The middle weekend in February saw a group of 12 people from Buckingham in Neukirchen-Vluyn, our twin town in Germany, for the signing of the treaty to confirm the full twinning arrangements with them. We have had a friendship agreement with our friends there since 2012, so this was a natural progression to full twinning.We all arrived on the Friday mostly by plane to Düsseldorf although 4 people drove over from England and the guests from Mouvaux, our twin town and also theirs, who drove as well.
After a delicious lunch together at a Chinese restaurant we went to Haus Elim, a residential school for young girls run by an evangelical organisation. After a tour of part of the complex we watched some informative videos and listened to a talk by the head of the foundation.In the evening we all adjourned to an Italian restaurant in Neukirchen where we were later joined by some guests from Neukirchen – Vluyn’s Polish twin town Ustron
On the Saturday morning we all gathered at the Town Hall for the official part of the weekend. Apart from ourselves there were several members of their twinning association, representatives of various groups and some local dignitaries. It was also lovely to meet up with friends there who had either been to Buckingham or had been hosts to us when we visited them.After speeches by Harald Lenssen, the mayor of Neukirchen Vluyn and Buckingham mayor Cllr Mark Cole, the agreement was duly signed by both of them as well as the chairman of their Twinning Association and the chairperson from Buckingham.We were then taken to a traditional German restaurant for a delicious lunch of local delicacies.
In the afternoon we went on a guided bus tour round Neukirchen Vluyn, with a commentary by the mayor. This included a trip up a former slag heap, now transformed into a local landmark called the ‘Haldenhaus’ with good views from the top, and a visit to the local exchange partner grammar school, where we had a very informative tour led by the headteacher. In the evening we all visited a Croatian Restaurant in Neukirchen for a delicious buffet of traditional dishes.All too soon it was Sunday morning and time to pack our bags to come home.We had a wonderful time and were made so welcome by our German hosts.
We look forward to welcoming them to Buckingham later this year to sign the treaty here.