News from the Chairman

Jan Grauls

Dear web visitor,

Dear friends of the NTAB,

Welcome to our website and, to newcomers, thank you for showing interest in our great association!

The National Trust Association Belgium (NTAB) – or ‘Association of National Trust members and supporters living in Belgium’, its official name – has been in existence since 1997 when the National Trust took the initiative to invite its members in Belgium to meet and to set up a local Supporter Group. At the time, some thirty volunteers, Belgian and British, signed the NTAB constitution and elected a steering Committee.

This initiative proved to be an immediate success. Up and until today, NTAB has been a vibrant organization, thanks to the enthusiasm of its membership and the commitment of its Committee members, all volunteers.

The purpose of the NTAB is twofold: to promote the spirit and the work of the National Trust, as well as to organize activities in Belgium that make the membership of the Trust more enjoyable for members living outside the United Kingdom. We do this by organizing outings to places of interest in Belgium (chateaux, gardens, historic buildings …), annual trips to NT properties in Britain and, occasionally, trips to London.

All our activities reflect the unique spirit of the National Trust, with its special focus on heritage and outside life. It is this spirit that brings us together.

Last year, the NT family had been preparing to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the National Trust. As Octavia Hill put it then, the anniversary would be an opportunity to stress the need ‘everyone’ has for ‘quiet, air, exercise… the sight of sky and of things growing’. HRH Prince Charles, our Honorary Chairman, had planned to invite NT members to a reception at Buckingham Palace on the occasion of this special anniversary.

The covid crisis decided otherwise. Following the restrictions on social contacts decided by the UK authorities, these celebrations had to be cancelled and NT properties had to close.

In Belgium too, restrictive measures came in place and NTAB had to cancel the monthly outings that had been planned during the year. As a result, keeping in touch with the membership became even more important and the Committee decided to increase the frequency of our Newsletter, and to re-design our website in an even more user-friendly way. Soon it will be possible for our members to exchange messages through our own website.

We will only be able to resume our normal activities depending on the easing of the restrictive measures at a certain point of time. On this website you can find the list of activities we are hoping to organize this year, covid permitting. You may notice that we are proposing mainly activities in the open air that allow more easily for social distancing.

Please continue to check on our website our planning as it may change depending on the evolution of the pandemic.

If you would like to become a member of our association, please do so by clicking (join). I’m sure you will find your membership worthwhile. I would be very happy to introduce you to our members on the occasion of one of our next events.

January 2021

Jan baron Grauls

A great association to join