Blog post

Game on: 4 unique championships from across Europe

Competitions with regional and cultural inspiration

image with green background showing icon of comb and scissors, pestle and mortar, axe and parachute
Adrian Murphy (opens in new window) (Europeana Foundation)

We tend to think of sporting championships as involving athletic efforts. Running, football, hockey swimming all have championships - both national European and International.

But what about other activities where people can compete against each other to create the biggest or best or do something the fastest?

Let's explore some some more unusual championships which have been held around Europe.

World Hairdressing Championships

Cutting hair is an artform, mixing technique, fashion and style. The World Hairdressing Championships make it a sport.

In 1962, the championships were held in Amsterdam - the 7th World Championship for women's and men's hairdressers. This video reports from the event, including an interview with the Dutch champion Mrs Broekhuizen.

The photograph below shows Raymond Bessone, a winner of an International Hairdressing Contest held in London in January 1932.

black and white photograph, a man standing behind two models with a trophy in between them

Genoa Pesto World Championships

The Pesto World Championships have been held in Genoa, Italy at the Palazzo Ducale since 2007. The competition, organised by cultural and gastronomic association 'PalatiFini', aims to preserve and protect culinary traditions.

colour photograph, a man holding a large bowl of pesto

In the competition, 100 competitors from all over the world prepare Genovese Pesto exclusively with a pestle and mortar, using only traditional, authentic and genuine ingredients.

colour photograph of a line of people preparing pesto
colour photograph, a group of people wearing aprons preparing pesto with pestle and mortars

Logging and chainsaw championships

Scandinavian and Nordic countries are lands of forests. Logging has been an important part of industry there, so it may not come as a surprise that logging and chainsaw use has become a sport.

The World Logging Championship has been held in European countries since the 1970s, with Sweden and Denmark hosting the competition once, Finland hosting 3 times and Norway 5 times.

Whereas once these championships involved sawing by hand, the development of motorised chainsaws brought a new form of competition.

black and white photograph, a group of people standing in front of a building
black and white photograph, a man sawing a large log
black and white photograph, a man sawing a tree

Parachute & skydiving championships

These photographs shows four women - Antonina Chmielarczyk, Maria Żak, Wanda Szteyn and Anna Franke - taking part in the second Parachute Championships of Poland, held in Białystok in September 1955 and another competition in Poznań in 1956.

black and white photograph, a group of women who are carrying folded up parachutes
black and white photograph portrait of a woman who carries a folded up parachute

The Polish parachuting championships have been held since 1954 at locations across Poland, with many of these women winning medals. In 1958, at the Parachute World Championships in Bratislava, Anna Franke won the title of vice-champion of the world, and the Polish women's team took 2nd place in the team competition.

black and white photograph, a group of people standing in front of an airplane

Share your sport story

Share your sport story - banner

Can you help us to tell the story of sport in Europe in the past and the present?

We invite you to tell us about your sport experiences through objects like photographs, memorabilia, equipment or prizes.
Share your story →

This blog is part of the Europeana Sport project which showcases cultural treasures relating to sporting heritage in Europe.

Sport Championships Food