First, a short history lesson
The Tunbridge Wells Twinning & Friendship Association (TWTFA) traces its origins back to March 1960, when four ex-servicemen from Tunbridge Wells travelled to Germany to meet their counterparts in Wiesbaden. They were keen to heal the wounds of the Second World War and to build a better world for the future. The one-time combatants discovered they spoke a common language of active reconciliation and signed a partnership agreement in 1961. This was followed by a ‘Treaty of Friendship’ in 1971. In 1989 the two towns signed a Twinning Charter, which is displayed in Tunbridge Wells Town Hall. TWTFA is proud to have had as its first President ex-Royal Marine Commando Tom MacAndrew – one of the four founding members, who extended the hand of friendship to Wiesbaden over fifty years ago.
Bringing us up to the present day
The TWTFA is a member-based society; it currently has approximately 90 members. It is run by a small committee and acts as an intermediary between groups and individuals in the twin towns. In the past, it has organised member visits to Wiesbaden for the summer Wine Festival, the traditional Christmas Market and the pre-Lenten ‘Fasching’ Carnival.
The TWTFA has facilitated concerts in Tunbridge Wells for a variety of musical groups from Wiesbaden and has made it possible for local musical groups to perform in Wiesbaden. It has also been very active in supporting school groups from two schools in Wiesbaden to come to Tunbridge Wells; one such school has brought its students to the area for the past 17 years, to undertake two weeks of work experience.
The TWTFA is always looking for new potential links with our beautiful twin town and is happy to act as intermediaries, helping local clubs and organisations to contact their counterparts and ‘go European’. For fluent German speakers among the TWTFA members, there is a small Kulturkreis, an informal discussion circle that meets at regular intervals throughout the year.
You can find further information about the TWTFA’s current programme of activities on the internet. Go to www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk, first highlight ‘Community’ and then click on ‘Twin Town’.