On 6 June NANR visited a home for the elderly in the town of Kurovskoe in Moscow Region for the second time. This time out we prepared a short talk about the Netherlands and the mutual cultural influence of our countries.

To illustrate the relationship between our countries and to engage our senior friends in an art activity, we discussed how the famous white-blue Delft pottery inspired Russian craftsmen from the town of Gzhel. Later everyone had an opportunity to draw their own Dutch tile.

It was touching to see how willingly some of these senior citizens listened to our short stories. Most of them have not had enough interaction lately and seek new experiences and fresh faces to talk to. But this was a day of learning for us as well – several of the women here are graduates of the historical and geographical faculties of MGU and MGIMO—two of the country’s most prestigious universities—and they talked at great length about relations between the royal houses of Oranje-Nassau and the Romanovs, the geography of the Netherlands and our countries’ trade partnerships.

 

For the artistic part of our visit we prepared three different types of activities depending on the physical abilities of the participants. Several of the participants are very old, others have suffered strokes and some have difficulty holding a brush. So, we gave blank sheets of paper to those that wanted to draw by themselves; offered contoured drawing for those that had minor difficulties or were a bit shy to try on their own; and stencil plates to enhance everyone’s artistic abilities. 

Some people were very eager to draw, composing 3-4 pictures, others preferred just to sit nearby and watch. Some ladies and gentlemen came out of their rooms to meet us, others were unable to so we drew with them in their rooms on their beds. Absolutely everyone was eager to talk and share their stories and we were happy to listen.

The next visit is planned for the end of July. We have not finalised the programme yet and would like to encourage all alumni to share their ideas and join us! It is a very small time commitment, but the emotional reward you receive is enormous.

You can read more about ways you can contribute here NANR charitable project plan for 2015.