Mayor Bruls of Nijmegen paid a return visit to Albany NY

Mayor Sheehan of Albany invited Mayor Bruls to the 75th Tulip Festival. From 11 to 14 May, he was welcomed with an extensive program aimed at getting to know the city of Albany. The stories of the Dutch roots – In the earlier ages Albany was called Beverwyck and before that Fort Orange – were told during a tour of the heritage sites and an exhibition at the Institute of History and Art. A walk near the Hudson River explained  Albany’s efforts to reconnect the city to the water. The comparison to Nijmegen was obvious. Breakfast was had at the USS Slater, a destroyer warship active in ending WWII. The company of Mrs. Chloe Gavin – daughter of General James M. Gavin and Bill Bauer of the 82nd Airborne Association was well appreciated. In Albany – being the capital of the state of New York – are the offices of the Governor and the House of Representatives. During a visit to these buildings there was a lively discussion about American politics, and Mayor Bruls signed the official guests book of the State of New York.

An important part of the visit and the immediate cause were the festivities surrounding the 75th Tulip Festival. Mayor Bruls gave a speech at the opening in State Street, he visited the festival and there was a photo opportunity at the tens of thousands of tulips planted in Washington Park. He was introduced to the Tulip Queen and Court organization and phenomenon. An annual election of the best volunteer of the year who, with the assistance of a “Court” carries out community projects or a year with financial support from the city.

At the so-called Royal Tulip Ball, Mayor Bruls received applause from the 300 guests by comparing the friendship of Albany (NY) and Nijmegen to a tulip, which is in full bloom at certain times of the year and waiting underground for other times. “I also wish for our city bond that we can see each other regularly, as friends do and then it is – just like when you meet good friends again – as if there is a continuous line”. (Bruls, 2023).

Bruls showed a particular interest in the RCA building. The building served as a supplier of accessories for record company RCA and Bruls – who is a huge fan of Elvis Presley – recounted that Elvis released a special series of records under that label. One of the iconic symbols of Albany, Nipper, is perched atop that building, a dog in a sitting position with an ear raised in reference to the meaning of music in life.

Mayor Bruls was accompanied by a delegation from FAN’s board and two members of the networking club of the FAN foundation, called the Orange Wonder Club (OWC). Joining us in Albany were American members of FAN’s Committee of Recommendation, including Chloe Gavin, Tammis Groft, Paul Grondahl, and Jay Jakovic Esq, as well as Bill Bauer, Executive Director of the 82nd Airborne Division Association.

Liberation Route Europe

We are very proud that the story about the friendship between Albany and Nijmegen has been included in the Liberation Route Europe. The Liberation Route Europe is a transnational memorial. It is a trail connecting WWII remembrance sites and stories across Europe. The story about the friendship between the two sister cities is now available on the website and in the route.