European Go Cultural Centre
The European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC) was located in Amstelveen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The European Go Centre was a building which was owned by the Nihon Ki-in, but loaned to the Foundation Nihon Ki-in European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC) to be used as a place to play go. The EGCC was a non-profit organization whose aim was the spreading of go in Europe.
The EGF and the EGCC are often confused. The EGF was the official organization formed by the European go associations to work together, for example to organize the European Go Championship.The EGCC was fully independent of the EGF, but of course the two organizations worked together.
The story begins when Iwamoto Kaoru, the former Honinbo Kunwa, sold his Go club in Tokyo in 1990 and donated the proceeds to the Nihon Ki-in with the intention of starting Go centres around the world. His dream was realized in Sao Paulo in South America, in New York and Seattle in North America as well as here in Amstelveen, a suburb of Amsterdam. The building was approved by Iwamoto himself. When he came to Amsterdam to have a look at the age of 90, he insisted on taking public transport instead of a taxi because he wanted to make sure that it was easy to reach this place. The chosen location was very suitable. It could be reached conveniently by either bicycle, car, bus, tram or metro and has excellent parking facilities. It was located fifteen minutes from the international airport Schiphol and twenty minutes from the centre of Amsterdam. The building, a former telephone agency, was completely reconstructed by Obayashi Corporation. It was opened by Iwamoto and the mayor of Amstelveen on May 9th, 1992. The building had three large and one small hall located on two floors as well as two bars, three offices, large storing space and its own parking facilities. The heart of the building was formed by a ten tatami Japanese room; the Kunwa room, a name used by Iwamoto when he became Honinbo in 1946.
The Go Centre was ideally equipped for a wide range of activities. The main feature of the building was three large halls, enabling over two hundred people to play Go. The EGCC was equipped with high quality playing material (shell and slate stones, kaya and katsura go boards). The special designed Japanese tatami room, the Kunwa room (named after Iwamoto Sensei when he changed his name after he won the Honinbo title) is used for important games.
The Go Department of the Go Centre, consisting of a staff of two people, tried to realize the aim of Iwamoto. This aim was made concrete in the plan developed in May 1994: Go Promotion 1995-2000. Since the building in which the EGCC is housed was quite large, the European Go Federation (EGF) and the Dutch Go Association (Nederlandse Go Bond) also had their office.
For a financial healthy exploitation of the EGCC it was necessary to let halls for other purposes. They let halls to many bridge clubs, a chess and checker club and to emphasis the cultural aspect of the center they hosted several Japanese cultural activities, like painting and flower arrangement.
The website of the EGCC can be found at http://www.go-centre.nl.
The closure of the EGCC was announced in June, 2019. Although income was roughly static, increasing costs had caused the future of the Centre to be judged as unviable. The decision was thus taken to sell the building. What money was left went to a new fund called the Iwamoto Europe Foundation.