Schiedam, Friday March 24th 2023
Immediate Past Master, Chris Porter and Past Master, Jonathan Driver, had the great honour of being inducted as Knights of the Gilde of the Golden Glass in Schiedam (Netherlands).
The Ceremony took place in the wonderfully ornate setting of Schiedam’s town hall. We were joined by members of the Schiedam Jenever Gilde (also known as the “small golden glass” Guild). Resplendent in their green cloaks and their large wooden medals around necks, we were also joined by the Mayor of Schiedam who spoke prior to the Ceremony to welcome everyone.
Using an impressive sword for the knighting, the current Dean (the equivalent to our Master) Mrs. Willeke Vester, asked our Past Masters to recite an oath, before they both were presented with certificates and medals to confirm their inauguration into the Guild.
They were accompanied by the rest of the touring party, Past Masters and Consorts David and Jenny Raines and Martin and Nicola Riley, Alison Holdom (Consort to IPM Porter) and Liveryman Brian Cohen.
This annual Ceremony of the Jenever Gilde, recognizes senior members of their affiliates and friends throughout the world.
We were very pleased and proud to have this association which began in 2016 in the year of Past Master Richard Watling. Some might say it was a long time coming. The Worshipful Company of Distillers, granted our Livery in 1672 and the founding fathers of the Jenever Gilde, the Vroedschap, a meeting of Rear Admiral, Mayors and Aldermen of Schiedam, forming a guild of ‘Brandy Burners and Distillers’ – in Schiedam in 1690.
The purpose of our closer ties in (much) more recent times was to gain greater experience and understanding of Jenever, the traditional Dutch spirit which had been the origin of and the inspiration for English Gin.
The modern day Jenever Guild, the Schiedamsch Jenevergilde the Gulden Glaasje, to give it’s full title was re-established in 2011, with the following principles,
- To preserving and ensuring) the continuation of traditions in the field of burning malt wine and distilling gin
- To promote gin and its significance in the past
- To promote the Schiedam jenever
- To promote the ‘home town’ of town Schiedam in and outside Schiedam
It goes without saying that promoting conviviality via the various activities, to which the real Schiedam drink can still contribute significantly, has remained an important goal for the new guild.
It’s a Guild, founded in the 21st century, yet rooted in a rich past and product heritage that dates back to 1690.
On 8 November 2011, the modern day Schiedamsch Jenevergilde Het Gulden Glaasje was founded.
The current Dean is Mrs. Willeke Vester, is the third dean of the modern day Gilde, conducted the Ceremony which inducted our Past Masters, Porter and Driver.
The Gilde’s purpose and goals include forging closer ties and further affiliations with like-minded with industry Livery bodies such as the Worshipful Company of Distillers. This can only engender and support the concept of an international masterclass that is open to all. It is a welcome initiative, reinforcing our collective knowledge and links with the distilling industry around the world.
It was therefore in the spirit of this and the friendship between our two Companies that we all adjourned to a local restaurant, the 1714, next to the Jenever Museum for a post-ceremony dinner to mark our visit, association and mutual ties at the hub of our respective spirits industries.
Further celebrations were had the following day as we attended the Jenever Festival, a fair of local gins, jenevers, liquors, held, somewhat surreally, in a church on the canal front just along from the Jenever Museum.
An education and a fine way to spend a wet weekend on the outside, but compensated by some very welcome wet and enticing spirits on the inside.
Our hosts were the definition of warm hospitality throughout, generous and convivial and huge thanks must go to Willeke and her colleagues at the Gilde for making us so welcome.
It was a truly memorable weekend and I for one am very proud to be associated with the Gilde as one of it’s most recently installed members.
We look forward to welcoming Willeke back to London in the Autumn.
Immediate Past Master