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The Lincolnshire Poacher, the Nottingham CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub of the year 2007 and 2008, has marked two decades of friendship with In De Wildeman, its sister pub in Amsterdam in a series of events, visits and beer tastings in the UK and Holland. The celebration also marked ten years of friendship with the Victoria Hotel at Beeston.

What began as a straightforward pub visit by two Dutch travellers on May 9, 1989, has grown to create what has become one of the most enduring international friendships. “There are perhaps hundreds of towns and villages that have twinned, but we believe our twinning, or tripling if you prefer, to be unique in both countries,” says Neil Kelso, the Poacher’s 1980’s landlord and nowadays owner of ‘the Vic’ at Beeston.

On the most recent twinning visit, as part of the anniversary celebrations, Dutch guests visited the Vic, Thornbridge and Castle Rock Breweries, and, of course, The Lincolnshire Poacher.

On the return leg to Amsterdam, a dozen from Nottingham visited In De Wildman and one of their beer suppliers, the Mill Brewery (Brouwerij de Molen) in Bodegraven. Here they were given their first introduction to extreme beers, real ale brewed to the strength of wine and served in similar quantities.

Karen Williams, The Poacher’s current manager and previous deputy at the Vic, says she never ceases to be amazed at the number of Dutch tourists who call in at her pub. “It’s dozens each month hell bent on sampling real ale, something I firmly believe to be Nottingham’s and the East Midlands greatest single contribution to the tastes of Britain.”

The early twins – (l-r)  Linda and Neil Kelso, Henk Eggens and Els Van der Linde outside The Poacher.

The early twins – (l-r) Linda and Neil Kelso, Henk Eggens and Els Van der Linde outside The Poacher.

Henk Eggens (left) and Neil Kelso re-enact the set up for Bill Tidy's 1989 cartoon still on view at The Poacher.

Henk Eggens (left) and Neil Kelso re-enact the set up for Bill Tidy's 1989 cartoon still on view at The Poacher.

Nottingham and Amsterdam regulars in The Poacher’s yard on North Sherwood Street.

Nottingham and Amsterdam regulars in The Poacher’s yard on North Sherwood Street.

The twin group at In De Wildeman in Amsterdam.

The twin group at In De Wildeman in Amsterdam.

Cartoonist Bill Tidy, Neil Kelso and Henk Eggens pictured in 1989 at the start of a 20 year friendship.

Cartoonist Bill Tidy, Neil Kelso and Henk Eggens pictured in 1989 at the start of a 20 year friendship.