Welcome to the Schenectady-Nijkerk Council Website
In Schenectady we trace our relationship with Nijkerk to about 1630, when Arendt Van Curler from Nijkerk established the trading outpost that would become the City of Schenectady. In 1909 the Dutch churches in Nijkerk and Schenectady exchanged tablets memorializing this connection. City-to-City exchanges between inhabitants of the City of Schenectady and the City of Nijkerk have been in existence since 1984.
The current cultural exchanges started on a biannual basis in 1984 with the participation by Nijkerker Goos Terschegget in a single-handed cross-Atlantic sailing race. Forty-one Nijkerkers flew to America to join in welcoming him to Schenectady as he continued a post-race sail up the Hudson River. Every two years since then there has been an adult exchange. In recent years we have added in alternating years youth exchanges. The most recent adult exchange occurred in 2011 when Schenectadians visited Nijkerk. The next exchange is of American youth to Nijkerk in July, 2012.
Adult exchanges are open to residents of the City and County of Schenectady. Youth Exchanges are open to youth ages 16 to 18; up to 10 young people are selected to represent their cities in the youth exchange programs.
Both adult and youth exchange participants are involved in daily activities scheduled by the host exchange committee. Exchange teams are housed in private homes during their stay.
Volunteer host families in each city provide housing, meals, and transportation to and from a team gathering point or location each day. Weekends are usually free to spend with the host family.
This type of exchange provides opportunities for Schenectady area residents to receive and meet Nijkerkers, including trips to the north country, visits down the Hudson, and participation in local activities such as the Stockade Walkabout.
The Schenectady-Nijkerk Council is officially affiliated with the City of Schenectady as an entity created by ordinance in the Schenectady City Code. The council does not receive any operating funds from the City; all funds are donated or brought in by fund-raising ventures. All board members, officers and members of the council are volunteers.
The board members of the Schenectady-Nijkerk Council are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Schenectady and confirmed by the Schenectady City Council. Board members serve for a 3 year term. Nijkerk Council officers are elected by the board members. The equivalent organization in our sister city of Nijkerk has a web page at www.Nijkerk-Schenectady.nl .