As part of my second year of studies, an exciting opportunity arose for me to complete an internship in our twin city Nové Město nad Metují from June 26 to July 04, 2023. I had already previously expressed my interest in this opportunity, as the importance of the partnership is clearly felt both through regular exchanges and the presence of Nove Mesto Square in Hilden.
Before I left, I found out about the size of the twin town and learned that compared to Hilden with its 58,100 inhabitants, Nové Město nad Metují is significantly smaller with 9,500 inhabitants. This difference is also reflected in the number of municipal employees. While Hilden has 1,019 employees, Nové Město nad Metují only has around 130 employees, including the technical relief organization and the municipal police.
During my stay, I got to know not only the administration, its employees, but also the way they work. Every day I was assigned to a new department and went through their classic work assignment with them. Thus, for me, every day was marked by uniqueness and incredible variety.
One of my personal highlights was accompanying the city police. I was picked up by them in the morning and was allowed to accompany them on their inspection tour. In the process, I had the chance not only to visit the schools, but also to get to know a homeless shelter in the forest and talk to the three residents. On another day, I accompanied the social welfare office to a refugee home for Ukrainian women and children, where both gratitude and emotionality were palpable. The latter was especially palpable through the vast quantities of cleaned food cans. The cans are collected by the women and processed into candles with the help of cardboard, wax and wood. On the already finished candles one could see pictures and sayings painted by the children. The candles are picked up at regular intervals by a volunteer, who in turn takes the candles to the war front and thus to the husbands and fathers. I was also particularly fascinated by Nové Město nad Metují's commitment to sustainability, which is also due to its limited financial resources. At the technical relief organization, comparable to our building yard, I got to know a garden facility where flowers are grown from seeds or cuttings in greenhouses and beds. The flowers were not only found in the flower boxes of the town hall, but also in the famous flower clock, of which, by the way, there are only two in the whole Czech Republic.
During my stay, I got used not only to the Czech serenity, but also to the extraordinary hospitality. The employees enthusiastically told me about their work and, despite the language barrier, were always eager to explain everything to me and involve me. It was extremely interesting to learn how the administration in Hilden and Nové Město nad Metují are similar in their joint efforts to ensure efficient and transparent administrative processes despite their differences, such as the election of the mayor and his deputy.
The internship gave me a new administrative perspective and deepened my knowledge of the twin town. I am very grateful to Hilden and Nové Město nad Metují for the valuable experience and the encounters with the committed local people. The internship has broadened my horizons and strengthened my belief that the exchange between the cities is of great importance. I very much hope that the partnership will continue to grow and persist through such internship opportunities to promote cooperation and cultural exchange.