God gave us an earthly homeland so that we could feel the boundlessness of our heavenly homeland and make it the basis of love and service to the estate of others.
In a celebration of cultural richness and international collaboration, the renowned businesswoman and philanthropist, Tika Svanidze Vancko, founder of the Georgian Cultural Center of the Netherlands, orchestrated a gathering on the Texel Island from November 10-13, 2023. This event united over 170 participants from 10 countries, including representatives from the Diaspora Alliance for Georgia.
The primary objective of the project was to channel the efforts of Georgian diasporas in Europe and America towards showcasing Georgian culture and history, supporting the Georgian state, and fostering a platform for intercultural dialogue and friendship. Participants, under the guidance and financial support of Tika Svanidze Vancko, were graciously hosted by prominent representatives of Texel government structures, like the Mayor of Texel, Mr. Rob van der Zwaag and also present was the Ambassador of Georgia, H.E. Mr. David Solomonia. Project gathered all, public and non-governmental organizations, society and honorary guests. Cultural, educational and cognitive activities were equally important for all project participants.
During the inaugural day of the project, participants immersed themselves in a profound journey, beginning with a visit to Texel Aviation and War Museum. There, they encountered a distinctive exhibition paying homage to the Texel Georgian uprising, unraveling the historical threads of courage and resilience.Subsequently, the participants embarked on a poignant visit to the Georgian cemetery on Texel Island, where the Memorial Monument, generously funded by Tika Svanidze Vancko, stood as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Georgian warriors, with David Khmaladze as the monument’s designer. The chapel commemorating the souls of Georgian warriors who died heroically in the fight for freedom was held by Bishop Dositheos of Belgium and Holland.
The unveiling of the English translation of Tika Svanidze Vancko’s autobiographical novel, “The Woman From the Other World” at the Texel City Hall, became a focal point. The book, a bestseller, chronicles Tika’s compelling life journey, offering insights into her childhood, experiences in the Soviet Union, and the challenges of emigration to the Netherlands. It serves as a source of motivation and inspiration, portraying an unbreakable friendship between Georgia and the Netherlands.
The book is already being sold in Dutch bookstores in Amsterdam and Texel. For more info about the book, see www.tikawine.com
The event continued with the exhibition “Kingdom of the Netherlands – What do Georgian manuscripts tell us?” and the presentation of the Gospel of Mokvi, from Abkhazia, a region that is occupied by Russia. This was organized within the framework of cooperation with the Korneli Kekelidze Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the exclusive bottled wine, ‘Texel 1945”, from “TSV Estate Winery,” took center stage, offering a unique tasting experience. This special edition wine not only illuminated Georgia’s 8000 year’s old history of winemaking but also served as a delightful means of sharing this rich cultural heritage with the local community of Texel and the esteemed guests attending the event.
On the second day, the Calligraphy Master Classes proved to be unforgettable. The Georgian alphabet, without uttering a single word, worked its enchantment, inviting all participants into the mystical realm and resonating with the hearts of attendees, irrespective of age and nationality.
The Acting Master Classes conducted by the official partner of the First Georgian International Diaspora Theater, “Dabruneba” and led by the founder and artistic director of the theatre studio “Art-Plaza,” captivated everyone, instilling a deep appreciation for the essence of the stage. Participants were immersed in the world of theatrical art, falling in love with the enchanting allure of stage dust. Participants also attended a lectureheld by a member of the “Diaspora Alliance for Georgia” foundation and a representative of the Samachablo region on the topic: “Cultural-political relations between the so-called South Ossetia occupied by Russia and the Georgian side according to the latest data”.
The brightest hours of the project were the Concert of Georgian Artists and Diaspora Ensembles working in the diaspora, including ensembles: “MEDEA” from Belgium, “Lazi” from France, “Pesvebi” from the United States. The project was concluded with a Gala Dinner and a common celebration of all those participants, who, for three days, shared the Georgian spirit and the love that each of them has for their native Georgia.
On the closing day of the project, there was an exhibition of Georgian entrepreneurs’ products, among which were Georgian wine, Georgian tea TEANATEA, Georgian jewellery collection – “GOLDEN FLEECE BY TINATIN”, Kabalakhi – Georgian accessory, Georgian table – Supra By TSV, tourist offers – TIKATOURS. We will tell you about each product below:
The wine company “TSV Estate Winery” (www.tsvholding.com)was founded by Tika Svanidze Vancko, whose name has been associated with the promotion of Georgia as a country with a unique tourist potential in international tourism for many years. It was her initiative to establish an international company in the Netherlands, which will tell the history of Georgia to foreign citizens from the homeland of wine. TSV Estate builds on Georgia’s rich traditions and offers a glimpse of history and wine-making culture through branding based on archeological and historical findings. TEXEL 1945 is a wine that pays homage to the rich wine heritage of Georgia and the Netherlands, elegantly presented for your discovery. With each sip of Texel 1945, you’ll be enveloped in lush flavours and a silky texture that mesmerizes your palate. The bouquet of ripe berries, plums, and hints of oak creates a rich, multi-layered flavour profile. This wine perfectly balances fruity notes and elegant tannins, leading to a long and refined finish. For more info and ordering wines in Netherlands, please visit www.tikawine.com
TEANATEA owned by TSV Estate, is a premium producer of natural tea, distinguished by its exotic characteristics. Handpicked in the tea plantations of Nagomari, western Georgia, Teanatea is one of the most natural tea brands in the world, strictly forbidding the use of harmful additives, preservatives and colourants. Teanatea produces natural, chemical-free, hand-picked soft leaves of Black and Green tea from Nagomari, Georgia. This tea is distinguished by its unique taste, aroma and special spirit. For more info and to order tea, please visit www.tikawine.com
TINATIN. The collection of jewellery pieces, The Golden Fleece of TINATIN, represents a series of archeological artefact replicas. The collection recreates the precious relic of the antique age: the Golden Fleece and the story of Argonauts, which carries aesthetic and symbolic meaning for Georgia. It revives the past with jewellery inspired by the archeological discoveries in the Vani settlement, where signs of early Georgian culture and statecraft have been resonating throughout the ages. (www.tsvholding.com)
GEORGIAN TABLE – SUPRA BY TSV is a traditional Georgian cotton tablecloth. A Tablecloth is Worth a Thousand Words. The creation technique of Georgian blue cotton tablecloths is recognized as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The Supra by TSV gives a new life to an old tradition. TSV Estate is proud to launch vintage tablecloths as our new product and tell another story from Georgia’s past to the world. It utilizes the tradition of artistic fabric processing, and ancient Georgia’s archaeological artefacts inspire the design of the products. Paired with the finest Georgian wine, these sophisticated tablecloths can tell the classical and, at the same time, an extraordinary story of Georgian folklore. For more info, please see www.tsvholding.com
TIKATOURS founded by Tika Svanidze Vancko is a Georgian luxury tour operator for discerning travellers seeking life-changing travel experiences. Established in 2001, the company pioneered the concept of luxury travel in Georgia and the Caucasus region. The company’s luxury properties enable the creation of private ultra-luxury holidays at unbeatable value. TikaTours has been built on a tradition of high-quality service and attention to detail. Company’s unmatched experience, expertise, and close relationships allow it to combine experiential service — such as a private journey through the Caucasus with insider-access opportunities, which inevitably makes tourists’ travel experience life-changing. For more info, please see www.tikatours.com
With this grand project, Tika and her team were able further to popularize Georgia in the Netherlands and deepen the ties between the diaspora organizations operating in different countries. The events planned through the project were a clear expression of the long-standing friendship and common cultural-historical past between the two countries, Georgia and the Netherlands. The goal of the project is to further consolidate and strengthen these connections and heritage. These days were a celebration of love, friendship and connection between Georgians and the people of Texel. Attendance on the project was totally free for anyone. Similar events will be planned and organized again by Tika, and the people of Texel will have many opportunities in the future to become friends with Georgians and to strengthen friendly relations even more.
Written by Nanda Jagusuak-Monteiro, in collaboration with Tika Svanidze Vancko