| Since the
1st June 1999, the municipalities of Koekelberg and Sanlúcar de
Barrameda (Cadiz) have seen their bond strengthened after the
signature of the twinning agreement between both city councils.
Following the success of the 1997
Feria, jointly organised by the Peña
Arte y Cultura de Andalucía de Bruselas (PACA) and the Koekelberg
Mr Federico Gallo, chairman of PACA and Mr Jean-Pierre De Keyn, Koekelberg’s
alderman for Europe, asked the representation of the “Junta of Andalusia”
in Brussels to look for a potential partner of the Koekelberg’s municipality
Sanlúcar de Barrameda: The story
of a twinning
beginning, as often happens, was not easy. The project required planning
and above all someone of high rank qualified to carry it
out. Mrs. Concha Gutiérrez, then
representative of the “Junta
of Andalusia” in Brussels, was asked to select the city best
suited to this project and to obtain European subventions in order to achieve
the twinning between the two cities. She was assisted by Mrs. Claudia
then Vice-Consejera of Culture of the Junta, who was prospecting
for new funds in order to develop this project.
The city they eventually
selected was Sanlúcar de Barrameda,
located in the north-western coast of the province of Cadiz, next to the
mouth of the Guadalquivir river,
and in front of the National Park of Doñana.
When asked, Mr. Jean-Pierre
De Keyn, the Koekelberg’s
Alderman for Europe, declared that Sanlúcar had the technical
know-how necessary to organise an authentic festival. The ‘feria’ of
Sanlucar was a true institution and much more than an international celebration
mixing music, wine and horses. Moreover, bordering on the superb natural
reserve Doñana, Sanlucar is a city drenched in the beaming sunshine
that so many long for.
Gallo, former chairman
of the “Peña Art and
Culture of Andalusia of Brussels” and current Chairman of the EuroFeria
Andaluza, explained that this twinning is essentially a gesture
of friendship between the two municipalities. He added “This twinning
will allow us to preserve the Andalusian spirit of the EuroFeria,
premise of this typically Spanish event”.
An invitation: the Euroferia Andaluza of
Brussels; a project: the twinning
with a Andalusian locality; a city: Sanlúcar de Barrameda. On the17
of November 1998, during the first preparatory meeting of the Euroferia
'98, the twinning was announced to the Organizational Committee of the
fair and all its participants: “Koekelberg
and Sanlúcar will
become twin cities”.
The first contact between both municipalities, key to later agreements,
took place at the beginning of 1998, with the visit of Mr Jean-Pierre
de Keyn and Mr Federico Gallo to
Sanlucar de Barrameda. There they were received by Mr. Agustín
Cuevas Batista, then mayor of Sanlúcar. At
the time, Mrs. Bárbara Castañuela and
Grimaldi were respectively
alderwoman and Head of the Cabinet of Press of Sanlúcar.
of the friendship between both parties was the entrance of Sanlúcar
de Barrameda in the “Eurocontacts '98” competition for design
and photography, organised since 1996 by the “Mayor and the Aldermen
of Koekelberg, Belgium”. The first prize was awarded to Natalia Perez,
a 9-years old from Sanlucar, for a drawing of the Guadalquivir
River with horses.
On their second visit (22 - 24 May 1998), they enjoyed meeting
the President of the Andalusia Junta, Mr. Manuel
Chaves, discovered the
Manzanilla Fair and visited the Barbadillo Warehouses. Various personalities
from Brussels have had the opportunity to come back and were welcomed in
the city of Sanlúcar.
and in order to strengthen the existing connection, on June
11 of that same year, various personalities from Sanlúcar
de Barrameda visited Brussels to attend the EuroFeria
This visit allowed for the signature of the twinning agreement between
Koekelberg and Sanlúcar in the Belgian capital. The
signing took place on Saturday the13 of June 1998 at the Koekelberg town
However, it took a whole year before the second agreement could be signed
on the1 of June 1999, at the Sanlucar
town hall, during the visit of a Koekelberg delegation to Sanlúcar
de Barrameda (29 May - 3 June 1999).
first connection between both municipalities, strengthened by this twinning
agreement, allowed for valuable human, commercial and cultural interactions.
year, Koekelberg’s inhabitants visit
their twinning city creating deep personal ties.
Presently, the ties uniting
the municipalities of Sanlúcar de
Barrameda and Koekelberg are being further reinforced thanks to Mr. Juan
Rodríguez Romero, current Mayor of Sanlucar (year 2000) and
de Keyn, Koekelberg’s Alderman for Europe.