FAN Event Nijmegen 2018, October 21, 2018, Stevenskerk, Note in a Coat

‘How small things make a big difference’.

Highlight of FAN Event 2018 was the premiere of the short cinematic documentary made by Nijmegen filmmaker Martijn Schinkel and produced by Tuk Melissen. The research and editing was in the hands of Anja Adriaans.

The film is an initiative of the FAN Friendship Albany-Nijmegen foundation. Recordings were made in both in Nijmegen and Albany.  The film was supported by the American Embassy in The Hague and  the municipality of Nijmegen.

This short film, entitled ‘Note in a Coat,’ brings large-scale international politics of the post-WWII and Marshall Plan years back to the level of individual human beings. A note in the pocket of a winter coat, donated by a resident of Albany, created a lifelong transatlantic friendship.

A “Pen-Pals” project from 1948 between Albany and Nijmegen ran out of steam over time, but brought about warm friendships that have survived over 70 years.The letters from those days, passing back and forth across the Atlantic, are true ambassadors for peace.

In 2018, we at FAN believe that the message from the past: ‘Small things make a big difference’ has not lost its meaning.

Students from BSO de Oversteek, Mondial College and Kandinsky College made an important contribution to the FAN Event 2018. Their participation in the film and the presentations makes the 71-year international friendship between both cities tangible and lively.

Dolly Verhoeven, professor of Gelderland and Nijmegen history, supervised the program.

Americanist Anja Adriaans, founder of FAN, explained the link between past and present on the base of a historical audio recording from 1949.

The FAN Event was musically framed by Cantus Obliquus’s ‘contradiction’. Friendship and love for singing run as ‘pink threads’ through this choir, that is musically led by Christel Gelderman. Other performances include: Rik Cornelissen – an innovative and contemporary jazz and Latin accordeonist – and the duo ‘Gloed a Deux’ – guitar and vocals, pure, small, intimate and atmospheric.

The FAN Event in the Stevenskerk was supported by many, we specifically thank ARN Afvalverwerking and Marco de Ruiter, Audio-Traject.

Tulip festival Albany 2018

May, 9th Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan opened the FAN exhibit ”American Friendship from Across the Ocean” with a  festive reception in Albany’s City Hall.

The exhibit chronicles the liberation of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, by the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II and the subsequent humanitarian shipment of relief goods sent by Albany to Nijmegen  to help rebuild that city. This aid action took place in 1947 and was an example for the later large-scale European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan.

It was very special to have the exhibition on display in the Albany City Hall. Bregje Jaspers, Studio 0404 creatively made the adjustments for an English-speaking audience. Radboud in’to Languages provided an excellent translation of Marijke Hanegraaf’s poem. During the opening also spoke: Paul Grondahl, director of the NY State University Writers’ Institute and Mark Schaming, director of the NY State Museum. (photos)

Many thanks are due to the Province of Gelderland for their support.

The Tulip Festival is an annual event in the beautiful historic Washington Park. This year is the 70th anniversary of the Festival and the newly revealed informative ‘Nijmegen’ sign marks its start in 1948 when Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands thanked Albany with a large tulip bulbs gift.

With an all-out effort the FAN exhibition was set up in the Rotunda of the Albany City Hall. Just in time for the opening on May 9, 2018.

UTS Verkroost took care of the professional transport by ship and van from Nijmegen to Albany.