Dreams drive reality

men boarding a fishers boat


We said it when we started, our poet said it - ‘Dreams drive reality’!



January 15th, we presented our rich program to the world (yes, we even had followers from the moon during the opening ceremony!) and we dreamt of organising many get-togethers, events and activities to bring Portugal to the JRC and the JRC to Portugal…

Fast forward 6 months, we pushed the dreams through and they became true! All of us and for all of us …

The last months have been non-stop and  we managed to organise nearly all we had in mind - even if zoom became our second home and most events had to be held ‘on-line’!

We have left our imprint with…

  • joining forces with all other portuguese friends across the JRC and JRC sites. A one JRC virtual semester!
  • A fantastic ‘look & feel’… our Armillary Sphere and stylish ‘paper boats’ that occupied the main Ispra ‘roundabout’, our amazing website and app (that will still be around for the next months!) and the various gadgets like the colourful lanyards everyone is after these days...
  • We leave behind our contribution to the JRC Career Development and Advice service for those that most need it in cooperation with a Portuguese ‘start-up’!
  • We supported various causes, like OceansAlive, the keepers of the sea-meadows, Cartas com ciência and we celebrated many important dates and themes linked to the oceans, water, forests, biodiversity, our children (and teenies too!)
  • We tried to get everyone moving with our ‘virtual races’, ‘walks from Ispra to Lisbon’ and the ‘Malhão Challenge’ that started with a Portuguese Traditional Dance Night on zoom, a JRC picnic workshop and ended by bringing so many of us together in this amazing video that we are sharing with you now!
  • Amazing ‘photo exhibitions’ and monthly ‘competitions’ – thanks to all for joining!!!
  • Cinema and short movie nights on zoom or by the lake (wow!) organised with Portuguese colleagues and the Ispra town hall.
  • Our Quercus suber plants will outlive us all - life expectancy up to 250 years! They’ll be present during the many future Portuguese presidencies to come and will give shade and joy to all those in Ispra that pass by!
  • We kept our promise and brought our tasty ‘Pasteis de Nata’ (the most voted keyword of the opening ceremony!) and other delicacies to your homes, to our Canteen, the Clubhouse, we even delivered at the JRC parking lot!
  • Our colleagues in Geel even brought a gigantic Galo de Barcelos to Geel, Mol and the JRC site

It was amazing to “work” with every single colleague we "worked" with, portuguese by passport or heart in Ispra, Geel, Petten, wherever there was a JRC or a friend. The crew in Ispra kept the boat afloat, brought energy, passion and a genuine wish to shine a light on our country and its people aboard. We were united by our friendship and the values that brought us and kept us together and are so proud to have been part of the most fantastic crew ever! Obrigada ... 

It will be difficult to stop now! Our Slovenian brothers and sisters already know, united in diversity we stand and are happy to help and support them whenever they need. We are also tremendously thankful for their active participation in some of our activities and wish them the best of luck for the forthcoming Presidency of the Slovenian Semester!

We keep rocking (see our movie!!) and inspired by our six months together ... dreams drive reality and we'll keep pushing through!  



A ‘Tea’ Obsession!

Gorreana Tea

It is common knowledge that we all have China to thank for the original cultivation and use of tea!  The English are the most famous drinkers of such infusions! It is far less known that it was the Portuguese who inspired its popularity in England – in particular, one Portuguese woman. 

It all goes back to 1662, when Catarina de Bragança (daughter of Portugal’s King João IV) won the hand of England’s newly restored monarch, King Charles II. This marriage made her one very important lady: the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland. Catarina de Bragança is said to have packed loose-leaf tea as part of her personal belongings; it would also have likely been part of her dowry, being rather expensive at the time! Initially tea infusions were considered ‘medicinal treatments’ but as a true ‘influencer’ of her times, everyone started to imitate the Queen and drink tea even when not ill! 

A fun legend also states that the origin of this hot drink comes from the fact that its crates were marked Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (Transport of Aromatic Herbs) – later abbreviated to T.E.A. There are other more plausible etymological origins for the word ‘tea’ but this is the one we like most! 

Read the full story summarised above under the BBC article ‘The True Story behind England’s tea obsession’! 

Chá Gorreana

The Chá Gorreana Tea Factory is the oldest and currently only tea plantation in Europe. It is located in the largest island of the Açores Archipelago, São Miguel. Cultivating Black and Green Tea since 1883, without any kind of treatment due to the favourable climatic conditions of the islands, it has been in the same family for five generations. 

In support of its tea production process, it has been generating its own energy since 1920, based on a locally installed hydroelectric power station, taking advantage of a natural water stream running through the plantation. This fact of being self-sufficiency in terms of energy is what has allowed it to survive over the years! As many as 16 other tea factories of the Açores have not manage to survive over time.  

The factory is a living museum, mixing tradition with innovation, but also has to generate business to sustain its more than 40 workers. The company regularly participates in fairs to sell its tea and illustrate its newer products and regularly exports its teas to France, Germany and Canada. Have a look at the Chá Gorreana on-line presence and shop for further details. 

When visiting the plantation, you may discover its clean source of electrical energy, the vastness of its tea plants and even taste its teas for free! Have a look at this drone flight or promotional video (in Portuguese subtitled in English)! Recently Business Insider published an interesting video about Gorreana! 

Considering the above ‘short stories’ the Portuguese Semester 2021 Organising Committee now brings the Gorreana Tea Factory to you and invites you to taste their teas in this cold season! You will find both a bag of Black and Green Tea in the envelope we will be handing out before the opening ceremony of the semester! We hope to positively influence your health with such infusions! 

From the start, for the beginning we wanted to choose something sustainable, environmental friendly, in summary 'green', as a presentation souvenir of the Portuguese Semester 2021. The handing out of the tea and the use of only paper, in an envelope including a postcard, easily reused and recyclable, went in such a direction!


P.S. Should you be interested in buying some Gorreana tea let us know as we may organise a group bulk order! You may write to with 'Gorreana Tea' as part of your subject for this as well as more information!

Welcome to the Portuguese Semester 2021

The Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council has arrived and the invitation to celebrate it is open to all.

From 1 January 2021 Portugal takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. Portuguese colleagues at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra want to celebrate the presidency of the semester and propose a rich and varied programme to make their country's culture, science and traditions known over the next six months.

This website and the “Portuguese Semester” celebrations are organised by a group of volunteers at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to promote and disseminate Portuguese culture, on the occasion of the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). You can know more about it here:

The first event will be the traditional flag ceremony on January 15, 2020 at 12:00 pm. The ceremony will be online and will connect Ispra to many other colleagues and friends throughout the EU: