Helmstedter Partnerschaftsverein

Twinnings with history

About 90 years ago, in 1921, the English Keighley (West Yorkshire) and the Frensh Poix-du-Nord (Département Nord) entered into the first modern twinning. Kiel to Sonderberg (1925) and Wiesbaden to Klagenfurt (1930) followed. After the Second World War it came to a greater extend of twinnings, for reconcilliation between the European nations, for cooperation at local level over national borders and for common understanding of the nations to be lived „from the base“ – German cities first got twinned to British, French then to American and later in the frame of a growing European awareness especially to north- and south-European communities. German-German twinnings delivered increasingly valuable contributions to the merge of our Fatherland and after the fall of the Iron Curtain twinnings to east-European cities fostered the process of democratization and latest the rapprochement of Orient and Occident.

Helmstedt – as a former border town – influenced actively this historic development – partly in trailblazer function. A look into the chronologiy gives impressive evidence about this. Council, adminstration and citizens entered into twinnings to French Vitré (22nd October 1978), to British Chard (12th April 1980), to American Albuquerque (29th May 1983) and Italian Fiuggi (11th October 1986), to Haldensleben (1st June 1990, still former GDR in those days), to Swetlogorsk in Belarus (15th April 1991), to Orastie in Romania (24th June 2002) and to Konakli in Turkey (8th September 2008).

From the diverse contacts of the Allied to Helmstedt’s people an open and trustful relation to each other had been developed. Helmstedt’s schools made contact very early with considerable response to schools outside Germany.

On 8th February 1979 the Council of Helmstedt passed a resolution to introduce a committee for the young and up to then only twinning to Vitré. From this originated the foundation of Helmstedt’s Society for Twinnings and International Exchange on 5th March 1980. That was the birth of „Helmstedt’s successfull model“. This Society took over immeadiately – and up to now – the conceptual and organizational tasks with regard to exchange visits and international meetings for all twin towns on behalf and in the interest of the Community of Helmstedt.