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The city of Bath is twinned with Alkmaar in Holland and we at Minerva Bath Rowing Club have been visiting their town every year since 1987. We head over for the Alkmaar head race that their club organises every April and they visit us in October for a head race here. The clubs have a healthy competitive spirit fuelled by the desire at each visit to take home the Alkmaar - Bath Challenge shield. The April competition sees both clubs taking part in the gruelling AA race over 4000m along the canal from Alkmaar along the Noord-Hollands canal. October's race is either at Monmouth head race or a more private battle between the 2 clubs over Minerva's 3000m course. After the Alkmaar's returning visit last year which saw both clubs racing at the Monmouth head, Minerva Bath claimed the Challenge Shield with only a few seconds separating the crews.


Alkmaar is situated in the north-west of the Netherlands, approximately 30 miles from Amsterdam and accessible from the capital along its miles of waterways. The link between Alkmaar and Bath began just before the end of the Second World War, when fund-raising events were held to support the citizens of Alkmaar who had suffered deprivation during the German occupation. The first official visit to Bath by dignitaries from Alkmaar took place in 1946, but formal twinning links were not established between the two cities until May 1990.


Alkmaar is a large rowing club with 265 members at last count. The club celebrated its centenary in 2010. They are in the privileged position of being based in a town with three large canal systems, offering over 70 kilometres of clear water, with the rowing club itself being based on the Hoornse Vaart canal. Alkmaar has had several wins in the Amsterdam Head of the River race along with national sculling trophies. The club also boasts a 6 time winner of the Paul Venemansprijs, a combined rowing, running, cycling and ice skating competition!

Bath/Alkmaar Twinning Association