CONNECTIONS - The Newsletter for Bath Twinning Associations

Connections Issue 22, 2016.

Connections, Issue 21, 2015.

06 April 2018The Ambassador "gets on his bike in Bath!"

The Netherlands Ambassador to the UK, HE Simon SMits, made his first visit to Bath on February 20th, 2018.  As well as visits to the University of Bath and Bath Spa University, Mr Smits was guest of honour at a reception hosted by the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Ian Gilchrist, and spoke at a sold-out meeting of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.

The Ambassador was interested to hear about Bath's continuing efforts to improve its air quality and encourage more cycling - and could not resist the temptation to try out one of Bath Spa Universities hire bikes, when visiting the Newton Park campus.

25 March 2018The Alkmaar students visit to Bath Community Academy March 2018

Last year 11 Bath Community students visited Alkmaar to celebrate 70 years of the oldest twinning arrangement in the world between bath and Alkmaar.  That trip had a big impact on the students.

Between 8th – 12th March 2018 we returned the hospitality and were visited by 5 students and 2 teachers.  Those Year 9 students who had visited Alkmaar last year have had to move on to another school so 8 fresh faced new Year 9s took on the hosting role.

What was really great was that last year’s students, although educated

elsewhere, rejoined the group on Sunday morning, and as we made a community lunch together, friendships were rekindled and reminisences revisited again and again. Food technology is not on the dutch curriculum and some had never cooked before, so our ambassidor year 9s guided them through it. That chicken linguini bake was very tasty!

Over the four days we had completed some investigated quizzes on bath’s heritage, visited the Roman Baths and Mayor’s Parlour, sunk into the waters of the Cross Baths, waltzed under the chandeliers of the Assembly Rooms, visited the pagan centres of Stonehenge and Avebury and viewed Bath from on top of Solsbury Hill, and we visited many gardens, parks and museums.  With so much to see in Bath another visit will be needed by our Dutch to see it all, and hopefully that will be in warmer weather.  Arising from the Cross Baths thermal spring waters was very chilly!

The Dutch as a nation are very tall, tolerant and friendly and the whole group of students from the UK and Holland got on seamlessly. It was wonderful how even though they had never met, they were immersed together into the event for 4 days, got on, and then had to be parted after that short time. There were many tears shed Sunday lunchtime.


Again there were tremendous benefits for the BCA students all of whom had never been to Avebury or Solsbury Hill and some had never been to Stonehenge.  The nerves experienced waiting to meet the other group dissipated almost immediately.  Everyone learnt loads about Bath, went places they had never been and we, as teachers, were amazed at those who could waltz around the assembly rooms floors.

The impact on the students has been immense and it has changed the outlook for some.  This week in school you can see a real bubbly exuberance from the individuals who took part.

Student comments:

 TW:  “The activities were cool.  I liked the Spa best.  I loved everything.  I have never been to Stonehenge before.”

MB:   “We got to see loads of interesting things.  The dutch were friendly and it made me realise I could find friends in any country regardless of the language barrier.  In the future, the process of things like showing people around, will help with my life experiences and maybe even getting jobs.”

CT:   “I am not exactly good at that.  I was really nervous before we met them as I am awkward with people but as they chatted I joined in.  I have never gone around town showing people places.  I had never seen the mayor’s parlour, Stonehenge, or assembly Rooms.  It has made me more confident.”

MD:   “When we went to the Cross Baths my make up ran and it was embarrassing and I had to wipe it off!  I never go for a walk into the countryside at home, so walking up Solsbury Hill and to west Kennett Long Barrow was muddy and great.  I learnt so much history in one day about Bath I would never have learnt that much in school.  I have never been to Stonehenge, the Holborne, the Cross baths, or dance in the Assembly Rooms.  I was nervous I wanted to dance with the Dutch but I ended up with Maria.  I have more friends now.  I have more confidence with people, talking to people.  In the future I want to visit another country and take photos.  It has opened my eyes to travel somewhere and maybe visit them.”

17 October 2017News article of Prof. Gwythian Prins

Article from a regional Alkmaar newspaper of Prof. Gwythian Prins, son of Eli Prins, who recently visited Alkmaar to help celebrate 'Alkmaars Ontzet'. 

Click the pictures to enlarge.

news article eli prins

gwythian prins in front of his family home in alkmaar

Prof. Gwythian Prins in front of his family home in Alkmaar. 

09 July 2017BBC radio interview

Our next Chairman, Chris Davies - who takes over from Martin Broadbent at the end of Alkmaar Week - has been speaking to Ali Vowels of the BBC about our Festivities, including the Dutch Comedy Night and the fabulous Cheese Trail starting tomorrow, as well as the Artiance | centrum voor de kunsten Youth orchestra concerts.

You can hear the interview from yesterday's breakfast show from the 39min30 second mark.


08 July 2017BATHCHRONICLE features Alkmaar 70

Read the online article here.

bath chronicle article

03 July 2017Dutch students prove excellent coaches in Bath school

Dutch students visiting Beechen Cliff proved to be excellent coaches as they were put through their paces during a visit to the Bath school last week.

The students – all from the Petrus Canisius College in Bath’s Dutch twin city of Alkmaar – led lessons with Year 7 and 8 pupils, introducing the youngsters to sports popular in the Netherlands but little-known in the UK, such as handball.

They also had a chance to participate in British sports unfamiliar to them, such as rugby.

Beechen Cliff PE Teacher, Matthew Walker, who organised the visit, said the coaching sessions proved a particular success:

“As developing sports leaders, we wanted to test their ability to plan, organise and lead their own coaching sessions.

“They passed with flying colours – particularly impressive when you remember they were doing it in a second language.

“The chance to experience how sports are coached in another country has given both sets of pupils – from Bath and Alkmaar – valuable first-hand experience of different sporting cultures and traditions.”

Earlier this year pupils from Beechen Cliff studying Physical Education visited Alkmaar and ran coaching sessions of their own in rugby and also cricket – two sports rarely seen in the Netherlands.


Alkmaar Week: JULY 10-16 2017

Organised by Bath Comedy for Bath-Alkmaar Twinning Association 70th Anniversary, supported by VisitBath & Heritage Lottery


Alkmaar is world famous for its traditional cheese market and to help tell the amazing story of how the twinning came about and how the money was raised, Bath Comedy, the people behind the city’s annual comedy festival, have teamed up with VisitBath and Bath-Alkmaar Twinning Association, and with support from Heritage Lottery, to create The Big Bath Cheese Trail.

The Trail, which will be officially launched by the Mayor of Alkmaar, will tell the amazing story of how the world’s very first town twinning came about through the generosity of the citizens of Bath towards the starving children of Alkmaar in the aftermath of World War 2.



The entry forms will be distributed to hotels, pubs, the Visitor Information Centre and to the participating shops. The entry form will also be available to download at www.bathcomedy.com


Hidden in plain sight in the plethora of fascinating independent businesses that help make our city’s shopping experience so unique, in the city centre and in the thriving urban ‘villages’ of Widcombe, Larkhall and London Road. Plus, in a handful of ‘off piste’ bonus locations for those especially eagle-eyed participants!


There will be a post box at the Bath Visitor Information Centre for completed entries. Or you can enter online or by post. Full details on the map. Good hunting!


Also during Alkmaar week, Bath Comedy presents an evening of contemporary cutting-edge Dutch comedy at Widcombe Social Club on July 11th. Details and tickets: www.bathcomedy.com

16 June 2017Alkmaar Week Activities Schedule

‘Alkmaar 70’ Week: Events and Activities

Monday 10th July to Sunday 16th July

(Print and download pdf version here)

Pre-Alkmaar Week Events:

Monday 3rd July, 6.00pm: Special Screening of Paul Verhoeven film, “Black Book” (18), in the Little Theatre.  Doors open at 5.40pm.  Tickets available from the Little Theatre: £7.50.

Wednesday 5th July, 6.00pm: Alkmaar Café: our regular monthly informal gathering in the ‘Rising Sun’ pub, Grove Street Bath. A ‘gezellig’ time is promised!




Monday, 10th




Formal launch of Alkmaar Week.  Raising of the Dutch and Union flags, with the Mayor of Bath: all welcome.
(Reception in Mayor’s Parlour afterwards for BATA members and invited guests only)

Orange Grove/Alkmaar Garden (next to the Guildhall)

From 11.00am

Launch of the Alkmaar 70 ‘Cheese Trail’ – a cross-City treasure hunt involving hidden Dutch cheeses! Can you find ‘em all? More information available on www.bathcomedy.com. No charge

Central Bath

Tuesday, 11th




Dutch Comedy Night : Four highly-regarded up-and- coming Dutch comedians, straight from the Toomler comedy club in Amsterdam, perform in a different language and with a non-Dutch audience. “What made the Dutchman laugh?” Come along and find out! Tickets £11 from www.bathboxoffice.org.uk

Widcombe Social Club

Thursday, 13th



7.45 for 08.00am

Business networking breakfast, exploring new opportunities for commercial and cultural links between Bath and Alkmaar, with Mayor of Alkmaar and Cllr Anketell-Jones of BathNES. Tickets available at https://bath-alkmaarbizbreakfast.eventbrite.co.uk

Bailbrook House Hotel


Commemoration service for Elias Prins, the Jewish activist from Alkmaar whose escape to Bath started the chain of events leading to the links between our cities.

St Swithun’s Church, Bathford
NB: please note location


BATA members only: buffet lunch reception with Mayor of Alkmaar, Burgomeester Mr Piet Bruinooge. Cash bar.

Larkhall Sports Club

Saturday, 15th



7.00 to 9.00pm

Alkmaar Youth Orchestra & Guests in Concert: a special anniversary concert, featuring music, dance & song on the theme: “Connections” plus readings from the Alkmaar-Bath origins story: tickets available online at https://alkmaaryouthorchestra.eventbrite.co.uk

Roper Theatre, Hayesfield School

Sunday, 16th



3.30 to 5.30pm

Alkmaar Youth Orchestra & Guests in Concert 2: a less formal repeat of last night’s concert with readings from the Alkmaar-Bath origins story: tickets available online at https://alkmaaryouthorchestra2.eventbrite.co.uk

St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath

7.30 to 9.00pm


End of Alkmaar Week Wine & Cheese reception: Prior Park School, Widcombe. For Alkmaar Youth Orchestra and invited guests.

Prior Park School

The Atlantis Pop Choir from Alkmaar will perform on the following dates:

14/07 - Royal Victoria Park at 3pm
15/07 - SouthGate at 2pm
16/07 - Parade Gardens at 11.30am

28 May 2017Bath Community Academy students visiting Alkmaar

Eleven year 9 Bath Community Academy students (with 2 staff) visited Alkmaar from 15-19th of May.  For quite a few of them, it was their first flight, first travel or holiday abroad, and first time away from their parents: the good news is - they had a fantastic time!

The students spent a day in Amsterdam, a day in school learning, amongst other things, some Dutch, a day in Den Haag at the miniature city (Madurodam), Sea Life Centre in Scheveningen and the IMAX movie theatre; followed by another day in Alkmaar on the canals, meeting the Mayor himself, paying a visit to the City Museum and a final morning watching the famous Cheese Weighing Market ceremony.

The students felt a strong connection with the 1946 children who first visited from Bath; two of those original Bath children, Monida and Bridget, visited the BCA students before their trip, and spoke about their own experiences. Consequently the BCA students looked for differences between Bath and Alkmaar and between 1946 and 2017.

At the end of a busy but exciting week, there was a farewell party/barbeque at Langedijk. on one of the 'thousand islands', which was a fabulous experience and showed just how well the students from Netherlands and the UK had mixed and got on.  There were some finishing speeches, some ‘thank you’s’, and not a little emotion.

The Dutch hosting families put themselves out tremendously – one taking a week off work – to make sure the students had a good time, and we, the school and the children are hugely grateful for their efforts.

The trip was a huge success, including the mixture of cultures, visits to art and history museums, civic events, ancient cheese ceremonies, working and spending time at the Dutch school who hosted the children, cycling to school every day and eating "very tasty " foreign food!

The impact on the students has been immense, their teachers report.  There is a real buzz amongst them in school now and  several have mentioned to teachers that this is the best thing that has happened to them.  This was a potentially life-changing opportunity, and we are delighted to have played a small part in helping make it happen. 

See also an article on the Families in Bath website


10 May 2017Alkmaar Week Special Events Programme


Programme of events to include city centre cheese trail, orchestral concerts and formal visit from ​Mayor of Bath’s Dutch twin city

Bath will be turning orange in the middle of July – but it won’t be the effects of the Summer sun.  Instead, the city will be celebrating a special Anniversary ‘Alkmaar Week’ from July 10th to 16th, marking 70 years of friendship with the Dutch city.

A programme of events during the week will focus attention on Bath’s connections with Alkmaar, a link which has its origins in the Second World War.

BATA Chairman, Martin Broadbent, explained:

“In 1940 a young Jewish man from Alkmaar, Eli Prins, escaped the advancing Nazi army by literally jumping onto a small fishing boat leaving the Netherlands. He ended up in Bath, where he became an Air Raid Warden, gave talks about his home town, and made many friends.

“When in early 1945 the Dutch government-in-exile asked Britain for help after a terrible Winter famine, the people of Bath decided to collect food and clothing, and raise money for Eli Prins’ home town.  It was the start of a friendship which has endured over seven decades.”

As part of its efforts to help, in 1945 Bath hosted 50 children from Alkmaar affected by the War and the Winter famine.  The following year, the grateful people of Alkmaar invited 50 children from Bath back to their city for a Summer holiday, cementing the friendship between the two communities.

A wide range of sporting and community groups continue to have strong links and arrange regular exchange visits, including local rowing, badminton, petanque and swimming clubs.  Several Bath schools have also been involved over the years, most recently Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield.  A group of pupils from Bath Community Academy are travelling to Alkmaar this month on an Arts project.

Alkmaar Week will be launched at the Orange Grove next to the Guildhall with a ceremonial raising of the flags of the Netherlands and Alkmaar.  The Mayor of Alkmaar, Burgemeester Pieter Bruinooge, will make a formal civic visit, bringing officals from Alkmaar Council, and the week will be rounded off by two concerts in Bath from the Alkmaar Youth Orchestra.

The Comedy Festival organisers are planning an alternative Dutch comedy night during the week, and will be organising a fun “Dutch Cheese Trail”, inviting members of the public to search for dozens of classic waxed Dutch cheeses, placed in shop windows and public places around the city centre.

Tickets for the comedy night are on sale here.

A special church service commemorating Eli Prin’s life, and the spirit of the link, will be held in St. Swithun’s Church, Bathford, where Mr Prins married and settled down after the War.

“We hope many people in Bath and Akmaar will take part in the events we are organising, and find out for themselves the story behind our cities’ friendship” added Martin Broadbent.

“ It is a tremendous tale, one which we believe people both countries should cherish, and which even now speaks to us all.”

Other special activities have already taken place to mark the Anniversary year, including the planting of 5,000 tulip bulbs around the City, donated by Alkmaar. The BBC’s Mary Berry returned to Bath to help schoolchildren plant some in Parade gardens, as her brother, Roger Berry, was on the first children’s trip to Alkmaar in 1946.

At the weekend the choir from Bath Abbey performed a concert of English Church music in Alkmaar’s ‘Great Church’, in the centre of the old Dutch city; a large group from the Rotary Club of Bath is visiting the twin city this week; and later in May the Mayor’s official folk band, the Bath City Jubilee Waits, will be performing there.

Tickets for the Alkmaar Youth Orchestra Concert being held on 15th July in the Roper Theatre are now available online at https://alkmaaryouthorchestra.eventbrite.co.uk

Bath Abbey Choir performed in Alkmaar on May 7th ; and the Alkmaar Youth Orchesta, playing concerts in Bath on July 15th and 16th

Cllr Paul Crossley, Mayor of Bath and Chris Davies of BATA, announcing the Alkmaar Week programme (photo: Liz Bugg); and Eli Prins, the Jewish man from Alkmaar whose escape to Bath triggered events which led to the link.


04 May 2017Minerva Bath RC visit to Alkmaar

April 21 – 24 2017

Since 1985 the 2 rowing clubs of Minerva Bath RC and ARZV Alkmaar have been exchanging visits twice a year. This year is a special year as it is the 70th anniversary of twinning between the 2 cities.

Minerva took a group of 15 rowers and their families to Alkmaar on Friday 21st April for a weekend of rowing, sightseeing and socialising with friends. The main event of the weekend was the AA race held on Sunday 23rd where rowing clubs from the North Holland area compete over a 4 kilometer course. Minerva and ARZV also raced for the Challenge Trophy and a Wooden Spoon is presented for poor performance, usually something unfortunately funny for the individual concerned.

On arrival in Alkmaar on Friday afternoon the group hired bikes and cycled to the Rowing Club where they were greeted by the ARZV ‘ oorzitter' (President), Bart Udo, and welcomed to the City before enjoying a takeaway meal in the Clubhouse and being introduced to and taken home by their weekend hosts.

After a training session at the club on Saturday morning a group from both clubs loaded up four hired motor boats with a picnic and headed for the old Alkmaar tree/plant nurseries, now a lovely park surrounded by canals, for lunch.

Later on that evening a group of around 40 sat down for a delicious meal at IJkgebouw restaurant, housed within a recently refurbished old building, built in 1877 as the head office for calibration (‘ijken') and inspection of weighing equipment.

Sunday was race day and Minerva entered a veteran mixed 8 and a veteran women’s coxed quad. The mixed 8 came second, beaten by only 11 seconds by a composite crew from ARZV and De Hertog Rowing Clubs and the quad came 6th in their category, which ARZV won. The day came to a successful end with live music and a barbecue at the club.

Due to the successes of the Dutch crews the challenge shield was retained by ARZV and the wooden spoon was taken home to Bath by Minerva member Mike Ashman for a near catastrophic incident (luckily all was fine) involving tropical fish at the home of his hosts.

The Minerva group returned to Bath on Monday morning and were waved farewell by their hosts at Alkmaar railway station on their way back to Schiphol.

ARZV will return to Bath between 22 and 25th September 2017 and will race at Monmouth Autumn Head on Sunday 24th.


27 April 2017Our famous barrel organ on the BBC!

Our famous little barrel organ has been heard again on the BBC! BATA committee member Chris Davies was invited to tell the origins story on another local BBC Radio station, BBC Wiltshire, by our good friend, Ali Vowles.

Thanks to the recent recording made by Otto de Jong, the people of Wiltshire heard the barrel organ playing again for the first time in over 70 years! It would last have been heard in some of their towns in 1945, when taken around Melsham, Trowbridge and other nearby towns by the Bath Air Raid Wardens and Rotary Club of Bath on the back of a lorry to collect money for the original Alkmaar Appeal.

The interview was another chance to highlight the fantastic gift to Bath, Somerset of 5,000 tulip bulbs from our friends in Alkmaar, which have been looking lovely in Bath's Parade Gardens and Orange Grove over the past month or so.

You can listen the interview for the next 26 days here on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04z489l, starting at the 1hr 14 minute mark.

24 April 2017Articles in this week's Bath Chronicle

Thanks to the hard work of our Committee Member Chris Davies, our Association was mentioned in two articles in this week’s Bath Chronicle.

One on the display of tulips in the centre of Bath (the bulbs were donated by our sister organisation in Alkmaar) and one on the trip of a team of young players of Spotters Hockey to Alkmaar (Spotters Hockey is our latest Corporate Member). On top of that, Chris was interviewed by Ali Vowles for BBC Radio Wiltshire this morning. A great week for our Association!

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Year 2015

Minerva Bath head to Alkmaar to race

7 crews from Minerva Bath Rowing club headed to Alkmaar in April to race in the annual AA race.  With stiff competition from the host club of ARZV plus a wealth of other Dutch competitors from regional clubs in Holland, Bath’s only rowing club had its work cut out but ex-women’s captain Liz Kebby Jones  and Holly Wardlaw both took impressive wins in the Vet A singles and the senior open singles races.  2 men’s coxed 4s took to the water, one crew coxed by complete novice cox Ali Daw Cameron, a men’s pair, a mixed double and a Vet mixed 8 crew all putting in solid performances but beaten by stronger Alkmaar boats on the day in windy conditions with hail coming down on the start line during the first division. 

Senior men’s rower Andy Hoyes said “Every year crews go over to Holland and their crews come back here, we’ve been doing this for over 30 years now, it is great to see how many people from the clubs  keep the connection between the cities alive.  Of course the competition on the water is very real too, we had two great wins from two of the women’s squad this year so we’re pleased to bring home some medals”.


The photos above show a report from the Bath Chronicle and one crew on the river.  
(click on image to see larger version)        

The weekend was not all about Rowing; on Saturday afternoon the English were treated to Dutch culinary delights at a cookery workshop where they made Bitterballen, a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux, which is shaped into balls, covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried. On Saturday evening a group of 40 friends sat down for dinner at Fabers restaurant in Alkmaar.

Next year sees the 70th anniversary of the twinning  of the towns of Bath and Alkmaar and the rowing clubs of Minerva and  ARZV are planning big celebrations to mark the occasion.  ARZV will return to Bath in September this year to stay with host families from Bath and compete on the river once again.  For more information on learning to row or cox visit minervabathrc.org.uk


Annual Civic Reception for the Bath Twinning Associations

The reception was held on Tuesday the 8th of December, in the Braunschweig Room at the Guildhall in Bath, from 5.00 p.m. to 18.30 p.m. The reception was hosted by our Mayor, Councillor William Sandry, and several Charter Trustees were present. Every Twinning Association had a small display of its activities. This was a great opportunity to meet old friends and to make some new ones!



Bath Photographic Society held their popular Annual Exhibition from 17th - 21st November 2015  at Bath Central Library, The Podium, Bath, BA1 5AN.

The Heilooer Amateur Fotografen (HAF) from our twinned city of Alkmaar had sent in a contribution of twenty photos for this exhibition, one of which is printed below, together with photos taken at the exhibition!

The exhibition was sponsored by London Camera Exchange (located near Bath Abbey)

For further details about the society visit http://www.bathphotographicsociety.org.uk

To see photos, click here..


City of Bath Pétanque Club visit to Alkmaar – 2015

Members of City of Bath Pétanque Club travelled to Alkmaar in North Holland in early October to meet up with fellow players at the city's 2 clubs: L'Autre Chemin and Celeritas. This was the third visit that club members had made to Bath's twinned city with a number of new members joining the trip this time.

Those who had not been to Alkmaar before were bowled over by the beauty of the old houses, the canals and the market square where the famous cheese market takes place.  All felt that the city deserves wider recognition as a tourist destination with some already planning return visits.






Bath players took part in a mêlée competition at L'Autre Chemin where teams are made up with players from both clubs and team members change around for each game. This gave us the chance to meet up with familiar faces and meet new people. Congratulations to Dalene Robertson and Christine Cox who were among the prize winners.

An early start on the Sunday saw teams of players arriving at the Celeritas Sports Complex for the Open Doubles competition along with players from other parts of Europe and the Netherlands doubles champions. Undaunted by the level of competition, Bath players enjoyed 5 rounds of games before relaxing in the late afternoon sunshine outside the clubhouse. Chris McGinn and Christine Cox won a cash prize for the team with the highest points score and 1 win. Diana Lockwood and Liz Bugg won a cash prize for the lowest points score overall! We were delighted to be presented with gifts of mature Edam cheese by the club.

Members of both our host clubs were presented with City of Bath club pin badges, and we are now optimistic that players from Alkmaar will come to Bath for one of the Club's open competitions in 2016 and to give us the opportunity to return the warm hospitality that we always receive. 




Visit of Alkmaar Rowing Club to Bath, September 2015

During the weekend of 25 – 28 September Alkmaar's rowing club ARZV were hosted by their friends from Minerva Bath Rowing Club. On Friday evening 22 visitors from ARZV were welcomed to the City by the Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor William Sandry at a Civic reception held in the Mayor’s Parlour. The event was also attended by the Reverend Martin Broadbent, Chairman of the Bath – Alkmaar Twinning Association. The visitors went onto the Harrington Club for a meal and drinks before being collected by their hosts.

The full programme can be seen by clicking here.


This year saw the return to Bath of Bram Zwart who took part in the inaugural visit of ARZV to Bath 30 years ago, in 1985. Bram remembered being welcomed that year in the same room by the Mayor at that time and even remembered her name; Mrs Jeannette Farley Hole. Bram went on to present the Mayor with a gift from ARZV, a “Rigger Gate”, from an old rowing boat, on an engraved mount. Bram thanked the Mayor for his kind welcome and hospitality.



It has been a very busy and we think, very successful year for the Bath – Alkmaar Twinning Association. We worked very hard on governance by taking on board the recommendations on the activities of our Association as presented in the report of the management consultancy Nine Feet Tall. This advice was offered free of charge by Esther McMorris, CEO of Nine Feet Tall, for which we are very grateful. Furthermore, we strengthened our Committee with several new Committee Members and we found Councillor Dine Romero willing to fill the vacant post of Vice Chairman.

For the second year running we substantially increased the Membership of our Association and our webmaster, John Stirrup, worked very hard on our website.

We found the Bath engineering company Rotork Controls Ltd. and Bath-based Charles Stanley & Co. Ltd. (Investments Service) willing to sponsor two main twinning events of our Association over the last year: the visit of the Regional Youth Orchestra ‘Artiance’ to Bath and the participation of young athletes from Bath in the 2015 International Children’s Games that were held in Alkmaar. We got additional support for these two activities from the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath, Hayesfield School and the ‘Alkmaar’s Uitwisselings Comite’. Again, we are very grateful for their support.

To see in more detail, the twinning activities between Bath and Alkmaar which we organized, participated and/or supportedover the last twelve months, click here.


Bath Artist Printmakers in Alkmaar

In response to an invitation from the Grafisch Atelier Alkmaar (GAA) to become involved in their fortieth anniversary celebration - ʻGAA Druk maken 2015ʼ - three members, Emma Gregory, Sheena Vallely and Leah Crews travelled to Alkmaar in July to exchange ideas, give talks and demonstrations. For all involved it was a revelation.

A basilica styled church had been transformed into a ʻcathedralʼ of printmaking. In place of pews were a variety of presses providing the foundation for demonstrations, talks and projects while works from various printmaking ateliers in the Netherlands and elsewhere lined the interior, providing examples of the power and variety of contemporary printmaking.

The festival, which took place from early July to the end of August, was also a forum in which artists from different countries came to together to exchange ideas, explore possibilities and establish bonds. During their residencies Emma, Sheena and Leah embarked on projects related to Alkmaar and intend to develop these further now that they are back in Bath. This will ensure that the links established in Alkmaar will continue and hopefully flourish in the future. Their works will be shown in the GAA Gallery in Alkmaar during 2016.

They and all at BAP therefore would like to thank the team from GAA, members of the Alkmaar Twinning Committee, which supported the visit with a grant, and all the volunteers who were a constant source of generosity, enthusiasm and inspiration. They will not be forgotten.

For more details....


Greetings to our four twin cities (Kaposvar, Braunschweig, Alkmaar and Aix-en-Provence) from Bath Library! May 2015 update - Chew Stoke Community Library

In this fourth report to our twin cities I’m going to tell you about a project that has happened recently.

Quilt of Words Project
This was a partnership project with local organisation ‘A Word in Your Ear’, with whom we’ve now worked in partnership with a number of times, and crafts expert Emily Langdon. It gained a small grant from Bath and N.E. Somerset Council Arts Development Funding.

The idea was to encourage people to recover and write down memories particularly those associated with textiles. These memories written on ‘quilt patch’ shaped paper are now being sewn into a large paper ‘quilt’.
For more details of this project and previous reports....


Bath Sports Centre Badminton Club exchange with the Poona Badminton club of Alkmaar

In September 2014 Poona Badminton Club of Alkmaar came to Bath as our guests.  As always with our exchange visits, Saturday afternoon was to be set aside for a badminton tournament.

For more details....


Twinning Consultancy Report of Nine Feet Tall

At the end of last year, Esther McMorris, founder of the Bath-based management consultancy 'Nine Feet Tall', became a member of our Association. Esther generously offered us a free consultancy on how we could improve certain aspects of our twinning activities. We gratefully accepted Esther's offer.
For more details....




One photo from the Heilooer Amateur Fotografen (HAF) from our twinned city of Alkmaar, together with photos taken at the exhibition!

Click on photo to see larger version and click on 'back button' in browser to return to page.



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The 2015 International Children’s Games.
Young athletes from Bath participated in the 2015 International Children's Games. Accredited by the International Olympic Committee, 18 children aged from 12 to 15 travelled to Alkmaar in the Netherlands to participate in the 49th running of this annual competition, which were held from the 24th to the 29th of June 2015.

More than 1500 athletes between the ages of 12 and 15 from about 80 cities worldwide took part. They competed in track and field, golf, football, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, judo, beach volleyball and volleyball events at different locations in Alkmaar.

Although the City of Bath is not a member of the International Children’s Games organization, it was invited to take part in the 2015 event because of its twinning link with Alkmaar. The Charter Trustees of the City of Bath accepted this invitation and an informal working group to support the preparations of the ‘City of Bath’ team for the Games was set up. Councillor Dine Romero, our Vice Chairman, chaired the working group.

The ‘City of Bath’ team was 24 people strong: 18 athletes, four coaches, a ‘Head of Delegation’ (Councillor Dine Romero) and last but not least a City Representative, Councillor Will Sandry, current Mayor of Bath. Beechen Cliff School, Hayesfield School, Bath Dolphin Swimming Club and Bath University Team Bath Judo Club sent athletes and coaches. The ‘City of Bath’ team competed successfully in girl’s soccer, tennis, swimming and judo.

Yearly Twinning Association Pétanque Match.
On the evening of t he 26th of June, Bath's four Twinning Associations came head to head in Queen Square once again for a Pétanque tournament organized by the City of Bath Pétanque Club. Competitors were relieved to find that the rain stopped at the right moment for play to begin on time.  Last year's winners, the Bath - Alkmaar Twinning Association (!), met with strong competition from the Kaposvár teams, who won 5 out of 6 games to become this year's winners.

The then Deputy Mayor, Councillor Shaun McGall, presented Peter Metcalf, Chair of the Bath - Kaposvár Twinning Association with the trophy.



The Alkmaar Rotary Club visited the Rotary Club of Bath in May.
Hosted by the Rotary club of Bath, this visit by its counterpart from Alkmaar ran from the 28th of May until the 31st of May 2015. The twinning activities between the two clubs are going back to the years just after the end of the Second World War. On the Friday an outing was organized to Avebury followed by lunch in Marlborough and in the evening the guests were entertained in the homes of their hosts. The following day a Gala Evening took place at the Lansdown Golf Club, with, as per tradition, the hosts providing the entertainment. It was a great weekend and friendships were renewed and new ones made!


The visit of the Regional Youth Orchestra ‘Artiance’.
The playing of Alkmaar Regional Youth Orchestra, from our twin city in the Netherlands, delighted Bath audiences at two concerts on the 1st and 2nd of May 2015.

The 68 Dutch musicians, aged between 10 and 18 years old, played on the Friday evening at Hayesfield School where the school’s senior choir joined them. The concert ended with the audience of all ages together with the orchestra and choir giving a hearty rendition of Edward Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the young musicians later socializing and singing together with no noticeable language barrier.

Saturday’s concert took place in the glittering surroundings of Bath’s Assembly Rooms in the presence of the then Mayor of Bath, Councillor Cherry Beath. Once again the young musicians, playing under the inspired leadership of their conductor Otto de Jong, performed with a maturity and precision that belied their years and impressed all who attended.

The orchestra’s visit was organized to celebrate 70 years since links were first forged between the two cities in 1945 when, through local fundraising, food and money were sent from Bath to Alkmaar helping the Dutch city in the last year of the war when people were dying of starvation. Following the success of this musical weekend plans are already in hand to continue the links between schoolchildren in Bath and Alkmaar.


Minerva Bath Rowing Club from Bath wins back the Challenge Shield.

Minerva Bath Rowing Club won back the Challenge Shield on their annual trip to Bath's twin city Alkmaar. Rowers from Bath spent three days in April 2015, taking in Dutch culture before Sunday's races against the ‘Alkmaarse Roei en Zeil Vereniging (ARZV)’.




Annual exhibition of the Bath Photographic Society.

The society staged its annual exhibition from the 18th to the 22nd of November 2014 at Bath Central Library. This year twenty digital images were provided by the ‘Heilooër Amateur Fotografen (HAF)’. Heiloo is a village, 5 km south of Alkmaar. Bath-based London Camera Exchange sponsored the exhibition.




The Alkmaar Café.
The (then) Mayor of Bath, Councillor Cherry Beath, joined the many Bathonians who have gained insight into the city’s twinning activities through the monthly Alkmaar Café. Organized by the Bath - Alkmaar Twinning Association, the Alkmaar Café gives those interested in the Dutch twin city and twinning in general the opportunity to meet in an informal setting and learn more about the links that exist between Bath and Alkmaar.

At the November Alkmaar Café, the then Mayor and her Consort, husband Richard, tasted cheese brought for the occasion directly from the world renowned Alkmaar Cheese Market. The Mayor expressed herself delighted to meet members of the Bath - Alkmaar Twinning Association and that the occasion brought back memories of her staying in the Netherlands.

The photograph shows the (then) Mayor of Bath, Councillor Cherry Beath, at the November Alkmaar Café with her Consort and members of the Bath -  Alkmaar Twinning Association, including on the left the Chairman Martin Broadbent. In the background is the flag of the city of Alkmaar.



And finally….:

The Bath - Alkmaar Twinning Committee sometimes helps to achieve wonderful results. Recently Mrs. Janice Wareham from Bath wrote to ask if we could help her. She was a child during the Second World War and remembers a visit soon after the war ended. A group of children from Alkmaar came to Bath and were hosted by families in the city. Her family looked after a boy called Theo van Hilten.

Could the Bath – Alkmaar Twinning Association help her discover whether or not Theo was still alive and find out if he would like to renew contact after all these years?

Happily we have been able to put them in touch once again and a friendship, which was started about 70 years ago, has been renewed. It is a wonderful story, which emphasizes that it has been a very successful year indeed!

So what is being planned for the next twelve months? It promises to be just as busy as last year, if not more so!

Foremost, we would like to see a stronger involvement of the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath with twinning. We would also like to see a further increase in our membership - more members means more possibilities to support twinning activities. In addition we would like to focus more on support for children of a less privileged background who would want to take part in a twinning activity.

This means that we will look into how we can build on the visit to Bath of the Regional Youth Orchestra ‘Artiance’ and how we can assist with the possible involvement of young athletes of Bath in the International Children’s Games. Secondly, we want to further develop links between schools in Bath and schools in Alkmaar and organize ‘themed’ sessions (for named groups) of the Alkmaar Café (held every first Tuesday of the month from 18.00 to 19.00 at the Bath Brew House). Lastly, we like to look into possible twinning activities for football, cycling and museums.

This is all hard work and we acknowledge that publicity is key. Therefor, we are very keen to recruit a publicity officer for the Committee of the Bath – Alkmaar Twinning Association.

In more detail, the following twinning activities are as of August 2015 planned for the next twelve months.

A visit of the Bath Artist Printmakers to Alkmaar on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the ‘Grafisch Atalier Alkmaar’. They will participate in an exhibition in the ‘Grote Sint Laurens Kerk’ (10th of July to the 31st of August 2015).

A visit of the ‘Alkmaarse Roei en Zeil Vereniging (ARZV)’ to Bath. This visit is hosted by the Minerva Bath Rowing Club (25th to the 28th of September 2015).

A visit of the Bath Pétanque Club to Alkmaar, hosted by the L’Autre Chemin Club and Celeritas Club. They will play the L'Autre Chemin Club on the Saturday and compete in the Celeritas Club Open Competition on Sunday (2nd to the 6th of October 2015).

Participation of ‘Heiloo’s Amateur Fotografenvereniging (HAF)’ in the yearly exhibition of the Bath Photographic Society (BFS) running in Bath in November 2015.

Develop twinning activities between the NHSRF Bath & District Branch and/or RUH NHS Foundation Trust in Bath and the ‘Alkmaar Medisch Centrum’ in Alkmaar.

Visit of ‘De Alkmaarse Waterratten (DAW)’ of Alkmaar to Bath, hosted by the Bath Dolphin Swimming Club (Easter 2016).

And, last but not least, an Alkmaar Café session at the Bath Brew House every first Tuesday of the month from 18.00 to 19.00. We hope to meet you there!


Visit of Alkmaar Rowing Club to Bath, September 2015

At the end of September, Alkmaar Rowing Club (ARZV Roei), visited Bath and took part in the Monmouth Autumn Head of the River 2015.

Friday 25 September

18.00     Civic Reception hosted by the Mayor in the Guildhall Bath
                Just because you are special to Bath and us!

19.30     The Harrington Club, 5-6 Harrington Place, Bath, BA1 1HF  
                Food, meet and greet with hosts

Saturday 26 September

9.30       Alkmaar Men’s 8/Skullers training outing (if required)

10.30     Alkmaar Women’s 8/Skullers training outing (if required)

Lunch    Optional lunch in the Boathouse Pub or catch Park & Ride bus into
              Bath and find somewhere to have lunch in smaller groups.

14.50     Meet outside the Roman Baths

              Options 1) Tour of the Baths 2) Bath Treasure Hunt 3) Shopping
              The choice is yours

19.30     Jimmy’s Restaurant, 6-8 Dorchester Street, Bath, BA1 1SS
              Where we can try to wreck your Sunday performance with Beer, Wine and Spicy food.

Sunday 27 September

Day        Travel to race at Monmouth – hosts to provide or arrange lifts

19.30     St.James Wine Vault, 10 St James’s Street, BA1 2TW

               An evening of beer, food, great company and access to an ‘Open Mic’ band session
               in the cellar to say a fond farewell after a good day’s racing at Monmouth.

               Also the awarding of the coveted Alkmaar/Bath Challenge Shield and
               the equally coveted ‘wooden spoon’ of ‘putting your foot in it or making a
               fool of yourself during the weekend’.

Monday 28 September

Meet at Bath Bus Station – time to be agreed

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Bath Artist printmakers

Leah Crews, ʻThe Bath Barrel Organʼ, Linocut.



Leahʼs work centred on the story of how the twinning between our two cities came about. The barrel organ, now in the Alkmaar town hall, was played in the streets of Bath shortly after the second world war to raise funds for the orphaned children of Alkmaar. She now proposes to produce a print of the Alkmaar Gardens in Bath, copies of which will be sent as gifts to the Twinning Committee in Alkmaar.







Emma Gregory, ʻSkylines of Alkmaarʼ, Silkscreen.


One of three books of ʻpostcardsʼ,
produced during her residency.







Sheena Vallely at work in the Grote Kirk.


During her residency Sheena was introduced to several dutch artists, one of whom collaborated with her on a new work inspired by her visit. The two plan to meet later this month in Bristol. 






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Bath & North East Somerset Council

Greetings to our four twin cities (Kaposvar, Braunschweig, Alkmaar and Aix-en-Provence) from Bath Library!

May 2015 update -

In this fourth report to our twin cities I’m going to tell you about a project that has happened recently.

Quilt of Words Project

This was a partnership project with local organisation ‘A Word in Your Ear’, with whom we’ve now worked in partnership with a number of times, and crafts expert Emily Langdon. It gained a small grant from Bath and N.E. Somerset Council Arts Development Funding.

The idea was to encourage people to recover and write down memories particularly those associated with textiles. These memories written on ‘quilt patch’ shaped paper are now being sewn into a large paper ‘quilt’.

Clare Reddaway (from a Word in Your Ear’) and I also ran a Saturday writing workshop to inspire people to write short stories inspired by a range of patterned textiles and also a family quilt brought in by Clare.


Emily Langdon had a three day residency in Bath Central Library gathering memories from library users and showing them how to hand sew patches.  She also had her sewing machine with her in the library!





Some memories written on patch shaped paper

being assembled by hand stitching. 















Emily Langdon, expert crafts person
with her sewing machine in Central Library
during her three day residency.








The quilt of memories is a work in progress and not yet completed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about this project and I will send out my next update at the beginning of July.

Best wishes from all of us at Bath and N.E. Somerset Library Service.

June Wentland (Reader Development Officer)

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Chew Stoke Community Library


In this third report to our twin cities I’m going to tell you about a ‘community library’ that we run in a rural part of Bath and N.E. Somerset.


   The inside of the library

This library is very unusual as it is in a public house called the ‘Stoke Inn’. It has a very small collection of books which local people can come and borrow. They just have to sign in a notebook to say that they have borrowed a book. We have some local people who volunteer to look after the books. They come in on a rota basis on Wednesday mornings.

We work with some other organisations to run events and opportunities in the ‘library’ as well and the library is known as the ‘Hub-in-a-Pub’ and has its own logo as you can see below.


The outside of the building including the Community Library sign

I run a regular monthly reading group and a Creative Writing Group.
We’ve also provided a course in Family History and advice on how to download e- library books.

Every year Bath has a Literature Festival and the Producer from the Literature Festival came out to run a special session of the reading group this month in the ‘Hub-in-Pub’ library.

Coffee and cake after a reading group session

 This is a really worthwhile project as it is greatly appreciated by the local people, many of whom feel cut off from the city.
We hope you enjoyed hearing about this project.  I’ll send our next update at the beginning of April.


Best wishes from all of us at Bath and N.E. Somerset Library Service
June Wentland (Reader Development Officer)

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‘Noir’ short story competition event
In this second report to out twin cities I’m going to tell you about a short story writing competition that we’ve just organised.
This competition was for adults and we ran it in partnership with an independent organisation based in Bath called ‘Story Fridays’. The competition also had sponsorship from The Bath Chronicle (the local newspaper).
Entrants were asked to write a story on the theme of ‘Noir’. We had lots of entries of very high standard and were able to give certificates and book token prizes to six winners.
The winning six stories were read at a ‘Story Fridays’ event at a venue called Burdall’s Yard (owned by Bath Spa University, which is used for arts performances). The event was held on Friday 7th November at 7pm. The stories (some read by the authors and some by actors) were all very enjoyable to listen to.

  Showing part of the stage and audience                                     Julie Green,
                                                                               a story winner co-reads her winning entry.

I gave a short speech and presented the certificates and prizes. There were between 50 and 100 people present and it was a great evening. The readings were followed by the screening of a classic Noir film The Third Man and the evening finished at 11.30pm.
We hope you enjoyed  hearing about this project.  I’ll send our next update at the beginning of February.
Best wishes from all of us at Bath and N.E. Somerset Library Service.
June Wentland (Reader Development Officer)

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Bath Sports Centre Badminton Club exchange with the Poona Badminton club of Alkmaar

In 2014 Poona Badminton Club of Alkmaar came to Bath as our guests. Although the visit was very brief, from 18th to 21st of September, our initial planning meeting took place back in January. Firstly, we had to identify which of our members would act as hosts for the long weekend. Then we had to find some interesting places to visit, this was made more difficult because it was to be their eighth visit to Bath and we always like to include something new. As always with our exchange visits, Saturday afternoon was to be set aside for a badminton tournament.

Eventually, we decided to do a walking tour of Widcombe taking in the Perrymead Cemetery, the locks and the architecture on Friday morning. And in the afternoon we chose to visit the premises of Aquaglass in Walcott Street. This was a good choice as it was a chance to join the Dutch in a spot of glass blowing. Everyone managed to blow their own keepsake glass bauble and we had ordered a special glass vase as a gift from our club to Poona. This was inscribed to mark the 25th anniversary of these exchanges and presented to our Dutch guests. After we finished at Aquaglass, we made our way to the Mayor’s Parlour where we had an audience with the Mayor.


The tournament went well with victory this year to Bath. During Saturday we were joined by a Dutch couple who now live in South Wales, making the grand total of 14 Dutch and 32 locals who were involved in the various activities during the weekend.

On Sunday we concluded our weekend en-route to the Airport at Banwell Bone Caves. Here we saw some fascinating glacial bone deposits and took the opportunity to climb the 50ft tower on Banwell Hill, with views over the Severn estuary.

The local venues we used for meals were:

Thursday meet and greet at the Green Park Brasserie

Friday coffee stop, Prior Park Garden Centre

Friday Lunch, Marmaris

Friday Evening, Tilley’s

Saturday Party Night, The Lansdown Tennis Squash and Croquet Club

Sunday Lunch and farewells, The Caves at Banwell

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Twinning Consultancy Report of Nine Feet Tall

At the end of last year, Esther McMorris, founder of the Bath-based management consultancy 'Nine Feet Tall', became a member of our Association. Esther generously offered us a free consultancy on how we could improve certain aspects of our twinning activities. We gratefully accepted Esther's offer.

The consultancy took place at the end of last year and during the first quarter of this year and was carried out by Tegan Allen. A report, titled 'The Twinning Association of Bath - Alkmaar: Best Practice research and recommendations' was produced and send to us early this summer. Subsequently, the recommendations that form part of the report, were discussed by the Committee of the Bath - Alkmaar Twinning Association at a Special Committee Meeting on 4 November. The actions that followed from this discussion will be carried over to the next Committee Meeting later this month, where Members can also have their say (a calling note for this meeting will be send out shortly).

For those among you who are interested in the report from Nine Feet Tall: it has been uploaded onto our website ( www.bath-alkmaar.eu ) and can be found under the tab 'Forms & Documents'.
It has also been sent for information to the other Bath Twinning Associations.

As said before, we are very thankful for the assistance that was offered to us by Nine Feet Tall and in particular by Esther McMorris and Tegan Allen.

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