by Bill Pinkerton and Malcolm Ryder
The Oxford-Leiden Link was established in the wake of World War 2 through the initiative of Albert Milhado, a Dutch journalist who had worked for the Resistance in London during the war.
With the support of prominent sports leaders, he set up the English Netherlands Sports Organisation in 1946, which twinned Oxford with Leiden to promote visits between the cities of local sports teams.
The first visit to Leiden was in August 1946, when athletics and swimming teams took on their Dutch counterparts – and lost! The following month, the Leiden cricket team visited Oxford – and on this occasion, Oxford were the victors.
Many other sports and cultural exchanges have taken part in the following years, initially under the auspices of ANSCA (The Anglo Netherland Sport and Cultural Association), .and subsequently the Oxford-Leiden Link.
They included hockey, bridge, table tennis, cycling , rugby, badminton, swimming, and tennis, plus other exchanges involving musicians, choirs, dancers, police officers, firefighters and civic representatives have all followed on. In addition the two cities’ are always formally represented at each other’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The Link was formalised with a City Twinning Agreement in 1974, but the volunteer organisation and its purpose remains the same as it was in 1946 – to promote friendship and understanding between the people and administration of Leiden and Oxford for the betterment of all.
If you are interested in joining the group please use the links to the left.