History of STOEP


In 1978 STOEP started its activities.
For many years, cultural contacts to improve the relation between Bulgaria and The Netherlands were the main driving force. The enthusiastic approach of the founders led to many successful meetings between artists and the inhabitants of Bulgaria and The Netherlands.
After the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union in 2007, also environmental, socio-economic, spatial and public administration initiatives became part of the goals of the foundation.
Below, a list of all activities since 1978 is given. In the section Projects in the menu, you can find the present activities.

Activities of STOEP per year


1978 - 1984

Preparing visits to Bulgaria under the aegis of the Ministry for Culture by Ton Delemarre, Ada d'Hamecourt, Els and Henk Brandsma, Henk van Dalen, Margreet Huisman, Peter Marijnissen.

1979

First Exhibition of Bulgarian graphic Art in Pictura Dordrecht by the working group Eastern European Projects.

1980/81/82

Artists from Dordrecht take part in international Biennales in Bulgaria.

1984

The famous Bulgaria project (Bulgarije-project) in co-operation with the municipality of Dordrecht, the museums, music academy, Foundation for Cultural Education, galleries etc. During two months visits by 24 Bulgarian Artists.

1986

- International atelier (3 months) for Nikolai Maistorov with four exhibitions in different towns
- Tour of State Puppet Theatre Plovdiv in Holland.

1987

- Mayor of Varna visits Dordrecht.
- International atelier for Christa Maatjens in Sofia and Varna.

1987-1988

- International atelier (3 months) for Nikolai Maistorov with 4 exhibitions in different towns.
- Dordrecht as Guest in Varna: Three art-exhibitions from the Dordrecht-region in museums and galleries in Varna. International atelier by Cor van Gulik in Varna.
- Visit by the Mayor and Aldermen of Dordrecht to Varna as a return visit for the Bulgarian delegation in 1987.

1989/90

- Official act for the foundation by Elsa Brandsma, teacher, Ada d'Hamecourt, translator, Jan Asjes van Dijk, sculptor.
- Visit by the Dordrecht Dance Theatre to Plovdiv, return visit by the Dance group Rhythm from Plovdiv. Realisation mutual choreography.

1990

- International atelier for Vladimir Ivanov from Varna in Dordrecht (3 months with several exhibitions).
- State Puppet Theatre Varna visited Primary School in Papendrecht and participated in International Festival in Dordrecht.
- Symposium for sculptors in Varna, with 13 Dutch and 7 Bulgarian sculptors participating. - Founding of our commission for education and culture.

1991

- 'Griendculture', a symposium for sculptors in the Biesbosch, with 7 Bulgarian and 7 Dutch sculptors participating.
- Action 'Medicines for Varna': transport of medicines to Varna.
- Working visit by our Educational Committee to the 'Kliment Ochridski' School in Varna.
- Visit and participation at the festival: 'Two is too little, three is too much' in Plovdiv.

1992

- Working visit by five teachers and professors from Varna in Dordrecht.
- Working visit of five journalists in Dordrecht to study press and media conditions in the Netherlands.
- Participation in the Plovdiv festival 'Two is too little, three is too much'.

1993

- Pupils from Varna and Dordrecht participate in a conference in Eindhoven. Theme: 'Europe and the Future'.
- Participation in the Plovdiv festival 'Two is too little, three is too much'.

1994

- Year of our 15th anniversary, HALFWEG EUROPA opening by former vice president of BG Blaga Dimitrova, several exhibitions, and four daily conferences about tourism, religion, economics and politics, with international keynote speakers.
- Preparatory visit to the First English Speaking Gymnasium in Varna by the board of the Johan de Witt Gymnasium from Dordrecht.
- Participation in the Plovdiv festival 'Two is too little, three is too much'.

1995

- Symposium of sculptors:' DREAM AND STREAM' in Dordrecht, in co-operation with the Municipality of Dordrecht and COS- Zuid-Holland-Zuid, with three Bulgarian sculptors participating.
- The Johan de Witt Gymnasium of Dordrecht visits the First English Speaking Gymnasium in Varna.
- In September start of the educational project ELBASAN in Albania.
- Participation in the Plovdiv festival.

1996

- Visit of the First English Speaking Gymnasium from Varna to the Johan de Witt Gymnasium of Dordrecht, study of the topics environment, history of the Romans, American literature, and development of democracy.
- Participation in and jury to the Plovdiv festival: 'Two is too little, three is too much.'

1997

- Preparations for the large exhibition of Dutch artists in Varna Museum during the summer of 1998.
- Manifestation: 'Geef ze de Vijf' for our twin-city Varna and for the region around Dobrinishte. Result: more than f. 100.000. TROM radio and TV reported from Varna.
- Seminar in 'Peter Beron' Institute organised together with our educational commission on the topics: Analysis of School Organisation, School-model management and models for a pupil's record and observation system. Various other items. (for details please refer to the report).
- STOEP assists with organising the working breakfast with President Stoyanov and his wife on the occasion of their visit to the NATO-conference.
- STOEP functions as jury during Plovdiv festival:' Two is too little, three is too much'. Three prizes are awarded. Subvention from KAP-project.

1998

- May to September: 'Black Sea - North Sea', a big exhibition of Dutch modern art in Varna museum, with 17 artists from Holland, with lectures, workshops and discussions.
- Bulgarian teachers visit Dordrecht to prepare a new seminar in Dordrecht.
- Visit of President Stoyanov and his wife: Dinner at the Queens' Palace and official reception in Kasteel Duivenvoorde.
- STOEP functions as jury during Plovdiv festival: 'Two is too little, three is too much'. Three prizes are awarded. Subvention from KAP-project.

1999

- The year of our 20th anniversary. Big exhibition 'Black Sea-North Sea' in 12 different museums in and around Dordrecht, with appr. 40 artists from Bulgaria. Lectures, workshops and discussions.
- Sculptor's Symposium and international workshop both during one month (Aljosja Kafedshiiski and Kina Petrova).
- Economic conference: 'Succeeding in Eastern Europe' with participation of Peter d'Hamecourt and Bert van Geel. (For details, please refer to the report).
- STOEP-jury assists at Plovdiv festival. Three prizes are awarded.
- Visit of a delegation of teachers (10) from Varna in October/ November. The goal was to give them an overall impression of the Dutch school education and to establish contacts, to teach at Dutch schools (for details please refer to the report).
- Albania educational project by Ad Voets (for details please refer to the report).
- Preparation for an official Town Twinning contract between Dordrecht and Varna.
- The projects for emergency assistance are finished: the result is controlled.
- The president of the STOEP, Mrs. Ada d'Hamecourt receives one of the highest decorations of the Republic of Bulgaria, the 'Madarski Konnik', during an official ceremony in the Bulgarian Embassy. Mrs. Nadezdda Michailova, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, decorated her in presence of many guests and members of the Dutch parliament.

2000

- 24 of May STOEP receives the 'Varna 2000 Award' for culture as a reward for all the efforts of the foundation for the city of Varna in the field of culture and art.
- Fact-finding Mission. Visit to Varna together with Mr. Govert Veldhuijzen, Alderman of Dordrecht, representatives of municipality of Dordrecht and COS, preparing the town-twinning.
- 'Don Quichote', Plovdiv Puppet theatre on tour in Holland in theatres and schools. Last part of our jubilee celebration. Workshops are given by them to Dutch puppeteers.
- Preparing for a new office together with COS Zuid-Holland Zuid and Rainbow.
- Preparing Seminar ' Education 2001' in Varna.
- Visit to Kamenar and Varna together with SPOLU.
- Visit to Kamenar by STOEP to research possibilities for self organisation Roma population.
- Visit to Plovdiv Puppet theatre festival with 6 persons, jury and awarding STOEP prize.
- Preparing Music Project with Music school Dordrecht.
- Preparing city link Dordrecht Varna with municipality Dordrecht and COS.

2001

- Signing official town-twinning treaty Dordrecht-Varna, visits to and by (vice) mayors and local government officials.
- Visit to Plovdiv Puppet theatre festival with 5 persons, jury and awarding STOEP prizes.
- Visit to Stara Zagora festival 'Pierrot'.
- Visit to Varna preparing projects idem to Sofia, idem to Dobrinisjte.
- Educational seminar Varna with twelve teachers/officials from Dordrecht.

2002

- Finalising and reporting of our Music project, realised together with the Music school in Dordrecht. This project was sponsored by the VSB Bank.
- Visit and jury in Plovdiv Festival 'Two is too little, three too much'.
- Delegation of STOEP visits the international puppet theatre festival 'Zladnijat Delfin' in Varna as guests of honour.
- Preparations for our ABC project take a start (Art Bulgaria Commerce).
Since 2002 we prepared this project for Bulgarian artists, galleries and cultural policy makers aiming at a better position in the art market. The project is subsidized by the MATRA program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be realised by a team of Bulgarian and Dutch trainers. The members of our cultural commission Fred Zuijdhoek, Freek Bloemers and Ton Delemarre assisted by Krasimir Detchev, an independent consultant and Yavor Koinakov of the European Bulgarian Cultural Centre in Sofia, are making the first steps in the new ABC.

2002-2003

- Preparations for our Stepping across borders/linked by waterways project.
Preliminary meetings and talks with different organisations and persons in Dordrecht and surroundings, also internationally to try to get as much support as possible for our idea to travel along Rhine and Danube to the Black Sea. The project is meant to be a part of our jubilee year in 2004, when we would celebrate our 25th jubilee. See also our brochure Stepping across borders/linked by Waterways.
- In these years we also made the first preparations for the celebration of our 25th jubilee in Dordrecht itself. We contacted several cultural and educational institutions and discussed their possible involvement in realising various celebration events in 2004.

2003

- In the spring of this year the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes a positive decision on our application for the ABC project. The granted amount for the ABC project is 308.000 Euro. The total sum 400.000 Euro.
- Visit and jury in Plovdiv, the annual international puppet theatre festival. The jury consists of Ton Delemarre, Ada d'Hamecourt, Tineke Adeney and Rudi Giskes.
- The ABC project after several preliminary meetings started really in November with two seminars in the town of Trjavna in the middle of Bulgaria. A team of Bulgarian and Dutch experts trained the participants how to behave on the art market, in two different seminars. A team of three apprentice trainers were trained to spread the ideas of the seminar all over the country.
- On 28th of November 2003, Ada d'Hamecourt en Ton Delemarre received the 'Zlatna Lavrova Klonka' (the golden laurel) from Mr. Solomon Pasi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, at the ministry in Sofia in presence of The Dutch Ambassador, Barones Mrs. Henriette van Lynden.
- December 2003 we made a start with our festivities for the jubilee in organising a Balkan Christmas Village. Three days long we offered the public products of the country, food, music and icons in a beautifully by Lou ten Bosch painted Bulgarian village. Thousands of people visited our village and bought products or got information about Bulgaria and our projects.

2004

Our jubilee year
- We start 2004 with a New Years' reception and an exhibition of the 'godfather' of our Foundation - the artist Roumen Skortchev. The exhibition was in the Wereldwaag in Dordrecht, where our bureau wais located.
- In February an icon painting class started in the cultural centre ToBe.
- Martin Mandaliev gave icon paining lessons to 12 students. The icons were baptised in the Old Catholic Church and were included in the Great Church exhibition in Dordrecht, officially opened by the Ambassador of Bulgaria Mr. Valentin Poriazov in April 2004.
- In April we organised a small conference on alternative tourism managed by our tourism commission. As a result of this conference, Yana Avramova and Rudi Giskes would organise a pilot trip to Bulgaria later on this year.
- In May we organised our second exhibition with works of Nicolay Maistorov. The opening was celebrated with literature and music, dedicated to freedom. The Dordrecht's group 'Machar' was performing Bulgarian folk dances in the open air, while inviting the public to join them.
- In June we got our STOEP flags made by Shipmate in Vlaardingen.
- In July the second part of the ABC project was realised in Borovets. Again two seminars for appr. 50 participants and 4 apprentice trainers. The team of trainers was identical as in November.
- In September again the Dutch jury visits Plovdiv for the international puppet theatre festival.
- Also in September the Dutch management team of the ABC project visits Sofia met their colleagues there to prepare the trip of the apprentice trainers and the closing conference in December in Sofia. They also discuss the edition of the booklet and CD that will be officially presented during the closing conference.
- In cooperation with the Belcanto festival we organised a concert in our Wereldwaag building in Dordrecht and an exhibition of photographs made by Veselina Nilolaeva.
- In December 2004, the ABC project was closed with an extensive exhibition in the City Gallery of Sofia, opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Solomon Passy, and the handbook presentation.
- In December of this year we had a new a big Balkan Christmas Village at the Christmas fair in Dordrecht (250.000 visitors).

2005

- During the New Years' Reception the new Chairman of Stoep has been appointed, Mrs. Arny Beem. This meant farewell to Ada d'Hamecourt, who would continue being involved with Foundation's activities and would act as an Adviser.
- An exhibition of works of Vasil Stoev, accompanied by harp music by Margot Marres.
- We have edited a poetry album of Bulgarian-Dutch poetry 'Waiting for the Summer'.
- The exhibition of Vesselina Nicolaeva, photographer from Sofia, was opened by Mrs. Barbara Kruijt on May 1, 2005.
- STOEP's delegation attended the opening reception of the Bulgarian Travel Bureau in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on April 15th 2005.
- On April 22nd 2005, members of the Foundation attended the lecture 'Economic Innovation', organized by the Municipality of Dordrecht.
- The Freedom Symposium in Delft, The Netherlands, organized by the World Art Centre was visited by representatives of the Foundation on May 7th 2005.
- Throughout the months of June till September, a STOEP delegation consisting of the members of the Friesland working group visited a couple of markets in the province of Friesland, The Netherlands.
- June 11th 2005 - STOEP and other non-profit organisations, situated in the Wereldwaag in Dordrecht have organised a trip to Ghent, Belgium for the volunteers employed by the organisations.
- Bulgarian elections on June 25th 2005. Live reporting by STOEP's volunteer Jan Buruma from the cities of Varna and Sofia.
- 4 September 2005 - We had an exhibition of Iulia Iona Huiduc from Romania in our WERELDWAAG and a literary trip along the Danube with Jana Beranova and trio Michel van der Mark, folklore music. - In September/October the Dutch jury had visited Plovdiv on the occasion of the international puppet theatre festival. The STOEP delegation attended afterwards the 'Pierrot' festival in Stara Zagora and the 'Golden Delphin' festival in Varna.
- 25 October 2005 - Rudi Giskes and Rayna Vardeva had a meeting with Mayor of Bourgas, Mr. Yoan Kostadinov and Vice-Mayor, Mr. Venelin Todorov to discuss the Strandzja project.
- November 4th 2005 - STOEP is present at the gala as organized by the Friendship Society Bulgaria - The Netherlands.
- On 16 November 2005, Rayna Vardeva interviewed Mrs. Meglena Kuneva, Bulgarian Minister of European Integration for 'Balkan Bulletin'.
- On November 16th 2005, members of the Friesland working group attended a lecture devoted to Bulgaria. The lecture took place at the Yn 'e Mande village house in Tytsjerk. Journalist and reporter Jan Buruma gave a presentation on Bulgaria.
- The Tourist group plays a partner role in a MATRA application for tourism development in the Strandzja region.
- October 2005 - April 2006 Course in Bulgarian language by Daniela Gortcheva at the WERELDWAAG. - November - December 2005, a course on icon painting at the WERELDWAAG by Martin Mandaliev.

2006

- 8 January 2006 - New Year's reception and opening of the photo exhibition of Sasjo Anastasov, artist from Varna, with dance group Leta.
- 4 February 2006 - Central and Eastern Exchange in Deventer. STOEP organized an icon exhibition in the crypt of the Lebuinus Church, an exhibition of Photographs by Vesselina Nikolaeva in the Town Hall, a literary journey in the gentlemen's club De Hereeniging, a political discussion in the Town Hall with Els de Groen, member of the Euro Parlement, Daniela Gortcheva, editor of the Bulgarian paper Dialog, and the Mayor of Deventer, a tourist presentation given by Mr. Rudi Giskes and Ms. Rayna Vardeva in the Latin school and a stand on the Fair.
- March/April 2006 - Icon painting course at the WERELDWAAG by Martin Mandaliev.
- 11 March 2006 - The Chakalov Gallery, Apeldoorn was opened.
- In February 2006, STOEP has expressed interest in participating and contributing in the planned communication activities for the implementation of the 2002-2006 Action Plan of the Communication Strategy for the Accession of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Union.
- Mid March the Invitation to tender was announced on the web site of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A project team consisting of Ton Delemarre, Ada d'Hamecourt and Rayna Vardeva was formed and started working on the application.
- The completed proposal was delivered on April 10, 2006 in Sofia.
- A delegation, consisting of Ton Delemarre, Ada d'Hamecourt, Rudi Giskes and Rayna Vardeva visited Bulgaria from April 10 till May 06, 2006 as a fact finding mission for an ecological Tourism Project in the Strandzja Region.
- 7 May 2006 - Photo exhibition of the Romanian photographer Zoe Daniela Cochia at the WERELDWAAG.
- 19 May 2006: STOEP has been awarded with a contract under the Communication Strategy for issuing a special edition of 'Balkan Bulletin' by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic Bulgaria.
- The aim is to present and promote Bulgaria to the current member states, in particular to The Netherlands. We would strive to show country's cultural and historical identity, the achievements and the readiness to become a member of the European family. Target group is Dutch politicians, business players, media and the Dutch society. Project kick-off date 22 May 2006.
- Official presentation of the first copy Balkan Bulletin Star26 to the Ambassador of Bulgaria and the Vice Mayor of The Hague on October the 21st.. Presentation to the public October 22nd during manifestation Enchanting Bulgaria.
- May 2006 - Closing of the Comeniusproject 'The Celtic Connection, East meets West' which has been taking place for the past three years. Members of the educational working group of our foundation participated in de festivities of the closing Celtic Festival.
- August in Art: Ron Gennisse and Fred van Reyen participated in the big project August in Art in Varna. Ton Delemarre was the Dutch curator. They took also part in several discussions and workshops.
- In September the Dutch jury has visited Plovdiv on the occasion of the international puppet theatre festival and awarded the annual prizes.
- 22 September - 1 October 2006: our tourism group is organising a 10-day cultural trip to Bulgaria.
- During the year a project working group organized two Icon Painting courses; more than 30 students took part in the courses.
- There was also organized a Bulgarian language course and a dance workshop.

2007

- Penka Monova presents her documentary film Ascension during the R-eject festival in Rotterdam. She is guest of the foundation.
- Visit of Veselin Dimov to Dordrecht. Dimov (sculptor in Varna) came to Dordrecht to realize his project Letter from Dordrecht.
- Icon Painting: February 28th started a new icon painting course with 15 students. In autumn the second course with 16 students was organized. The icons were blessed in the holy service of the Old Catholic Church.
- Kunstrondje (Tour of art): Every 3 months on the first Sunday of the month the foundation has organized an exhibition and lectures on Balkan or Eastern European artists.

1992 - present

Dutch jury in Plovdiv
Traditionally the Dutch jury (4 persons) of the International Puppet theatre festival in Plovdiv 'Dwama sa malko, trima sa mnogo' judged every year the performances of the participating small companies and awarded the best ones with 3 prizes and a yearly changing trophy: a bronze sculpture made by Jan Asjes van Dijk.

2008 - present

Icon course
Two times a year we continue the course of Icon painting for about 20 people each. Every time with a blessing celebration in the Old Catholic Church or the Bulgarian Church.

2008

Virtual Trip on the Web
During the whole year our educational commission is working on the virtual trip along Rhine and Danube. Ad Voets, Marjolijn Smith, Edjo Frank and Wout van Steenis have already put an example on the web. (Please refer to our web sites). We got subvention (2500 euro) for this educational project from the city of Dordrecht and also from the Skan Foundation. Already several primary schools with pupils, students and others are participating in this project and take part in the virtual trip to the Black Sea.

2009

- Shoumen
On demand of the Shoumen Chamber of Commerce Ada d'Hamecourt and Ton Delemarre have held a lecture and workshop for about 100 participants from the regional NGO's 17/19 March: 'Good practices and experiences of Dutch NGO's and partnership with local and regional administration'. In reverse there was a visit by a delegation from Shoumen 3rd till 6th of May 2009, visiting several official organisations (municipality, library) as well as a lot of NGO's. This project took place in the framework of the EU programme Effective partnership and dialogue between NGO's and local and state government.
- 10 September ARS MUSICA choir from Shoumen has given a concert Serenade to Europe in the Old Catholic Church at Dordrecht.

2010

A new board has been installed with first Rudi Giskes and later on Jan Termorshuizen as chairman and Rayna Vardeva, Tzveta Velinova and Theodore Liho (Sofia) as members.

2011

Preparations to WOOD 800 symposium for sculptors in Dobrinishte.

2012

- DURVO/WOOD 800 symposium in Dobrinishte
One of the sculptures May 21 till 31: three Bulgarian and three Dutch sculptors work on wood sculptures in the town of Dobrinishte. Durvo in pictures gives a good idea of all efforts and of the beautiful results. The final meeting was attended by the mayor of Dobrinishte and the Dutch Ambassador in Bulgaria.
- Floriade
At June 9, 2012 the famous Dutch exposition of flowers and agriculture Floriade had its Bulgaria Day. STOEP was one of the sponsors. The official opening was performed by the Bulgarian Ambassador in The Netherlands. Bulgarian music and dance and Bulgarian products attracted much public.

2013

Exhibitions of paintings and sculptures by Christo Christov in The Hague
Painting by Christov - From April 2 till 18, an exhibition by the Bulgarian artist Christo Christov was shown in the Ecumenical Aandachtscentrum in The Hague. He works and lives in Varna. This first exhibition was part of a larger exhibition in a center that is operated by the churches of The Hague and was organised at the occasion of the 25th anniversary. This exhibition was opened by the Mayor of The Hague. The goal of the center is to provide regard for people who have any kind of trouble in their lives.
- On the 23rd of May, during the reception at the Bulgarian Embassy in The Hague, dedicated to the day of the Bulgarian Culture and Slavonic Alphabet 24th of May, an exhibition was officially opened of paintings and sculptures of the Bulgarian artist from Varna Christo Christov.
- A larger exhibition by Christov, again in the Aandachtscentrum, was from November 25, 2013 till the end of January 2014. The Ambassador of Bulgaria visited the exhibition.

2013 - 2014

- Together with the Foundation Netherlands - Romania, STOEP worked on obtaining a subvention from the municipality of The Hague to establish an information counter for immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania (IBR). The official opening was in November 2013 by the Deputy Mayor of The Hague and the Ambassadors of Bulgaria and Romania. Each Thursday evening a counter in the City Hall was available for immigrants who needed information on living in The Netherlands, like getting insurance, housing or a school for their children. The questions were answered by volunteers who spoke Bulgarian or Romanian and who received a special training. The municipality could only answer questions in Dutch. The number of immigrants was lower than expected, so the municipality ended the subsidy in December 2014.
- October 25, a presentation of IBR was given in Dordrecht, at the occasion of a meeting with representatives from Varna, Recklinghausen and Dordrecht. The theme was 'Culture of welcoming'. It led to a fruitful discussion about the different ways of welcoming immigrants.

2014 - 2016

The Bulgarian Church in The Hague is the only Bulgarian church in The Netherlands. Much effort was invested in the building to make it a real Orthodox church. It is located in a part of a complex of buildings that was decided to be replaced by new housing developments. STOEP supported the Church Council in convincing the municipality of the importance of the church for the Bulgarian community in The Netherlands. In the end the actions were successful, the church can stay where it is.

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