Wismar's Twinned Towns
Every year the Hanseatic Town of Wismar hosts the traditional Swedish Festival. The bond between Wismar and Sweden is of particular significance not only due to their shared history but because the Swedish town of Kalmar is one of Wismar's five twinned towns.
Read here about the other towns twinned with Wismar, how the partnerships came to be and how those ties are maintained.
The German-Swedish Society in Wismar also contributes to a lively exchange programme between the two towns.
Younger citizens also benefit from the twinning; since 2006 there have been contacts between youth centres in Kalmar and Wismar, as well as sailing tours by Wismar ships the Qualle and Atalanta to the Swedish twinned town, including some specifically for young people with the aim of promoting international youth exchanges.
The contacts today are wide-ranging; politicians and school classes from Aalborg visit Wismar, an orchestra from the Danish town played at the 2004 State Flower Show in Wismar and young sportsmen and women in judo, volleyball, handball and field athletics have taken part in international youth games.
One of the employees at the embassy hails from Halden, and it was he who then set the relationship in motion. The partnership is also responsible for contributing to the success of the Wismar Christmas Market – the impressive fir tree erected in the market square each year hails from the Norwegian town.
Similarly to Kalmar, groups of young people have also taken part in sailing tours with the Atalanta to Halden.
Due to the distances involved, the relationship with Kemi is relatively subdued, but there does exist a school partnership between the two towns, and the hope is that future relations will intensify.
Student exchanges between the two towns have taken place for several years, while local politicians have enjoyed reciprocal invitations to the town's major festivals – the Swedish Festival in Wismar, and the Calais International Parade.
Within the framework of attempts at inter-German rapprochement (based on a 1972 treaty), a series of twinned town partnerships were agreed. Lübeck expressed interest in a twin town that also lay on the Baltic Sea coast, and after an initial offer to Rostock was ignored, it turned to Wismar.
The twinning contributed to mutual understanding and the maintenance of peace in the region. In the wake of the laying of foundation stone for the reconstruction of St. Georgen Church in 1988, the 'Lübecker Forum' made a particular commitment to the project.
Wismar and Lübeck share a long history together – as far back as 1259, the towns signed an alliance treaty to protect mutual trade routes that would be a precursor to the formation of the Hanseatic League.
Why have Twinned Towns?
The page was created as part of a two week internship in the Press Office of the Hanseatic Town of Wismar in 2007 by Wiebke Neelsen, who at the time was a student of the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Gymnasium.