Dear Friends of the National Trust,
This is my first message to you since being elected Chairman of our association. It is with trepidation and enthusiasm that I take up my mandate. Above all, let me thank you all for your confidence and trust. In return you can count on my best endeavours to serve our association with full commitment and pride.
To me the National Trust and the UK are familiar ground as my wife Mia and I have been active NT members during our assignment at the Belgian Embassy in London in the mid-80s. London is also the place where two of our children were born and where I was sent by my parents as a young adult many months of August in a row ‘to learn English’. Useless to say that since these days the UK has always remained close to our heart, -and always will be.Read more...
We are a voluntary association, founded in 1997, of National Trust members and supporters living in Belgium.
Our aim is to promote the work of the National Trust, as well as to organize social activities that make membership of the Trust more enjoyable for members living outside the United Kingdom.
We organize trips annually to NT properties in Britain as well as regular outings to places of interest in Belgium. These visits are guided in French or Dutch, depending on the region, and English (always available).
Any surplus we are able to generate through our activities is donated to the National Trust for a specific project, which we select.
We are a group of nearly 200 people including Britons and several other nationalities but the majority is Belgian. Most of us live in Belgium - anywhere from Ostend to Arlon - but some members live in the Netherlands and others in Luxembourg.
The National Trust works with more than 270 voluntary supporter groups, which provide support to the Trust in a large number of ways – physical, financial and promotional. Our Belgian Group NTAB is one of those supporter groups, listed in the NT Annual Report as ‘Belgium Association’.
Each year we reserve a major part of our financial surplus for a donation to NT properties in Britain. Traditionally we donate to properties that we were or will be visiting during our annual UK trip. We select the most suitable beneficiaries bearing in mind that we aim to give substantial exposure to our association and to support projects, preferably with a Belgian connection, for which we can see a tangible result.
At the Annual general meeting of 21 May 2016, our members approved the donation of €7110, about £6150) for support of properties in the Lake District: €2,440 to Sizergh Castle, €2,000 to Clandon Park and €2,670 to Fell Foot boathouse, to restore the damage from the recent flood.
For the year 2015 we donated €6000 - the equivalent to around £4300 - for Kingston Lacey (repair of glasshouses), Ham House (new trees), Washington Old Hall (property's wishlist) and Seaton Delaval Hall (garden seating).
June 21-27. Pictures will be put online asap.
After arrival in Kingston-upon-Hull with the overnight ferry, we crossed Britain into North West England. We made a first stop at Marsden Moor Estate (NT), a large expanse of moorland situated in the Pennines, to learn from its Rangers why the estate has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Travelling further through Lancashire we visited two Grade 1 listed Tudor NT houses, Rufford Old Hall and Gawthorpe Hall, which probably owe their survival to the industrialization of the area. Lancashire emerged as a major commercial and industrial region during the Industrial Revolution. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in this region.
The Lake District National Park, where we spent most of our time, is England’s largest National Park. It is known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and it has been the inspiration of a number of Britain’s literary and artistic geniuses. In particular, we learned about the lives of William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott. The Lakes, as it is sometimes called, is a popular tourist destination today but it was also so in the Victorian era and we recaptured some of the pleasures that they found in the region.
Your participation is registered once your payment has been received on our bank account of National Trust Belgium.
IBAN: BE17 0016 2443 2021
For each event the fee for members and non-members is mentioned at the end of the invitation articles, which are published both on this website (see 'Agenda') and in our printed Newsletter (which you can download from the homepage of this website as well).
Please make a separate payment for each event; a bank transfer for multiple events is difficult to decipher.
On your transfer please indicate clearly the event code, number of members attending and number of non-members (e.g. 1604 M2 N1) as well as your phone number.
Places at events with limited numbers are allocated on a first paid-up basis, members always having priority over non-members.
Click on the question for answers to the following:
Our traditional Year End reception, which took place on Saturday, December 12 in the prestigious Egmont Palace (Kleine Zavel - Petit Sablon, Brussels), offered a unique opportunity to discover the interiors of the historical 'hôtel'.
Acting chairman, baron Servotte, welcomed a large audience of members and supporters. We were also honoured by the presence of the British Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Ms Alison Rose.
Committee member Jan Grauls then gave a much-appreciated talk on the turbulent past of the Egmont-Arenberg Palace, followed by a guided tour of the main rooms and galleries and of the international Arenberg conference centre. This was followed by a reception.
Through his career as a high-ranking diplomat, baron Grauls is quite familiar with the Egmont Palace, now the official reception venue of the Belgian Government, and of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in particular. His talk gave a clear historical overview, that included interesting details on more recent events. Many attendees regretted not having paper and pencil available to make notes and afterwards requested a copy of the text of the presentation. We are happy to comply. Read on!
In 2012, the Flemish public broadcaster VRT launched a website and a TV programme, both in English, for persons of foreign origin living in Belgium: "Fans of Flanders".
The programme aims to help expats to discover and enjoy the best things their new environment has to offer. In addition, the programme is an attempt to bridge any possible gap between "locals" and people with different international backgrounds.
It's a light-hearted approach that attempts to explain the local quirks, tradition and habits, how you can spend your leisure time, how to socialize with your Flemish neighbours, ...
The website is highly interactive. Readers can comment and have their say, share and respond to opinion polls. ‘Fans of Flanders’ is broadcasted every Sunday evening at 9 PM (on Canvas), every Monday evening at 6.30 PM (also Canvas) and every Saturday morning at 11.45 AM (on één) .
Website 'Fans of Flanders', click here