The city of Nijmegen was in ruins after the Second World War. However, Nijmegen was able to get on its feet again with the help of citizens of Albany, the Capital of New York State. The documentary ‘Note in a Coat’ shows how American assistance to post-war Nijmegen led to life-lasting friendships. In 1947, when the war in Nijmegen had come to an end, barges arrived at the Waal Riverquai. Filled with relief supplies and building materials to help Nijmegen. The assistance came from Albany New York. It was part of a big relief campaign from the capital of the State New York for Nijmegen. Its citizens were extremely grateful for the goods and materials, according to a speaker in the documentary: 'There was nothing here. Nothing at all. You couldn’t buy anything. If you had money, you still had nothing. You could leave it in the drawer.
The barges that arrived at the Nijmegen dock were not only filled with supplies. They also brought emotional support to the people of Nijmegen. A young woman who received a coat from Albany found something special in it. She found a note in the pocket of the jacket and she and her family wrote back to say -thank you-. The note – the note in a coat – was the start of a lifelong friendship. Others wrote -thank you- notes as well and school children became pen pal friends.
The FAN Foundation (Friendship Albany Nijmegen) has been revitalizing this friendship since 2015. They do so with an annual cultural event, exhibitions and other exchange activities. The foundation strives to establish new pen-pal projects between schools in Albany and Nijmegen. FAN initiated a project in which today’s students from both sides of the ocean write, snap chat and app with one another. In this way, FAN promotes and furthers the power of international friendship.
The documentary ‘Note in a Coat – how small things make a big difference’ has its US premiere on Thursday, October 10th . It will be presented in the Huxley Theater of the NY State Museum from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT). Huxley Theater is located on 222 Madison Ave., 1st floor, Albany NY.