Ethnological Congress in Arnhem in 1955



CIAP (La commission Internationale des Arts Populaires)*, the forerunner of SIEF was called into being in 1928 at the international congress in Prague organized by the League of Nations. The congress in Arnhem in September 1955, followed up in the same year by the session in Amsterdam is seen as one of the most important events in the CIAP’s history.
It was the first modern congress: short lectures, summaries of presentations and well-prepared comments. During the congress a significant discussion on the profile and the scope of Folklore Studies / Ethnology took place. International participants raised questions about the position of the discipline in the modern society and their relation to other disciplines. Two changes have been required: more focus on the social dimensions and more attention to contemporary issues.

This visual documentation of the congress is retrieved from the archive of The Open Air Museum in Arnhem. Click on photo to enlarge; then clicking the shown ‘i’ brings you the caption to the picture.


The participants of the congress have been invited to take part in excursions to the castle Bergh, Hoge Veluwe, Amsterdam and Volendam.

Dutch traditional costumes show

Presentation of Dutch traditional costumes was another attraction prepared by the organizers. Costumes form several Dutch villages have been presented; among other from Volendam, Marken, Spakenburg and Staphorst.

*Information based on Bjarne Rogan, A Remarkable Congress and a Beloved General Secretary CIAP & SIEF, Arnhem 1955 and Jorge Dias, Inaugural keynote address at SIEF’s 10th congress, Lisbon, April 17th 2011.