Six town twinnings
Town twinnings As a city characterized by and dedicated to internationality, Heidelberg is twinned with six cities worldwide. In 1961 the first town twinning agreement was signed with Montpellier (France), later with Cambridge (Great Britain), Rehovot (Israel), Bautzen (Germany), Simferopol (Ukraine) and the last one in 1992 with Kumamoto (Japan). The most important aim of all town twinnings is international understanding. It is based on the assumption that knowing other cities and countries better is the basis for peaceful co-existence and mutual tolerance. With this in mind, the town twinning agreements were signed. Exchange projects and cooperation in various fields are aimed at discovering and getting to know each other. Each town twinning relationship has its own history and its particular features, depending on culture and structure.
Town twinning work takes place at various levels and ranges from visits of official delegations and exchanges of experiences at the political and administrative levels to meetings of young people and activities of citizens. Important players in town twinning work are, on the one hand, the Office of the Lord Mayor/Town Twinnings on behalf of the City, and, on the other, the respective Friendship Associations, Sportkreis Heidelberg e.V. and Stadjugendring e.V. In 1996, the City of Heidelberg established the "International Summer Science School" (ISH) which brings together pupils who have successfully completed their last year of grammar school and come from all of Heidelberg's twin towns.
In addition to this, Heidelberg has friendly relations with the cities of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Jelenia Góra (Poland) and Heidelberg (South Africa). Friendly relations with Calamba City (Philippines) are presently being established. Projects including several cities working together on particular subjects are increasing, for example an arts project with young people from Montpellier, Jelenia Góra and Heidelberg.
Another particular concern of the City of Heidelberg is keeping contact with its former citizens of Jewish faith. Today most of them live in the U.S.A. and Israel. Already three meetings have taken place in Heidelberg in which a number of the former residents visited Germany for the first time since their expulsion.
Together with a network of cities in Baden Heidelberg is also involved in maintaining the Gurs memorial in France. Numerous Heidelberg Jews were taken to this concentration camp during World War II.
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