Stampersgat in the province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands, is situated on the banks of the Rivers De Mark and Dintel and lies half way between Rotterdam to the north and Antwerp in Belgium to the south.
The origin of Cheltenham’s link with Stampersgat dates back to November 1944 when, after 4½ years of German occupation, Stampersgat was liberated by the 2nd Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment.
During the hard liberation battle, 14 soldiers from the regiment were killed and one of them, Corporal Dennis Lee, was buried at the Roman Catholic Church in Stampersgat.
In 1970 a street was named in commemoration of Corporal Lee and the other soldiers killed. Visitors from Cheltenham were present during the ceremony naming the ‘Dennis Leestraat’ and it was on this occasion that the Friendship Link between Stampersgat and the Cheltenham Branch of the Gloucestershire Regiment was formed. Since that time, regular exchanges have taken place between Cheltenham and Stampersgat.
Stampersgat was built on the dykes of the polders and first inhabitants settled in the area at the beginning of the 17th century. Agriculture was the main economic activity, with sugar beet emerging as the main crop. As early as 1886 a sugar factory was built in Stampersgat, and having since been rebuilt, expanded and modernised, the sugar factory in Stampersgat is one of the largest and most modern in the world. Many of the inhabitants of Stampersgat are, or have been, employed at the sugar factory.
In 1987, Stampersgat was award the European Flag of Honour in recognition of its Friendship link with Cheltenham and the flag flies in the Roman Catholic Church of Stampersgat.
Visits of residents from both towns take place every two years and are warmly welcomed in each other’s homes. Evenings of home-made entertainment have become a custom of the visits and help to establish firm friendships.