Anniversary wishes from Rumyana Kamberska, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Netherlands
06 oktober 2021
It was a rainy Saturday morning in The Hague on the 26th of June 2021. I was on my way to have a COVID-19 test, so to be able to attend, that same evening, my first ever live concert after the Corona-lockdown in the Netherlands and throughout the world for more than a year. It was “The Voyager” concert in the beautiful and the oldest city of Holland, Dordrecht, in the framework of the famous Bachfestival Dordrecht! It was part of the Joint Friendship concert that our partners from the Dordrecht – Varna Twinning Foundation, the Municipality of Dordrecht and the Municipality of Varna had been preparing for over two years. It was originally supposed to take place on 20 June 2020, but had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic.
As a longtime active concertgoer, my level of excitement was enormous. On the day before the event in Dordrecht, the first part of the Friendship concert had already taken place in the Bulgarian sea capital Varna and with huge success under the conditions of the “nieuw COVID-19 normaal”. On June 25, 2021, the citizens of Varna had the opportunity to enjoy the part of the concert entitled “Can You Mix Folk & Vibes”, with the participation of DJ-Producer Robert Nickson from the Netherlands and DJ-Producer Chillov from Bulgaria. In their music project, the two artists combined the rhythms of Bulgarian folklore and the sounds of modern electronic music. The performances, which were also part of the program of the Varna Summer Music Fest, could also be watched live through a specially created online platform.
On June 26, 2021, the concert program was scheduled to continue in Dordrecht under the title “The Voyager”. The viewers of the concert would have the opportunity to enjoy classical works by Bach as well as jazz and pop interpretations of the master. The finale was an electronic version of “Prelude and Fugue in C major “, performed by the young Dutch DJ-Producer TimoNoize.
When arriving in Dordrecht before the concert, I was greeted by the friendly faces and warm hospitality of Mr. Rob Scheelbeek, the Chairman of the Dordrecht-Varna Twinning Foundation, Mrs. Nienke Blauw, the coordinator of the foundation, and Mrs. Gea Davids from the Municipality of Dordrecht – the main people behind the Dutch part of the Friendship concert. But one could never describe the appreciation of “being at home” that I felt in such a distant-from-my-country part of Europe, when a friendly elderly Dutch couple in their 80s approached me from the audience of the “Voyager” concert and welcomed me in fluent Bulgarian! And this to only add to my excitement of hearing in this rainy June night in Dordrecht the contemporary remix of the famous Bulgarian song from the Rhodope folklore area that is, just like the Prelude and Fugue in C major by Bach, flying in space – “Izlel e Delu Haidutin” – a title that my Dutch friends were trying to pronounce correctly in Bulgarian with huge dedication for already several days.
This is only a small glimpse of how much we – at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in The Netherlands – appreciate having such close Dutch friends for already 20 years, acquired from the joint work on the twinning partnership of Dordrecht and Varna.
Established in the distant 2001 – before Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union in 2007, the twinning partnership between the Dutch city of Dordrecht and the Bulgarian city of Varna represents an excellent mechanism for promoting mutual knowledge and understanding, exchange of good practices, a platform for sharing problems and for finding common solutions. The main goal of the partnership is to promote people-to-people contacts between Bulgaria and the Netherlands at local level, and to help citizens, companies and organizations from the two cities to actively cooperate and implement joint projects in many fields – for example in the field of economy, trade, tourism, education, social welfare and culture. For us at the Bulgarian Embassy this partnership is a clear example of the success of the European integration at local level, and therefore we are actively engaged in promoting the benefits of this partnership in our everyday work.
The added value of the established cooperation between the partner cities of Varna and Dordrecht has resulted in various successful events in the last 20 years – from joint trade missions in the maritime sector to swimming marathons with charitable purposes, from educational exchanges to exhibitions of the cultural treasures of both Bulgaria and the Netherlands. Over the past 20 years the interactions and the appreciation for each other have been steadily growing – mainly because the scope of this friendship are mutual trust and common values. The twinning partnership also involves an increasing number of participants over the years – the mayors and the municipalities of Varna and Dordrecht, the members of the Dordrecht – Varna twinning foundation, the Bulgarian Embassy in The Hague and the Dutch Embassy in Sofia, various representatives of the business sector, cultural institutions, academia and non-governmental organizations.
And after every joint event – such as the above-mentioned example with the Friendship concert this year – we excitedly discuss with our friends from the Dordrecht–Varna Twinning Foundation what we could do more and what did not go according to initial plans. There are sometimes “what ifs”, but at the same time there is always a lot of gratitude and appreciation for each other. And this leaves me confident that this partnership will continue to grow with increasing commitment and attention in the coming years.
But now it’s not time for reflection. The year 2021 is special to us, because it’s time to celebrate.
So once again, Happy 20th anniversary, Dordrecht – Varna friendship!
Rumyana Kamberska, First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Netherlands