Events and activities for all

Medway’s commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway in June 2017 is two weeks of exciting and unique Dutch themed events.

Here is a taste of what you can expect to see.

The Journey to Chatham

Saturday 6 May to 12 November 2017 at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

A new temporary exhibition showcasing the Guildhall Museum's collection of contemporary Dutch engravings and broadsheets to tell the story of the battle from the Dutch perspective.

Of Fireships and Iron

Friday 2 June to 26 August 2017 at Rochester Art Gallery and Rochester Cathedral

Five Medway based artists - all pushing the boundaries of contemporary printmaking - will be presenting new work. This will be part of the 350 year commemorations of the Battle of Medway and the Medway Print Festival 2017.

Medway Print Festival

Friday 2 June to 27 August at Rochester Art Gallery

An exhibition of contemporary printmaking inspired by the historic prints of the Battle of Medway on display at the Guildhall Museum..

Arrival of British and Dutch Naval Ships

Wednesday 7 June 2017 in Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Watch as the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships begin to arrive, mooring in Basin 2 of the Chatham Maritime.

Civic Event

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Chatham Historic Dockyard

The Civic Event will be attended by two high profile VIPs from the UK and the Netherlands. The warships will be moored in Chatham Maritime (Basin 2) from 7 to 12 June 2017. All civic events are not open to the public and by invitation only..

Arrival of the first Dutch sailing yacht fleet

Thursday 8 June 2017, around 11am

Over 100 visiting Dutch yachts arrive for the festival at around 11am. Salute sail by Upnor Castle. Fleet to include some interesting vessels including the Morgenster, the Iris, the Urania and the George Stephenson..

Battle of Medway International Exhibition

Thursday 8 June to 3 September 2017 at the Historic Dockyard Chatham

A temporary exhibition which tells tale of the Battle of Medway through Dutch and British contemporary art, literature, historic manuscripts and extraordinary objects. The formal opening will take place as part of the Civic Event on 8th June.

Battle of Medway Exhibition

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Upnor Castle

This permanent addition to the castle’s interpretation of the Battle of Medway. A formal opening event will take place at 11am as part of the Battle of Medway Civic Event..

Exhibition at Medway Archives Centre

Thursday 8 to 18 June 2017 at the Medway Archives Centre

Exhibition exploring Medway during the 1660’s - books, manuscripts and local documents including excerpts from Samuel Pepys' diary..

Visits to Historic Vessels

Thursday 8 to 17 June 2017 at Gillingham pier and other river locations

Many of the local and visiting Dutch heritage vessels will be open to the public throughout this period at Basin 3..

Dutch Tile Painting

Thursday 8 and 10 June 2017 at Eastgate House

Come along to Eastgate House, where we will be holding two Dutch tile painting workshops: one for adults in the evening of 8 June and one for families..

Medway Sports Festival

Thursday 8 to 17 June 2017 at locations across Medway

A varied programme of sporting events with an Anglo-Dutch theme, culminating in a spectacular Amsterdam to Medway Bike Ride. More details to come..

Mini Youth Games (Football)

8 June at locations around Medway

The games are open to pupils from every primary school in Medway and invitational schools. 

The Dutch are Coming! Writing Fact and Fiction about the Anglo-Dutch wars

Thursday 8 June 2017, 7.30pm at Gillingham Library

J D Davies, a naval historian author will also give a talk and reveal the reasons why the two countries went to war with each other three times. He will also talk about his acclaimed series of naval fiction set during the wars, the Journals of Matthew Quinton ('a series of real panache’ - The Times).

Dickens Festival

Friday 9 to 11 June 2017, 10am to 6pm each day in Rochester

The Dickens Festival is a major, three day event in  which celebrates the life of the famous English author. Watch Rochester High Street come alive with colourful characters, parades, talks and readings. 

Sitting Volleyball

Friday 9 to 11 June 2017 at Medway Park

Fresh from Rio, Paralympic Qualifiers, Canada, return to Medway Park to take on GB for the first time. With the Dutch women ranked 5th in the world this promises to be a thrilling opportunity to watch professional sport at Medway Park.

The Medway International will be held over three days and looks to be a fiercely competitive tournament.

Army vs Navy football match

Friday 9 June 2017

The Armed Forces will be taking part in our own ‘Dutch Battle as the British Army take on the Dutch navy in a friendly football match. With both teams being highly competitive and pride up for stake, you can bet the traditional rivalry between Army and Navy will be in full force. To be confirmed.

Royal Marine band and Dutch Royal Marine band Concert

Saturday 10 June 2017 at the St Georges Centre, Chatham

A truly Anglo Dutch concert with two marine bands.

Rowing Match

Saturday 10 June 2017 at Historic Dockyard Chatham

Potential retired Dutch marines rowing match from Sheerness to the Historic Dockyard Chatham. Ending at Thunderbolt Pier at 12 noon. To be confirmed.

International Handball

Saturday 10 June 2017

Handball returns to Medway with European Cup club London GD Handball taking on Dutch club KRAS Volendam in what looks to be an exciting match. Both clubs will be looking to out-do the other as London GD has international players from The Netherlands as part of their team and tensions will be high.

British and Dutch Naval Ships

Friday 9 to 11 June 2017 in Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Visit the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships in Basin 2.

Storytelling Sessions

Saturday 10 and 17 June 2017 at libraries around Medway

Story telling about the Battle of Medway at the 4 main hub libraries – Chatham, Gillingham, Strood and Rochester.

Chatham Maritime River Pageant

Saturday 10 June 2017 at Chatham Maritime

Chatham Maritime comes alive with a programme of family entertainment including a funfair, food and drink, and trade stalls.

The Dutch are coming!

Saturday 10 and 11 June, 10am to 5pm at Upnor Castle

Step back in time to 1667 at Upnor Castle with living history events and activities telling the story of the Dutch Raid.

From Fire to Friendship service

Sunday 11 June 2017 at Rochester Cathedral

To be held at Evensong and to be combined with the Mayor of Medway’s Dedication Service with before and after from the Breda choir.

British and Dutch Naval Ships Leave

Monday 12 June 2017 from Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

The Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships leave Medway from Basin 2.

Medway Schools Giant Chain

Wednesday 14 June 2017 at locations across Medway

Schools from across Medway meet up to link together in a massive chain representing the chain used in the Battle of Medway to try and stop enemy warships.

Arrival of Second Dutch Yacht Fleet

Wednesday 14 June 2017

A further 100 Dutch yachts arrive for the festivities.

Medway Design and Regeneration Awards

Friday 16 June 2017

An awards ceremony to celebrate the excellent construction projects across Medway in the last 10 years. Including investments in a new rail station, new and modern projects of homes and leisure facilities. This with the regeneration plans for many areas in Medway shows that the programme isn't slowing down. By invitation only.

Rhythm & Blues event

Friday 16 June 2017 at Chatham Historic Dockyard

A Rhythm and Blues musical event will make Chatham Historic Dockyard come alive with the sound of music.

Medway In Flames

Saturday 17 June 2017 at locations around Medway

A major public event with Upnor Castle as the backdrop, depicting the Dutch Raid on the River Medway and Chatham Dockyard. The ‘foot-print’ for the event will include the water basins at St Mary’s island, the Ship & Trades, the Outlet Centre, Chatham Historic Dockyard and Upnor Reach.

The day starts:

2.00pm onwards – General activities such as fairs, stalls, food and drink – Basin 2

4.00pm – 9.00pm – Live English and Dutch folk music on stage, walkabout entertainment – location tbc

5.30pm - 6.00pm (subject to tides) – Anglo Dutch River Pageant

6.00pm-8.00pm – a variety of water activities opposite Upnor castle such as Fly Boarding, Jet Ski displays

9.30pm-10.30pm – Medway in Flames Spectacular finale.

The finale depicts the events leading up to the raid on the Royal Dockyard at Chatham, Upnor Castle and the ships of the English Royal Navy anchored on the River Medway. Celebrating 350 years of friendship and co-operation between our two nations since the conclusion of the Anglo-Dutch wars, Medway in Flames will be a sensational finale to our festival of cultural, sporting and educational events.

Medway Big Ride

Saturday 17 June 2017

The Medway Big Ride was launched in 2014 to encourage Medway to get on their bikes! It offers opportunities for all ages, from experienced endurance cyclists to young children and non cyclists. Incorporating sportives, run by our partner Evans, family rides to childrens’ races and trails. New for this year is the Brompton Challenge, Yedoo Scooters, pump tracks and  gravity trick shows.

Anglo Dutch Fencing Match

Saturday 17 June 2017, 10am and 5pm at the Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Tenterden Swords Fencing Club (home of numerous national and Commonwealth champions) will compete against the Pallos fencing club of Utrecht in the spectacular Slip No.3.

Ghost Hunt

Saturday 17 June 2017, 8pm to 2am at Fort Borstal

Experience a night of ghost hunting with the Fort Borstal Ghost Hunt and participate in this paranormal investigation from 8pm to 2am.


Saturday 17 June 2017

A free one-day festival to celebrate everything creative in Medway. The event will incorporate a huge range of activities from live music, poetry and spoken words to dance events like belly-dancing and hoop work. There will also be alternative street theatre, visual arts, martial arts, open studios, free creative workshops and an artisan market.

(Actual activities and timings tbc).

Samuel SqueaksTake a selfie with Samuel Squeaks

Saturday 10 June and 17 June 2017

Don't miss Samuel Squeaks who will be popping up in various places to help children understand the story of the Battle of Medway.

Hear how Samuel Squeaks escaped the plague and ended up in Medway 350 years ago – you will also meet him in person. A story telling session mixed with arts and crafts – not to be missed.

Get a selfie with Samuel and share it with us on Twitter #BOM350.