorje Souvenir Fair since 1975, which has grown into a big triennial festival of traditional products that has been held for thirty years without interruption. This resulted in museum souvenir shops that serve as places where traditional artisans, among which toy makers are the most numerous, can sell their products throughout the year at five attractive locations. However, new plans are being made to renew the initiative and in cooperation with the Krapina-Zagorje County the draft has been made for future activities to design by-products for further branding of the traditional toys.
Apart from its regular scientific research work the Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje founded the Centre for Traditional Crafts and Skills in 2007. It was a part of CRAFTATTRACT project, co-financed by the European Union within the Interreg III A initiative, Neighbourhood Programme. The Centre continues the work after the project was completed and its task is to cherish traditional crafts and intangible heritage by giving them developmental role in preserving the micro-location, combining thus the safeguarding of intangible heritage and protection of rural environment. We see potential for preservation in the possibility of using activities and products in the field of culture tourism. That way craftsmen are actively involved in contemporary activities based on sustainable development, they can earn an income from the work they do and that makes them competitive on the labour market, and heritage institutions are ensuring their inter-sectorial connection with partners from the field of tourism or education. Education of younger generations and encouraging interest for the production of children's toys is one of their priorities and they are organizing workshops in cooperation with schools where children work with artisans acquiring knowledge and love for handcraftsmanship. Communication between generations is extremely important in transferring knowledge and skills and the Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje have paid a lot of attention to that aspect of activities (workshops, seminars, school meetings, exhibitions of students’ work, etc.). In 2013 the Centre has led numerous activities and a museum professional was employed to continue the work.
The CRAFTATTRACT project was also beneficial to the Ministry of Culture during the process of nomination the two phenomena of intangible cultural heritage for inscription on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Heritage. Two crafts were successfully inscribed on the list: Traditional wooden toys from Hrvatsko Zagorje (2009) and Gingerbread making from north-west Croatia (2010). The project’s database has been frequently consulted for national intangible lists, particularly when the most difficult issues like methods of preservation and knowledge transfer in the community are tackled.

The project has been successfully presented at the 10th Anniversary of the Convention in Dubrovnik in October 2013.

Continuation plan

The project is a sustainable one which has several phases. Some have been completed and some are still going on as clearly shown above. The follow-up of the project contains the future cooperation and active participation of each partner in project development .
The partnership agreements have been signed with various institutions in the region of South East Europe (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria). In 2013 a new country was added to the partner list – Egypt. The Children's Centre for Creativity has been one the most successful projects in Africa and cooperation was signed with this internationally awarded institution in Kumrovec in September 2013. Therefore the cooperation programme now includes creative centres besides museums, universities and conservation departments.
Activities and events are implemented annually according to the agreed schedule, each time in another partner-state of the project. Partners appoint leaders who are in charge  of  implementing the activities. The aim is to  include variety of stakeholders who can provide support to the project. Partners from the region agreed on the future cooperation plan including  artisans and craftsmen,  regional chambers and trade associations, heritage experts and tourism sector. The existing web site (, according the project partners agreement, in future should become a common website and interactive platform. One of the goals is to produce on-line publication and the first one has been published in January 2012 and is available on the existing web. In 2013 the English text about the project activities is put on-line
Each partner will use the best practice models for intangible heritage documentation in the area of its jurisdiction, will help other institutions to implement programmes fostering the protection of that sensitive type of heritage and in order to act rapidly partners agreed that filming the heritage phenomena and their carriers is of prime importance. The planned result will be a movie about every partner-region, a traveling exhibition, and participation of selected artisans from various regions each year in another partner's programmes.
In 2013 many exchanges within the network occurred. Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje presented the activities in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Slovakia and Macedonia.

Brief background of the project

CRAFTATTRACT is an acronym of the project that was prepared by the Croatian Zagorje Museums in the Krapina-zagorje County and Slovenian partners and first implemented in the cross-border area. Since one of the project goals was sustainability, after the termination of co-financing from the EU pre-accession funds, the newly formed Centre for traditional crafts and skills in Croatian Zagorje Museums continued with its activities.  Professional staff of the Museum prepared the follow-up off the project under the patronage of Forum of Slavic Cultures (FSK) with new partners in region.
This project was suitable for expansion in the region given that it has the following advantages that are implemented through the activities of the partners in the FSC network:

    1. It develops a coordinated model of registering intangible heritage and its potential for cultural tourism through which sustainability of the phenomenon is achieved;
    2. It establishes links with the tourism sector;
    3. It promotes and preserves intangible heritage;
    4. It establishes models for the transfer of knowledge

The implementation of the project within the Forum of Slavic Cultures would relate to the operationally sustainable programme activities:
    1. Registering of intangible heritage by partners according to an agreed model;
    2. Staging of touring exhibitions of registered heritage comprising of two parts:
        a) Poster exhibition and film screening (of all the participants)
        b) Exhibition of traditional craft items (in the host country)
    3. Organization of round tables (parallel activities with the exhibition in order to enhance the effects of the project and provide media support) on the topic of registering and protecting intangible heritage, its inclusion in the offer of cultural tourism and sustainability of heritage in the present day environment in line with changing needs.
    4. Helping countries to inscribe intangible heritage on national and international lists

Target groups and beneficiaries

Target groups included in the project were project participants and project beneficiaries. The former included traditional craftsmen, "living human treasures", workshop attendees, experts in the field of heritage, experts in the field of cultural tourism and media. Primary beneficiaries were all project participants, cultural institutions and parks, tourist industry, local communities and local economy.
The project has developed good contacts with secondary beneficiaries like the chamber of crafts and trades, small and medium-sized enterprises, museum visitors and tourist agencies. The further development should include cooperation with artists and designers in order to put the craft items on the market in order to secure sustainability.

Quality of the project: aims and objectives

The main objective of the project has been to build a platform for creating a common cultural and tourist area in the region, on the basis of creative use of the intangible  heritage. The aim is to create synergies between traditional crafts, skills and kind of intangible heritage on one side, and then to encourage links with income oriented sectors (like tourism and trades) and educational institutions (esp. vocational schools).  The region is famous for its rich history and craft tradition, however, present situation is far from satisfactory and more and more crafts and skills are disappearing. These facts were seen as a challenge for the project and the protection implementation has been carrying out together with the local, regional and national authorities. The project was developing a model of safeguarding diversity of human skills and providing for the creation of new possibilities that should be competitive in the growing cultural tourism market.
The main objective was followed by more specific goals such as:

    1. Creating a compatible database of traditional crafts and skills at each partner place The first centres was established in the Muzej “Staro selo” Kumrovec and serves as the best practice model for the region.
    2. Building of new attractions in the border region to foster development of micro locations. Some sites have been opened in situ and are run on sustainable grounds (Pottery Kovačić in Globočec, Gingerbread museum in Marija Bistrica, Majsecov mlin in Donja Stubica, Gupčeva hiža at Hižakovec ) which is the result of good cooperation with private interested craftsmen.
    3. Creating partner networks among different stakeholders with special attention paid to connecting the groups which usually did not easily get in contact and communicate with each other (older generation of the craftsmen and younger generation of school goers)
    4. Using the tradition as a starting point for new ideas and programmes in cultural tourism (events, special excursions, etc.)

Quality of the project: research

The basic database at the Centre for traditional crafts and skills has developed support programmes enabling the compounding of the data with the museum collections in the Museum „Old village“ in Kumrovec. The research has been combining field work during which the intangible heritage has been monitored and newly collected information has been put in the base.
The new methods of preserving the visual material have been developed and in cooperation with the professionals digital storage has been established with the plan of preservation and regular up-date on current media.
Together with the computer experts a base has been enlarged with new information tables.
Centre for traditional crafts and skills was formally opened in Kumrovec on the 17th of December 2007 together with equipped workshops facilities and they have remained active as places of transferring knowledge about traditional heritage.
The results of the project have been presented at expert conferences and in publications.  The large conference took place in 2008 when more than eighty experts in the area of heritage, cultural tourism and traditional crafts participated and the publication was printed in three languages: Slovenian, Croatian and English.
Today the research has also been conducted in collaboration with project partners in the region.

Quality of the project: implementation

As mentioned above, the project implementation in the network FSK involves achieving the desired goals. It includes a number of operationally feasible program activities which were monitored through given indicators and checked by the national agency and EU Commission and external auditor.
Implementation of the project has been monitored on several levels.

    1. The heritage level included research, keeping records, storing and processing of information to be used later. For a museum institution it was the easiest part although it took us some time to agree on the contents for the efficient data-base. The benefit was seen later, actually last year,  when Croatia nominated Traditional toy making of Hrvatsko Zagorje for the UNESCO Representative list of Intangible Heritage and managed to inscribe the element as we have proved that the tradition is kept alive due to the constant care and workshops we organize.
    2. Educational level implied availability of information in the database, for the purpose of creating educational programmes used for further education and transmission of knowledge through various types of practical classes. The project supported transmission of knowledge and skills between craftsmen and students. The model was very accessible and inclusive, open to institutions and individuals alike. It proved that it could be included in educational programmes, and some schools expressed interest. It goes slowly but the involvement of certain crafts in regular education is now in the process of being implemented in the vocational school in Oroslavje.
    3. The tourist level has drafted several culture-tourist itineraries which have been successful on local level. However, this was the weakest part of the project as the private tourist sector is difficult to attract and has no interest in building destinations together with heritage institutions.
    4. The marketing level incorporated strong promotion of project through range of activities, in order to sensitise the public and ensure support and interest for the project and what it could offer on the market. We really got a good media support from the beginning till the end. Besides exhibitions we took part in commercial fairs which was also a good idea as we gained larger audience.
    5. The development level is visible through the benefits the project gives (increase of employment, arrival of new tourists, offer of new products, introducing new destinations). So far we managed to create or give impetus to new offer at some destinations (new workshops in the museums, visits to some craftsmen’s in their workshop, even a small museum for gingerbread-making, a house for toy-making is being built; the whole range of new products have been created for living history events, etc.)

Quality of the project: publicity and media coverage

Public promotion and involvement of the media were especially taken into account during the period of implementation. They were helpful in reaching potential participants through the press and local radio stations.
A huge press-clipping material has been collected proving that the project has been widely covered by press, numerous TV serials have been done and great number of interviews on the radio stations.
Media coverage was present on local, regional, national and international level.
All events done by the CRAFTATTRACT project have been recorded by various media and press-clipping is regularly collected at the data- base.

The project also included a number of marketing activities aimed at directing public attention to the possibilities traditional crafts present for the development of a region. There were billboards and participation at large fairs like the CROTOUR International Fair in Zagreb.
In 2013 the project was presented at the conference of the European Association of Open Air Museums in Bad Widsheim (Germany, August 2013) and  the curator Tihana Kušenić and two toymakers participated at the 2013 Donau FEST in Bratislava (Slovakia).  The participation was so successful that they have already been invited to the Donau FEST 2014 which will be organised in Ulm (Germany)

Quality of the project: results

The project was chosen by the Central Agency for Contracting and Implementation of EU projects as an example of sustainability (after the EU co-financing was over) and presented to the EU Commission representatives who gave a positive report. 

The project has been successfully presented at numerous conferences in the country and abroad (Greece, USA, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia etc.), was presented in the ICOM’s Intangible Heritage journal and it received the national award of the Croatian Museum Society for the best project in 2008. It was also presented at the Best in Heritage event in Dubrovnik thus entering the excellence club of best museum practices.

The Agency for Vocational Training used the project in the training programme with vocational schools and the project leader held lectures for teachers. This has been the first step in the attempt to introduce traditional crafts into official curriculums. In 2013 Museums made contacts with the vocational school in Oroslavje but the formal education of toy-makers have not been started yet.

The project established partnership between active and retired craftsmen, people who are „carriers“ of traditional skills and knowledge, and young generations at the organised events and  workshops participants.
Documentation of the intangible heritage during fieldwork is a on-going activity and database has been regularly updated. 
We held the exhibition of traditional souvenirs created by master craftsman who participated in the project, and it showed how traditional product can nowadays find a new place on the market within the tourist offer. Besides conference proceedings  in 2012, this year exhibition posters for Traditional Toys have been printed by Museums of Hrvatsko Zagorje. In addition to already published catalogues of Triennial of Zagorje souvenirs exhibitions or CRAFTATTRACT publication this is a an additional promotion of the intangible heritage of the region.
A seminar for traditional craftsmen and connoisseurs of traditional skills will be held within the project in 2014, in collaboration with various experts.

International conference and round table in November 2011 in Croatia gathered many experts from several countries who held discussions and brought conclusions how to develop the CRAFTATTRACT further. New results were immediately obvious in 2012. In the Ethnographic Museum ETAR Gabrovo in Bulgaria (one of the biggest in the South East Europe),  who is a new partner in CRAFTATTRACT, the project was presented at  the 8. International Scientific Conference on the subject „Traditional crafts: past, present, future“ and at the 10. International fair of traditional crafts in September 2012 in Bulgaria. The fair presented traditional craftsmanship of the partner countries as well as the Bulgarian traditional crafts. In 2013 Goranka Horjan stressed the potential of the crafts for the film-making at the round table held in Belgrade in cooperation with the Centre for Intangible Heritage from Sofia in October 2013.

Exemplary aspects of the project (scope, methods, innovations)

The CRAFTATTRACT project has several innovative dimensions. Traditional crafts as an attraction for cultural tourism. The project goal was to point out the unused development opportunities that are recorded in the interweaving of tradition craftsmanship with cultural tourism, whose importance in the European area is growing from year to year.
The project was also awarded by the Chamber of Trades of the Krapina Zagorje County. The Museums were given a silver plate in 2011 for the contribution to the preservation and promotion of trades and crafts in the region.
Project advocates development of micro locations using traditional heritage as an attraction for cultural tourism with the aim of raising awareness and sensitivity to the cultural heritage, especially among younger population.  The main project aim is promotion and preservation of intangible heritage in the countries that are members of Forum of Slavic cultures. One of the main tools is a creation  of compatible expert data base for documenting intangible heritage in the region. Through the workshops the knowledge is transferred to target audiences: elementary, high school pupils, volunteers from various parts of the world and tourist guides.  The project has been already presented at various conferences (Turkey, Greece, Austria, USA, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia) and publications (International Intangible Heritage Journal – South Korea, ICR Annual Conference proceedings - USA).
The project includes collaboration with the tourist sector (including municipal, city, county, national and international tourist agencies, tour operators and other institutions involved in cultural tourism) and we have created several  new itineraries for the Zagorje region. The aim is to  preserve existing tourist destinations and invent new ones. The tours have been drafted in collaboration with connoisseurs of traditional crafts, knowledge and skills and tourist experts. The Croatian and Slovenian partners printed the booklet „The Master's Book“, that contains the list of all bearers of traditional skills in the cross-border region (Slovenia-Croatia).

Educational value and benefits of the project

Within the project collaboration between the centres for intangible culture is foreseen and the aim is to have at least one in each partner country.  Their activity will be the organization of workshops with craftsmen exchange for maintaining intercultural dialogue, the organization of workshops for young people and those interested in cultural heritage, workshops for filming the heritage and the organization of expert meetings. Project implementation in the network FSK involves achieving the goals. The main objective is to educate local communities about the values they have and how to preserve them, present them and keep them alive.
One of the most important items in this project is transfer of knowledge and skills between craftsmen and trainees – the model built on the exchange of knowledge and experience is intended to be open to various institutions and individuals. The project can significantly influence education programs by setting a pattern for high school and college curriculums that should enable formal status to those interested to learn traditional crafts and heritage-based economy.
The project success is that the secondary vocational schools showed interest for cooperation together with the national agency for training.

Social value and benefits of the project

The project CRAFTATTRACT promotes a desirable integrative approach that includes a variety of activities related to the protection and preservation of crafts and skills and promotes the destination management and product design for the market. Croatian Zagorje Museums cooperate with the Chamber of Craft of Krapina-Zagorje County, and the project is supported by Zagorje development agency, ministries, local governments, tourism boards, associations and private initiatives. Croatian Zagorje Museums have long-term cooperation with local and regional elementary and secondary schools, and workshops of intangible heritage are held each year in the area of  museum.
The aim is to provide the community with enthusiasm to preserve the heritage and to find economic models how to do that. The museum organises exhibition of traditional souvenirs created by master craftsman that showed how traditional products can nowadays find a new place on the market within the tourist offer.  The project included a number of marketing activities aimed at directing public attention to the possibilities traditional crafts present for the development of a region. Educational programmes were organised with the objective of preserving existing crafts and skills and inspiring the interest of younger generations in traditional craftsmanship. A good professional cooperation had been established with educational institutions, especially in terms of organising workshops and vocational courses for elementary and secondary school pupils.
A seminar for traditional craftsmen and connoisseurs of traditional skills had been held within the project, in collaboration with the experts in cultural tourism. It was very useful to include old masters in the activates and to teach them how to address the present day audiences.
The project was used for further development of IPA applications with Slovenian and national partners.

Historical and cultural value of the project

The implementation of the project and its results could be demonstrated on several levels. The heritage level included research, keeping records, storing and processing of information. Educational level implied availability of information in the database for the purpose of creating educational programmes used for further transmission of knowledge through workshops and other types of practical classes. The tourist level was visible through culture-tourist programmes received by the sector. The marketing level incorporated strong promotion of project results through range of activities, in order to sensitise the public and ensure support. The development level was seen through the benefits the project offered to small and medium-sized businesses (increase of employment, arrival of new tourists, offer of new products, introducing new destinations).
The project’s vision was to approach tourism sector in a way that would rise interest in rural culture. Most surveys done by experts say that there is a growing interest in authentic traditional life but how strange - there are no programmes for tourists that offer such experiences (available accommodation and restaurants decorated in rural style are a separate story – often a strange combination of non-existing rural life).
The project saw this as a challenge especially in highlighting new destinations and possibilities and expectations of the audience to get a real experience and not a fake one.
Our main concern was to see heritage, or to be precise, traditional heritage, as an essential component of development. The project team drafted the activities in that way that they tackled all vital aspects:

    •  Heritage (research, documentation and evaluation done by institutions)
    •  Education (workshops and promotions at schools)
    •  Media (creating partnerships with local press and radio stations)
    •  Expert conference to bring cultural and tourist sector together
    •  Promotion of craftsmen – fairs, exhibitions, selling of products
    •  Tourist sector - by addressing main stakeholders in the field agencies (agencies for using drafted itineraries, ministries and boards to elaborate various network of subsides and support to craftsmen)

And this was not only declaratively, since the effect of the project was clearly monitored through a whole range of indicators during its implementation, and some positive impacts were also seen after the end of EU co-financing.

Significance of the project in a European context

The project goal was to point out the unused development opportunities that are recorded in the interweaving of tradition craftsmanship with cultural tourism, whose importance in the European area is growing from year to year. The project is in line with national strategies and follows the European guidelines and initiatives of the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Heritage and ECOVAST - strategies for the development of small cities and towns. Croatian Zagorje Museums cooperate with the Chamber of Craft of Krapina-Zagorje County, and the project is supported by Zagorje development agencies, ministries, local governments, tourism boards, associations and private initiatives. The project is also in line with the legislation in the field of regional development, because with education of youth it gives emphasis on continuous development.
Following one of the goals of the project - the sustainability of material culture at the regional level, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports was suggested to incorporate the subject in the curriculum of trade school for carpentry course: making traditional wooden toys, which is included in the UNESCO list of World intangible heritage.
Since 2011. project continues under the auspices of the Forum of Slavic culture with partners in the region: Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria. . The project is aligned with the program goals for the cultural and creative sector that the European Union plans for the period 2014-2020, entitled "Creative Europe", which also predicts the development of relations with the audience with the great support of the European Commission.
Compliance of the project with the Lisbon strategy and documents that supports the same values and meanings is reflected through the entire conceptual structure of the project. Initiative project itself insists on the shared work of people, both experts and “human living treasures”, not looking at their differences, but to achieve a given target group that is of common interest. Preserving tradition as shared values, and integration into economic programs, work and invest in education and the creation of the information society and adaptation of the achievements of modern society are fundamental guidelines for the implementation of this project. Interworking and mutual help is necessary to sustain the dialogue between the socio - cultural as well as different generational groups and also to exchange universal spiritual values and the fight against social exclusion. By taking part in research and development, and investment in human potential, goals of this project promotes also the objectives of the Lisbon strategy to its full meaning. Also the strategic project aims is to promote the values of Göteborg strategy that promotes environmental awareness and usage of natural resources. The conservation and use of traditional technology tradition and cultural heritage in the future that promotes this project ensures the implementation of relevant decisions of the European Council that was adopted by Göteborg strategy documents.

Costs, financial and management arrangements

The Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje maintain the Centre and the equipment, workshops and staff costs from their own resources.
Special programmes have been granted on annual bases (exhibitions, participation at fairs, publications) mostly by the Ministry of Culture but also by the Ministry of Tourism, Chambers of Crafts and Trades and some sponsors.
In INTERREG III the Museums were granted EUR 248.861,44 for project implementation.
In 2011 CRAFTATTRACT project was funded by the Forum of Slavic Cultures (FSK) with 9.772,00 euros in total for the partners kick-off meeting, conference and filming the materials.  Expenses in 2011 included accommodation for   project partners and meeting costs (food and drinks).
In 2013  the project leader Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje envisages costs of  9.060,00 euros for activities plus salary for one expert and overheads for the office.

The management of the Museum provides all necessary support, regularly applies for grants and spreads the network of partners. The project leader is also a member of the programme Council of the Forum of Slavic Cultures.




PROJECT LEADER ON THE CROATIAN SIDE: the Museums of Hrvatsko zagorje, Gornja Stubica – The "Old Village" Museum, Kumrovec
NATIONAL PARTNER: the Krapina-Zagorje County, Krapina

PROJECT LEADER ON THE SLOVENIAN SIDE: the Bistra Ptuj Scientific Research Centre
SLOVENIAN PARTNERS: the Regional Museum of Murska Sobota, the Regional Museum of Ptuj, the City of Ptuj

About the project | Objectives | Project leaders| Activities | Conclusions | Contact | Publications | Awards | Presentation of the Project | Project Sustainability | MHZ, Gornja Stubica | Znanstvenoraziskovalno središće Bistra Ptuj | 2007.


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