We are where we are thanks to those who came beforeIN THIS ISSUE WE LOOK AT SOME OF THE BIG DATES IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS

Journalists love a good anniversary. Need a subject for a column? It’s the 50th anniversary of that painter’s death. Need a companion piece for an interview? It’s the 150th commemoration of that institution’s foundation. Need political context? It’s the 200th anniversary of the end of that war! I’m not running anniversaries down. Despite sometimes seeming a bit arbitrary remembering this writer rather than this one, few I think would doubt the importance of remembering key historical figures and events. We are where we are thanks to those who came before us, their example can serve as inspiration or a warning and, if nothing else, can help us in our next game of Trivial Pursuit!

The one time when anniversaries are valid is at the start of a new year. With 2018 ahead of us, in this issue we look at some of the commemorations in the coming 12 months. Check out the report on pages 34 & 35, where we remember important figures from the past and major past events, both at home and abroad.

If I have one complaint about our list, it is that we had to leave out some good anniversaries due to a lack of space. Here are a few that did not make the final cut but that I think are worth mentioning.

For example, this year is the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Maricel Palace in Sitges. This building designed by Miquel Utrillo and that houses the town’s museum was superbly refurbished in 2015 and looks resplendent. I mention it because I went there this summer and it is well worth a visit, especially in this its anniversary year.

Meanwhile, this year is the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty coming into effect, formally establishing the European Union. It is an interesting date, because the widespread celebrations one might expect are likely to be muted given the major problems, from the migration crisis to Brexit and even the Catalan political conflict, that now beset the bloc.

Finally, 2018 marks 450 years since the Netherlands declared independence from Spain. Given the local context, it might prove heartening for some that breaking away from Spain has been done before, albeit a very long time ago.

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