Town twinning & sponsorships

Town twinning and sponsorships

For many years now, the city of Hilden has been twinned with the cities of Warrington/UK and Nové Město nad Metuji/Czech Republic. Both connections are pursued very intensively and have led to many different contacts.

In contrast to the usual practice, since 1989 the city of Hilden has not maintained sponsorships with individual units or formations but with all the military units stationed at the Waldkaserne Hilden.

  • Warrington

    In 1961 the officers of the Lancashire Regiment, stationed at the Waldkaserne in Hilden, began to establish friendly relations with the people of Hilden, the town council and the administration. So we owe special thanks to these officers who laid the foundations for the very good relations that existed then and still exist today between the people of Warrington and Hilden.

    The bonds forged at that time eventually led to the first English-German conference on May 28, 1964. This conference, chaired by Mr. Robert Gies, then mayor of Hilden and later chairman of the twinning committee, was hosted by the council of the city of Hilden. Things like English-German youth exchange, exchange of apprentices and school classes as well as a twinning were discussed in detail.

    After all possibilities and the related difficulties had been discussed in detail, Mr. Wilhelm Müller, then chairman of the Stadtjugendring Hilden, expressed the opinion that despite the difficulties real proposals should be made. On behalf of the Stadtjugendring, Mr. Müller invited a group of young people between the ages of 16 and 20 from Warrington and Blackburn to visit Hilden the following year. Accommodation was provided with Hilden families.
    The visit of the young people in 1965 proved to be an outstanding success, so much so that it was the basis for many further youth exchanges which proved to be a considerable contribution in furthering the desire to conclude an officially recognized twinning arrangement. The culmination of this development was the signing of the twinning agreement on May 22, 1968 by the Mayor of Warrington, Alderman Arthur Boyle, and the Mayor of Hilden, Councillor Robert Gies and the two Town Clerks, Mr. J.P. Aspen and Mr. Heinz Brieden.

    Over the next 10 years the bonds of friendship between the people of Hilden and Warrington became so strong that they were not weakened even when, in 1974, surrounding urban and rural areas in England were incorporated into Warrington as part of a local government reorganization. However, this reorganization made it necessary for a new twinning agreement to be signed on February 12, 1975 by the Mayor of Warrington, Mrs. Kathleen Elizabeth Walker Richardson and the Mayoress of Hilden, Dr. Ellen Wiederhold, the Chief Executive Mr. W.H. Lawton and the Town Clerk Dr. K.D. Göbel and the two Chairmen of the Twinning Committees, Councillor A. Boyle and Councillor R. Gies.

  • Nové Město nad Metují

    As early as December 17, 1986, the council of the city of Hilden decided to pursue an additional partnership with a city in the GDR and with a municipality in Eastern Europe beyond the existing partnership relations. After the administration had explored numerous possibilities of establishing a partnership with an Eastern European town, the sponsorship and partnership committee instructed the administration in 1987, in execution of the council's decision, to explore further details with a view to entering into an additional partnership with a municipality in Czechoslovakia. According to the experiences of other cities, this was the most likely possibility of a promising partnership. Subsequently, the Foreign Office and the Embassy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic as well as the German-Czechoslovak Society were asked for support. But only the request of the then mayoress Dr. Ellen Wiederhold to the then prime minister Dr. Johannes Rau, in the course of his visit to Czechoslovakia in 1988 to the representative of the Czechoslovak Republic, to present the wish of the council and the administration of the town of Hilden, led to the fact that the cultural attaché of the embassy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic on 20.04.1989 to the then mayor:

    "Dear Madam Mayor, the Czechoslovak Society for International Relations in Prague has forwarded your proposal to establish the partnership between the town of Hilden and a town in the CSSR, with the result that the Council of the Municipal National Committee of the town of Nové Město nad Metují has unanimously decided to start negotiations with the representatives of their town. It is a great honor for me to invite you dear Madam Mayor, on behalf of Mr. Jaroslav Jara, Chairman of the Municipal National Committee Nové Město to visit (...)"

    After that everything developed quite fast. On 04.09.1989 the ambassador of the Czechoslovak socialist republic visited the city of Hilden to make himself strong for the town twinning, but also to explain points of view of his country in the matter of "town marriage". After a good 2 hours of information exchange, it was clear to council member Hans-Günther Eckerth, the head of a six-member Hilden delegation that was to leave for Nové Město 4 days later, that there was agreement on the basic features of the partnership. Thus, already on September 11, 1989, the partnership agreement could be signed during the delegation's visit to Nové Město, which was then unanimously ratified by the councils of the cities of Hilden and Nové Město a little later.

  • Forest Barracks

    For over 80 years, the traditional town on the Itter has also included a military property, the Waldkaserne. Once built for the Wehrmacht, it housed first American and later British troops after the Second World War. For more than 50 years, the Waldkaserne, which is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and also architecturally most beautiful barracks in Germany, has been home to various units of the German Armed Forces.

    Over the decades, the "landlords" changed: logisticians, pioneers and also command support personnel were at home in this barracks. In the mid-nineties, the military police took over the barracks. However, the Waldkaserne has become most widely known for the Bundeswehr Training Music Corps, a militarily unique institution that is closely linked to this barracks. The training music corps has been stationed at the Waldkaserne Hilden again since 2018 after a longer absence that was necessary for infrastructure reasons, so that our musical figurehead would also be preserved again.

    Following a restructuring in 2013, the military police are based at the Waldkaserne with the Feldjäger Regiment 2. However, most of the regiment's soldiers are stationed outside Hilden, as the regiment acts as a "control center" for a total of eight military police units, which have their respective areas of operation in six German states, from the North Sea coast to Saarland and from the Netherlands to the former inner-German border.

    The regiment's staff, the staff company and a military police company (military police service command) are stationed in Hilden itself. In addition, there is the support center for the civilian vocational training and continuing education of soldiers, a material testing group, parts of the Bundeswehr Service Center, the West Regional Headquarters of BWI Informationstechnik GmbH, and a youth officer office.
    Once all the construction work has been completed, up to 1,000 soldiers and civilian employees will be on duty in Hilden.

    We all feel very much at home in Hilden. The sponsorship with the city of Hilden, which has existed for more than 30 years, is a special sign of the appreciation of the citizens of Hilden for the soldiers of "their" barracks. Whether at the "Storming of the Waldkaserne", the annual reception or other events, we are in constant contact with each other.

    This friendship is particularly supported by the "Freundeskreis der Bundeswehr Waldkaserne Hilden e.V.". The "Freundeskreis der Bundeswehr Waldkaserne Hilden e.V." actively promotes the relationship between the services of the Waldkaserne and the citizens of Hilden. Our newly assigned soldiers also perceive this very positively and are pleased about this close cooperation.