North Sea Port is proud sponsor of the Four Freedom Awards

North Sea Port and a number of cultural organisations are joining forces to put a lot of culture onto various stages in the coming years. An international character and being active on both sides of the Dutch-Belgian border is what unites North Sea Port and these cultural organisations.

North Sea Port has been supporting various organisations and initiatives for some years, including a number in the cultural sector. North Sea Port will be continuing its cultural sponsorship and actively supporting six cultural and social events with four new primary sponsorships in the coming years: Gent Jazz, Flanders Festival Ghent, Film Fest Gent, Festival of Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen plus Zeeland Nazomerfestival and Four Freedom Awards.

Culture connects across borders

North Sea Port has chosen these partners and events to strengthen the cross-border connection between the port, companies, the region and society. "Together we are investing in an attractive living and working environment as partners. These are initiatives which, like the port, provide an international, national and regional hub for dialogue, creativity and entrepreneurship", says Jan Lagasse, CEO North Sea Port.

North Sea Port is committing itself for a period of three years. "This commitment will give cultural organisations confidence and support in the longer term. In these times of the coronavirus, it is clear that this is more important than ever", says Jan Lagasse. "The cross-fertilisation between tradition and innovation, between newcomers and old hands and the unifying power of culture and dialogue tie in with North Sea Port’s slogan: ‘Together.Smarter’.”

2020 – 2021, coronavirus-proof

The coronavirus crisis is also forcing the cultural sector to change tack for the coming season.

Gent Jazz, Bertrand Flamang, founder of Gent Jazz: "With Gent Jazz 1.5, we are offering a series of first-class concerts over 12 days (8 to 21 July) featuring top Belgian and mostly Ghent-based musicians, Ghent catering, Ghent employees... Ghent Jazz 1.5 is a safe haven at the familiar Bijloke site, not least thanks to the support of North Sea Port."

Flanders Festival Ghent, Veerle Simoens, director: "With great care and always keeping the current situation in mind, we have put Flanders Festival Ghent back together all over again. It will be a Festival on a human scale, with an abundance of creativity from artists, our partners, the public and our team. In that sense, September 2020 may be one of the most important editions of our festival."

Film Fest Gent, Marijke Vandebuerie, General Manager: "The film industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Film projects came to a standstill and a lot of talent was unemployed. Film Fest Gent will be doing everything in its power to preserve the intensity of the collective film experience and facilitate encounters with and between filmmakers, professionals, students and the public in safe conditions during the forthcoming festival in October. And to bring back the emotion we have been missing for too long."

Festival of Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, Rinus Meesen, director: “We have been given the go-ahead for the 32nd edition of the Festival to take place from 18 September to 16 October, with some modifications. The festival's theme, ‘Boundless Classical Pearls’, is a nod to our cross-border character and our good relationship with Flanders/Belgium. On stage this time around: Carel Kraayenhof & Matangi Quartet, Collegium Vocale Gent, Sinfonia Rotterdam, Iris Hond, Jan-Willem Rozenboom, Ataneres Ensemble, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Il Gardellino, Duo Billitis, Berliner Symphony Orchestra.

Zeeland Nazomerfestival, Henk Schoute, managing director: "The Zeeland Nazomerfestival run by Theaterproductiehuis Zeelandia has, of necessity, been cancelled. Nevertheless, we have decided to keep telling our story, even during the coronavirus crisis. By means of an alternative programme, we hope to compensate at least a little for the absence of our main festival. Throughout late August and September, we will be adding lustre to the city of Middelburg with a number of theatrical and musical alternatives, modest in scale but of high quality and suitable for a broad audience. These will include film, music, exhibitions and above all coronavirus-proof (mini) theatre, in a special and unique form.

Four Freedom Awards, Pieter Jan Mersie, director Roosevelt Foundation: "This autumn, we will be launching the educational programme 'The Four Freedoms'. After all, you are never too young to learn what freedom really means. Earlier this year, the laureates of 2020 announced a postponement message of hope because it was not possible to have a physical meeting. By March 2021 at the latest we hope – thanks to the support of our sponsors – to be able to belatedly welcome those winners to Middelburg. Because they are worth it and because our freedom is worth it."

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