The Success Story of the 25 Years' Sister City Cooperation between Ambon and Vlissingen

Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mayerfas, met Mayor of Vlissingen, Bas van den Tillar, on 12 November 2021 at the Vlissingen City Hall discussing the progress and follow up on the Sister City Cooperation between Ambon and Vlissingen. This year marks the 25 Years of the Sister City Cooperation between the two cities. The Stichting Samenwerking Vlissingen-Ambon/SSVA lead by Nico Lopulissa (chairman) and Bob Latuheru (advisor) also attended the meeting. The SSVA is the implementing agency of the cooperation.

Since initiated in March 1996, the Sister City Cooperation between Ambon and Vlissingen have benefited the people of Ambon, capital of the Province of Maluku in Indonesia. The programs are among others The Eye Clinic Ambon Vlissingen in Ambon, Free Cataract and Urology Surgery, Hygiene Project to 22 Health Center in Ambon, and provision of AED.

In addition to programs in health sector, a cooperation between Universitas Pattimura and HZ University of Applied Sciences Vlissingen was also established in the subject of Water Management and Deforestation. Some programs held under this cooperation are among others exchange of students and capacity building training by experts.

Ambassador Mayerfas and Mayor van den Tillar agreed that this Sister City Cooperation is a success story. “The Sister City Cooperation between Ambon and Vlissingen can be a good example to other Sister City Cooperation as the program benefited the people of Ambon directly. So it is not only ceremonial,” stated Ambassador Mayerfas.

Mayor of Vlissingen shared the same view. “The result of the cooperation with Ambon is a success story that I shared to other mayors in the Netherlands. The key factors of the success are the role of SSVA as implementing agency and the special bonds with the Mollucan Community in Vlissingen,” expressed Mayor van den Tillar.

The SSVA has been the implementing agency for the cooperation for the last 20 years. “We proposed the programs based on the need of the people in Ambon and the communication with the two city governments. Those programs were run in voluntary basis. The foundation is voluntary. All parties involved were also volunteers, such as the doctors who performed the cataract and urology surgeries. The funding for the programs came from both city governments and also donation from the community in the Netherlands,” explained Nico Lopulissa, chair of SSVA.

The meeting, which was also attended by the Deputy Mayor (Alderman) of Vlissingen and the Deputy Chief of Mission and staff of Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, discussed the expansion of the cooperation to other sectors in the future such as fisheries, maritime transportation, Early Childhood Education, environment, and tourism.    

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