Bath is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its ‘twinning’ with Alkmaar in The Netherlands next week – July 10 to 16 – and there’s a real fun way we can all join in.
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.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
During Alkmaar Week, 75 cheeses, kindly donated by the Alkmaar cheese merchants, will be placed in the windows of independent Bath shops and other prominent places. Each cheese will have a fascinating fact about the history of the twinning attached, linked to a numbered quiz question on the accompanying entry form. Answer as many questions as you can and those with the most correct answers will be placed in a draw to win a fabulous prize: a giant cheese! Some cheeses will be hard to find, don’t worry if you don’t get them all.
WHERE DO I PICK UP MY ENTRY FORM?
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
WHERE WILL I FIND THE CHEESES?
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!
WHERE DO I HAND IN MY ENTRY?
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!
FOR YOUR INFORMATION.
Bath-Alkmaar Twinning was the world’s very first town twinning, and came about when the citizens of Bath, still reeling from the terrible Baedeker bombing raids that devastated the city, raised the equivalent of £250,000, at that time an astronomical sum, to help the children of Alkmaar, a historic Dutch town hard hit by the terrible famine known as The Hunger Winter which gripped the country at the end of World War 2. As well as sending money, clothing and food, Bath families played host to a large group of the neediest children, giving them a Christmas to remember.
Later, the town of Alkmaar reciprocated by organising a wonderful holiday for fifty Bath children, which for many was not only their first holiday for many years but also their first trip abroad.
Thus the friendship between the two cities was forged and indeed continues to this day in the form of regular cultural and sporting exchanges.