Award for Dutch American Friendship

The year started with a beautiful award for our founder-director Anja Adriaans. She received this recognition from the Overseas Americans Remember (OAR) on April, 19 Dutch American Friendship Day, at the US Embassy.

Exhibit : Albany and Nijmegen: an international friendship

From early June  through begin of September 2021, the exhibition ‘Post-war reconstruction and International Friendship’ was on display in Museumpark Orientalis in Heilig Landstichting. The exhibition was part of the 1st lustrum celebration of the ‘Friendship Albany Nijmegen association’ (FAN). Other organizations; ‘Nijmegen Wederopbouwstad’, ‘Vrijheidsmuseum’ and ‘Groesbeek Airborne Vrienden’ contributed to the exhibition from their collections. The exhibition told the story of the relief aid from the city of Albany (NY) for the city of Nijmegen after WW2 and showed the situation of city of Nijmegen and the town of Groesbeek in a period of reconstruction.

Visitors learned about the history and special connection between an American and Dutch city through old photo material, letters and historical documents, posters, and video. The display is an experience of the importance of international cooperation, friendship, and solidarity between people of different cultures in times of great distress.

An important moment for this international cooperation was in 1947 when boats arrived in Nijmegen from Albany with 300 tons of relief supplies, including food packages, baby clothes, shoes, medicine, and typewriters. Several packages held letters from Albany citizens to the families in Nijmegen, creating international appreciation and friendships.

The arrival of the relief supplies gave the people of Nijmegen hope and energy to start rebuilding the city in good spirits. The many stories and some objects that were included in this cargo could be admired in the exhibition.

FAN’s first lustrum celebration

We celebrated our first lustrum mid-June, 2021, with the theme ‘Post-war Reconstruction & International Friendship’. It was a special type of celebration, because and despite of the Covid pandemic. We organized an inspiring speaker program in the beautiful Cenakelkerk in Heilig Landstichting. Due to the measures in force, the invitation was open to a strictly limited number of  guests, however an international audience was enabled to see the event through a livestream which was technical supported by Studio Honig.

Mayor M. Slinkman of Berg en Dal welcomed the guests. Mrs. Ank Bijleveld, outgoing Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, was our keynote speaker. Other speakers were the U.S. Consul General to the Netherlands, Mrs. Jennifer DeWitt Walsh and Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen. Anja Adriaans (founder FAN) highlighted the transatlantic friendship Albany-Nijmegen as an example of the theme. We alternated with two short videos, granddaughter Juultje van Raaij in conversation with her grandfather Jan Leesberg, who eye witnessed the war and the arrival of goods from Albany. Students from Mondial College and Kandinsky College talked about their trip to Albany in 2019. Both short videos were made in collaboration with famed Nijmegen filmmaker Martijn Schinkel. We were very honored with the impressive group of speakers who wanted to enhance our lustrum!

This anniversary celebration of the FAN Foundation was realized with the support of the vfonds, US Embassy to the Netherlands, DELA and others.

Orange Wonder Club

The Orange Wonder Club Nijmegen was founded this year. The Orange Wonder Club (OWC) functions as a business club to the FAN Foundation. It unites people with a warm interest in the historical, socio-cultural and economic ties between the Netherlands and the United States of America and the bond between Nijmegen and Albany NY in particular. Membership is by invitation and/or nomination of the affiliated members.