top of page


24th  Friends of the Countryside General Assembly



Dear friends, Queridos Amigos,

The GA will take place from Thursday  October 7 to Sunday October 10, 2021

The Pre-Tour will take place from Monday October 4 to Thursday October 7

The assembly will begin on Thursday October 7 with a welcome dinner at the Palacio de Viana in the centre of Córdoba for both members and board members. The general assembly and conference will take place in Córdoba. The evening of Friday October 8 we will gather for the Gala Dinner in the magnificent Gardens of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.


The tours will take place on the Saturday and bear witness to the variety of the landscape. Visits will include a choice of large-scale olive, almond and cotton production or irrigation techniques or citrus production as well as horse breeding and pig rearing on acorns for that special Iberian jamón. An informal dinner that evening will take place in the Royal Stables of Caballerizas, home of the renowned Andalusian breed where we will be treated to a spectacular after dinner show! The last day of our gathering will include an optional visit to the Monastery San Jeronimo.

This year the extra tour will take place before the general assembly as a pre-tour encompassing Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera. It will begin on Monday October 4 in Sevilla with visits to the Palacio Arzobispal, the El Alcazar and Real Maestranza de Cabaleria to name but a few followed by visits to the bodega Fundador and the Fincas Fuente Rey and la Peñuela near Jerez.

We extend our special thanks to Antonio and Mary Melgarejo-Marqueses de Melgarejo, Ivan and Isabel de Arteaga-Marqueses de Ariza, Emilio and Mariella Navarro, Eloy and Ana Martinez Sagrera, Francisco and Silvia Ruiz della Torre, Gabriel and Jasna-Gora Lodares, Carlos Otero, Claudia Navarro for their great support in the preparation of this unique 2021 programme.

We look forward all the more to seeing you later this year so that, now more than ever, we will keep our bonds of friendship and commitment strong.


Yours sincerely,


Michael zu Salm-Salm                                                               Thierry de l’Escaille

President                                                                                  CEO & Secretary General


A word from our Secretary General and CEO, 

Dear Friends,


What a joy!


With thanks to your patience, understanding and trust, here we all are, in sunny Córdoba together in person, face to face (or mask to mask when need be!) to happily exchange and share our experiences, both agricultural and non, from the past year and a half!


This GA is exceptional in more ways than one, as we gather not in June but in October to celebrate the 24th General Assembly of the Friends of the Countryside. It is thanks to the perseverance of our Spanish Board and staff who worked together and held onto the belief that the General Assembly will take place. 


The Spanish Board have had to modify the original programme with the result that it is even more exceptional! It is an honour to be able to hold the General Assembly and Conference in the exclusive Real Círculo de la Amistad, and we will continue in this beautiful Renaissance building for our lunch. We shall also be treated to a unique private visit to the Mezquita-Cathedral for those who have registered for it. In the evening, we have the privilege to hold the gala dinner in the gardens of the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, not normally open to private events!


Please be assured that all safety rules as set by the Spanish authorities concerning the Covid-19 are being strictly followed. If you have any special requests please check with a member of staff.


So, I take this moment to welcome you all to this beautiful Southern Spanish town and I look forward to speaking to each and everyone of you. We also welcome many new members to the General Assembly whom I am sure you will enjoy meeting.


Yours in friendship

Thierry de l’Escaille

A word from our Vice president and Board Members,

Dear Friends, 


Spain is an amazing country: slightly over 50 million hectares, the second largest of the EU, though only 20 million are cultivated, the rest being forests, mountains and non- productive land. Spain has a rich natural biodiversity, with tremendous climatic differences between the green atlantic NorthWest and the dry deserts of the SouthEast: it is the amount of rainfall that makes this brutal contrast possible. 


Our most southern region, Andalusia, with almost 9 million hectares is a land full of unique nature: our mediterranean crops irrigated and dryland (olives, almonds, oranges, vines, durum wheat, vegetables); our unique Quercus forests, the Dehesa, where oak trees coexist with extensive dryland agriculture and cattle; our monterías and ojeos; our beautiful sand shores, rivers and mountains; our wide cultural heritage. 


Sustainable biodiversity and wise use of fresh water resources could be considered our precious legacy to the future generations, but also as a magnificent gift to our people and to all Friends visiting our beloved country: welcome and enjoy!


Antonio Melgarejo, Vice president

Emilio Navarro, Board member

Ivan de Arteaga del Alcazar, Board member

bottom of page