ZUTPHEN – TWIN TOWN OF SHREWSBURY
Some will know, and at the same time some people will not know that Shrewsbury is twinned with a city in the Netherlands called Zutphen. Both have a twinning committee that keeps communications and organises visits between us both.
Why Zutphen, where is it etc etc. Those were the questions I asked a few years ago when I first became aware of our twinning. I will try my best to answer the questions above and explain a little about the place its people.
Sir Philip Sydney was born in Kent in 1554 but lived in Shrewsbury before being sent by Queen Elizabeth under the forces of the Earl of Leicester to defeat the Spanish army that defended Zutphen from the rebels. The Spanish sent a releif column and on the 22nd September 1586 the British attempted to intercept and defeat it. The British had to retreat after suffering huge losses, one being Sir Philip Sidney, who was the Earl of Leicesters nephew. Sir Philip died on the 17th October 1586 in a house in Arnheim. The battle was lost, but Sir Philip Sidney’s name lives on to this day, as does his then home town of Shrewsbury with the people of Zutphen.
Zutphen was at one time within the loop of two rivers, and like Shrewsbury suffered floods, as it still does. To ease the problem they diverted one river away and used watergates and a canal to maintain some form of control. Below shows a model of Zutphen that is in the Council Building.
Where is it I hear you ask, well Zutphen is a city in the province of Gelderlandin the Netherlands. It lies some 30km North-east of Arnhem, on the eastern bank of the river IJsselat the point where it is joined by the Berkel. The name Zutphen (first mentioned in the eleventh century) appears to mean ‘zuid-veen’ or in English, south-fen.
In 2005 the municipality of Zutphen was merged with the municipality of Warnsveld, retaining its name. The municipality has about 47,000 inhabitants.
The Netherlands remained neutral throughout the First World War, and when Hitler in the 1930′s started to become more of a force, many German Jews left Germany and moved across the border into the Netherlands. They thought that the Netherlands would be a safe haven and be a neutral country as in 1914-18, therfore the exodus was so great that refugee camps had to be provided to house them all. one such camp was Westerbork in the northeast part of the Netherlands. (The same camp that soon became a transit camp to Auschwitzand Burgen-Belson).
Unfortunately the German army invaded the Netherlands and within five days the whole country and its people were held in a vice like grip throughout the war. After the invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, a civil administration was installed under SS auspices. Arther Seyss-Inquart was appointed Reich Commissar. He presided over a German administration who in turn supervised the Dutch civil service. This arrangement was to prove fateful for the Jews living in the Netherlands.
We joined our friends in Zutphen this year on the 1st May for a week of remembrance, In the UK we remember mainly the members of the forces who died in the war, but in the Netherlands due to occupation their rememberance is all about the civillian suffering. We started off visiting the house of Ann Frank, we followed the journey she was made to travel to Westerbork. We visited Arnham and the military cemetery at Oosterbeek, the civilian cemetery as well as many museums and the site of V1 launching site, plus the grave of two resistance fighters who are buried on the site of an hidden underground resistance bunker who were then betrayed to the Germans.
On the 4th May at 6pm we paraded from the Council office in Zutphen to the remembrance memorial and I placed a wreath accompanied throughout the ceromony by my equerries Holly Amy Brown and Craig Bellis who are both Air Cadets from 1119 squadron Shrewsbury.
All of us felt sadness as we read the ages of people who had died both civilian and armed forces personel, but the two Cadets were affected most when seeing people aged the same age or younger than they are on the gravestones.
If we can remember the past then we should not make the same mistakes in the future.
NOW PRESENT DAY ZUTPHEN
Below are a collection of pictures taken in and around Zutphen in the first week of May 2011. I hope you enjoy them.
Please follow the links below to find out more about Zutphen.
MAYORS OFFICER ROBERT HANDLEY GOES FOR A CYCLE RIDE AROUND THE ZUTPHEN AREA OF HOLLAND
Below is a pictorial of Roberts cycle tour of the weekend 24th, 25th 26th and 27th June 2011. Robert is a keen cyclist completing a run from Lands End to John O Groats, plus a couple or maybe three runs from London to Paris just to name two events he has done for charity.
Robert is also well known in Zutphen due to his commitment to the twinning of the two towns, and as such the Twinning Committee sponsored his trip as it was an official organised cycling event.
Just for the records Robert is the one dressed in the dark gear, yet I think he may have worn the yellow jersey at least once. To these guys 140k is just like a trip to the local shops for the rest of us, even then I admit to using the car. I did offer to ride behind them in a white van as the support team, but got turned down, so there was no second trip to Zutphen for me, I just love the place and the people so will have to try and work on a return trip somehow!.
But well done Robert, and you did come back fitter and leaner so it must be healthy.
I am hoping to bring you pictures of the Mayors secretary Carol, as she also went on a cycling trip at the same time but did a different route at a more sedate pace. Carol was also sponsored by the Zutphen Committee for this sporting weekend.
The whole point of our twinning is to exchange cultural and leasure pursuits via exchange visits, staying with host families, living within each others communities.