75 years of the link between Bath and Alkmaar

Celebrated in person in May 2022, despite two years of delay because of COVID restrictions.

A 20-strong delegation from Bath, consisting of members of the Rotary Club and the Bath-Alkmaar Twinning committee, visited the twin Dutch city and took part in meetings on sustainability, visited the pop-up Truus Weijsmuller Museum – which includes a new audio-visual film on our link – unveiled a memorial stone by the Bath Bridge to mark the city-link, and attended a special concert in the Great Church to mark the occasion.

The little barrel organ, first used in Bath to help raise awareness of the original Alkmaar Appeal which led to the link, took pride of place on stage during the charity concert, and even managed to join in, amusingly, with two pieces of music written especially by Otto De Jong, conductor of the Artiance Youth Orchestra.

The opportunity to meet again in person was a real treat.  Although Zoom has meant much more regular contact between the cities’ two twinning committees and Rotary Clubs than previously, all involved agreed that the chance to chat at leisure, and to spend time in each other’s company, were irreplaceable.

Representatives of the Rotary Club of Alkmaar will be in Bath in June to attend a special Centenary Dinner of the Bath Club, which played a key role in the early development of the link between the cities.

A group from the AUC twinning committee of Alkmaar, as well as the ‘Alkmaar Op de Kart’ board, and local Alkmaar photography clubs are expected in Bath in late August, to view a special exhibition of photos.  The group will also attend the first formal “banging of the gong” ceremony, initiated by the Mayor to celebrate the anniversary of the large brass gong which in 1947 was presented to the Mayor of Bath in exchange for the barrel organ, which was given the Alkmaar in 1946.

Photo’s below: visit Alkmaar cheese market, Chris Davies and Otto de Jong at the concert with the Barrel Organ, the memorial stone. Video:  Playing the Barrel Organ together with the Orchestra, unveiling of the memorial stone.

Slideshow of the celebration in Alkmaar