Bac Ninh province works to preserve, promote cultural heritage

Bac Ninh is home to 1,589 relic sites, of which 643 have been ranked, including four special national, 204 national, and 435 provincial relic sites. It also owns 14 objects and groups of objects recognised as national treasures.
The performance of Quan Ho (love duets) on stage (Source:
The Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs were inscribed in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). (Photo: baobacninh)

Over the past years, the northern province of Bac Ninh, known for its rich and long-standing culture, has taken steps to preserve and bring into play local cultural heritage, with the engagement of the political system, organisations, and locals.

The Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs were inscribed in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Meanwhile, eight others were also named as part of the national intangible cultural heritage. In 2021, the Prime Minister agreed to submit a dossier seeking the UNESCO inclusion of the Dong Ho folk paintings in the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.

To preserve and bring into play cultural heritage, the province has worked to complete the policies on cultural heritage preservation and promotion, basing on which it has identified rather comprehensively the values of local cultural heritage.

It has been implementing several policies, including the regulations on the management and use of historical and cultural relic sites, the rules on benefits for artisans of intangible cultural heritage, benefits for artists and staff of the Quan ho Bac Ninh Folk Song Theatre, and the regulations on artefact and national treasure management.

In recent years, local authorities have allocated hundreds of billions of VND to help restore nearly 700 relic sites. From 2011 to 2022, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has carried out 22 restoration projects at total cost of over 450 billion VND (18.8 million USD). Localities in Bac Ninh have also raised thousands of billions of VND from private sources for relic protection.

The restoration has been carried out basically in line with the Law on Cultural Heritage and related legal documents.

In terms of intangible cultural heritage, Bac Ninh has implemented many plans, projects, and programmes to uphold the values of the Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs in conformity with Vietnam’s commitment to UNESCO.

Hundreds of billions of VND has been spent on boosting communications about local heritage, building a film production plan to popularise heritage, and assisting the construction and upgrading of cultural centres and related facilities.

Bac Ninh was the first province in Vietnam to have a particular policy on benefits for those who directly maintain, practice, and teach cultural heritage. Accordingly, artisans will receive a lump-sum reward that is seven times higher than the basic wage level regulated by the State. Those of the UNESCO-recognised Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs will gain monthly allowances.

Since 2010, it has bestowed the artisan titles thrice, honouring 202 artisans, of whom four have been granted the People’s Artisan title, 18 the Meritorious Artisan title, and 180 the Provincial Artisan title.

Despite major achievements, there remain certain shortcomings in heritage preservation and promotion, including insufficient funding for addressing relic degradation, infringement of rules on relic restoration, the theft of antiquities, and the shortage of professional restoration personnel.

In the time ahead, the province is set to continue perfecting relevant policies; improving awareness of authorities, localities, and organisations and sense of responsibility towards the work; stepping up training for heritage management and restoration personnel; increasing investment in the implementation of national programmes on culture; and boosting the collection, research, and recovery of the intangible cultural heritages at risk of disintegration.

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