Bad Rappenau, Llandrindod Wells’ twin town in Southern Germany, has recently hosted an international festival to commemorate the historic signing of the Elysée treaty by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963. Over 1,200 guests from twenty two communities in eight countries were in Bad Rappenau last weekend to celebrate Eurofest 2013.
A group of 38 people represented Llandrindod Wells at the festival led by the Mayor, Councillor Jeff Green. The group included members of Celtic Links Scottish country dance group who performed at a number of events over a busy and action filled weekend organised by the Bad Rappenau Twinning Association.
On their arrival in Bad Rappenau the visitors were welcomed by their host families at the Mühltalhalle. The following day some of the visitors were given the opportunity to use the extensive spa facilities in Bad Rappenau – swimming in the indoor and outdoor spa pools – whilst others had a trip along the Neckar valley to enjoy the scenery and cafes in the picturesque villages. On their return everyone attended a party to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of signing the twinning agreement between Bad Rappenau and Contrexéville (France) in 1983.
At the celebrations Councillor Jeff Green said that in 2012 Llandrindod was able to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Twinning between Llandrindod Wells and Contrexéville when enjoyable gatherings were held in both towns to commemorate the event. He noted that when Llandrindod Wells and Contrexéville signed their twinning agreement in 1992 Bad Rappenau had already enjoyed ten years of twinning with Contrexéville. It was this close and successful partnership between the towns that was instrumental in enabling Llandrindod Wells and Bad Rappenau to also sign a twinning agreement in 2001. So now there is a three-way link between the communities that has provided opportunities, particularly to young people, to travel and widen understanding between the diverse communities and to accept and offer friendship in return.
The highlight of the visit was the full day of celebrations on Sunday 9 June when the Kurpark in Bad Rappenau was host venue to seven local German towns and fifteen twin towns from seven other countries – France, England, Wales, Sweden, Italy, Hungary and Poland. The day started with an ecumenical church service followed by a procession of mayors and twinning association chairmen from the 22 towns represented at the festival. After the procession eminent politicians – Rainer Wieland, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Michal Blink, Minister of State for the German Foreign Office and Baden-Württemberg Minister Reinhold Gall – spoke on the theme “Friendship without borders”. After a celebration lunch in the Kurpark everyone enjoyed a full afternoon of entertainment provided by musicians and dancers from the 22 communities represented at the festival.
On the last day the Welsh guests visited the historic university city of Heidelberg on the banks of the Neckar river. Before their long journey home the Mayor, Councillor Jeff Green, thanked the Mayor of Bad Rappenau, Herr Blättgen, the Bad Rappenau Twinning Association and host families for making their stay so enjoyable. It was noted that from 29 July to 5 August groups of young people from both Contrexéville and Bad Rappenau will be visiting Llandrindod Wells and the Twinning Association is planning a programme of events for the visitors to meet and engage with local young people.