Ramirez

I recently discovered that I now live not far from the oldest still operating fish can factory in the world – “Ramirez”. The company was established in 1853 and the factory has been working in Matosinhos since 1923. Unlike dozens of similar factories in Matosinhos itself and along the Portuguese Atlantic coast that have been closed and abandoned, “Ramirez” is still working successfully. Living industrial heritage, I dare say!

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They owe their vitality to the quality of products, of course, but also to the ever-present improvements and innovation. Many of us probably remember those tin openers and all the trouble that occurred when it was necessary to reach a canned ingredient for a dinner. I was sometimes giving up the initial meal plans because those tiny things got lost among the kitchen stuff or it was simply too difficult to deal with thick metal tins. It was exactly “Ramirez” that first introduced the new, easy-opening system for their cans, the one we take for granted today. According to the data published in their virtual museum, the year was 1970. It took some further years for the invention to be adopted and spread around the world.

They have a virtual museum at their website: http://www.ramirez.pt. This is also where the photo is from.

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MOONtosinhos.

What a lovely night yesterday! The night of full moon, the night I discovered the MOONtosinhos!

MOONtosinhos is an event organized by the City Hall of Matosinhos and the archaeologist – historian named Joel Cleto. Joel is a charismatic person, passionate researcher and writer on heritage, knowing every nook and cranny of the city, including legends and stories of forgotten or neglected places around us.

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For a while now, on the nights of full moon, he organizes little guided tours around the neighbourhoods of Matosinhos. Not knowing what to expect, I was shocked when I saw 150 people late on this Sunday night, ready for a walk with Joel. A lot of different folks, youngsters and retired, or the middle-aged, of various backgrounds and education, but all curious and respectful towards the past and the inherited.

There was quite a lot to learn from this experience, as far as I’m concerned: bits and bobs about the heritage of Matosinhos, simple and creative ways to organize an event, and above all realizing the importance and love for heritage in everyday life of Portuguese.

More info on Joel Cleto and the future events: http://joelcleto.no.comunidades.net/index.php

Special thanks to M. for surprising me with MOONtosinhos!