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MNH Forges Link with Liverpool 14 July 2004

At a formal ceremony held in Liverpool a new agreement for cultural co-operation has been signed between Manx National Heritage and the National Museums of Liverpool.

This provides a dynamic new link for the Island with the City nominated by the European Union to be the "European Capital of Culture" for 2008.

The new Agreement also makes a direct link with the existing Charter for Cultural Co-operation signed between MNH and Norway in 2002. This also links with the city of Stavanger in Western Norway which, it has recently been announced, has been awarded the designation of "City of Culture" for 2008.

Chairman of MNH, Martin Moore commented:

"This new Agreement with Liverpool provides a very exciting 'third leg' to our strategy for linking with Norway and Liverpool in a celebration of our shared cultural history at a European level of publicity and promotion.

"I think the existence of this '3-legs strategy' with Liverpool and Norway offers tremendous new opportunities in the lead up to 2008 for culture, tourism and business."

The new Agreement recognises the historical links between the Isle of Man and Liverpool, the existing Culture Agreement between Manx National Heritage and the County of Rogaland, Norway and the mutual interests in the protection and presentation of cultural heritage.

The Agreement will encourage the development of relations and joint activities in the areas of research, learning and outreach, training and development.

Director of MNH, Stephen Harrison said:

"Cultural heritage can act as a great catalyst for tourism, social well being and regeneration, and for developing new international partnerships. We think this new Agreement will act as a stimulus for a range of new activities and initiatives between us, based upon our shared heritage."

Chairman of National Museums Liverpool, David McDonnell added:

"The Trustees of National Museums Liverpool are delighted to be joining this tripartite association. The approach from Manx National heritage was an extremely timely one. It has enabled us to gain considerable impetus, with significant new contacts and experiences, and it will undoubtedly provide us with a template for future links of a similar nature."

The Mayor of the County of Rogaland, Roald. Bergsaker, flew into Liverpool specially to attend the signing ceremony. Welcoming the new partner in the "3-legs Strategy" Mayor Bergsaker commented:

"I was privileged to attend the signing of our agreement with MNH in 2002 in the presence of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway. We have already undertaken some very important developments together as part of this Agreement.

"In the years between the two world wars of the 20th century, the West of Norway had a direct shipping line - the Svithun Line - serving the needs of the important Western Norway canning industry - trading between Stavanger and its hinterland Liverpool. I hope we are, through this new agreement, inaugurating a new and equally strong contact across the sea , this time serving the cultural and economic links between our areas."

The signing ceremony was hosted by the Managing Director of the Steam Packet Company, Hamish Ross in Liverpool harbour. Mr Ross commented:

"We were delighted to be able to assist MNH with this new cultural initiative and were pleased to respond when Stephen Harrison suggested that the Steam Packet Company represented the ideal historic link between the Island and Liverpool.

I am sure that there will be many positive and beneficial outcomes from this new Agreement an the Steam Packet Company looks forward to playing its part in continuing to act as a cultural, tourism and business link between the parties to the Agreement."

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