|Since 1 June
1999 the municipalities of Koekelberg and Sanlúcar de Barrameda
(Cadiz) have seen their bond strengthened after the signing of the twinning
Following the success of the 1997 Feria, jointly organised by the Peña
Arte y Cultura de Andalucía de Bruselas (PACA) and the Koekelberg
municipality, Mr Frederico Gallo,
Chairman of PACA and Mr Jean-Pierre De Keyn,
Koekelberg’s Alderman for Europe, asked the “Junta of Andalusia” in
Brussels to find a potential partner for Koekelberg in Andalusia.
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 capable of carrying it out. Mrs
Concha Gutiérrez, then representativeof the “Junta
of Andalusia” in Brussels, was asked to select the town best suited
to this project and to obtain European subventions in order to achieve
the twinning between the two. She was assisted by Mrs Claudia
Zafra, then Deputy Cultural Adviser to the Junta who was seeking
new funds in order to develop this project.
The town they eventually selected was Sanlúcar
de Barrameda, located on the north-western coast of the province
of Cadiz, near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River,
and adjoining the National Park of Doñana.
Why Sanlúcar of Barrameda?
When asked, Mr Jean-Pierre De Keyn,
Koekelberg’s Alderman for Europe, replied that Sanlúcar had
the technical know-how necessary to organise an authentic festival. The “Feria
of Sanlúcar” was a well established institution and much more
than an international celebration of music, wine and horses. Moreover,
Sanlúcar borders on the superb nature reserve of Doñana and
is drenched in the beaming sunshine that so many people long for.
Frederico Gallo, former Chairman of the PACA and current Chairman
of the EuroFeria Andaluza, explained
that the twinning was 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 an Andalusian locality; A town: Sanlúcar
de Barrameda. On 17 November 1998, during the
preparatory meeting of the EuroFeria ’98, the twinning was announced
to the Organising Committee and its participants: “Koekelberg
and Sanlúcar will become twinned”.
The first contact between the two municipalities, key to later agreements,
took place at the beginning of 1998, with the visit of Mr
Jean-Pierre De Keyn and Mr Frederico
Gallo to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. There they were received
by Mr Agustin Cuevas Batista, then Mayor
of Sanlúcar. At that time Mrs Bárbara
Castañuela and Mr Pedro Grimaldi were
respectively Alderwoman and Head of the Press Cabinet of Sanlúcar.
of the friendship between the parties was the entry of candidates from
Sanlúcar in the “Eurocontacts ‘98” competition
for design and photography, organised since 1996 by the Mayor and Aldermen
of Koekelberg. The first prize was awarded to Natalia Perez, a 9 year-old
from Sanlúcar, 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 subsequently had the opportunity of visiting
Sanlúcar and have been warmly welcomed there.
order to strengthen the existing connection, on June 11 of that same year,
various personalities from Sanlúcar visited Brussels to attend the EuroFeria ’98.
On this initial visitthe first signatures were made to the twinning agreement
between Koekelberg and Sanlúcar which took place on Saturday,
13 June 1998 at Koekelberg Town Hall in the Belgian Capital.
It was a whole year, however, before the second set of signatures was
added on 1 June 1999, in Sanlúcar
Town Hall, during the visit of a Koekelberg delegation (29 May - 3 June).
connections made between the municipalities, reinforced by this twinning
agreement, made for valuable human, commercial and cultural contacts.
Every year some of Koekelberg’s inhabitants visit their twin town,
and thereby create deep personal ties.
Today the ties uniting Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Koekelberg are
being further extended thanks to Mr Juan Rodriguez
Romero, current Mayor of Sanlúcar (year 2000) and Mr
Jean-Pierre De Keyn, Koekelberg’s Alderman