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City Partnerships

A city partnership with the City of Sées/Orne in France, planned since 1976 by local associations, was finally consummated on June 3, 1979, in Tönisvorst and September 9, 1979, in Sées. This partnership offers a number of mutually beneficial options for sportive, cultural and personal exchanges. Frequent contact with the Czech Republic resulted in another partnership in the year 1999 between Tönisvorst and the City of Stare Mesto. Reciprocal visits and common events create new contacts and promote social exchanges. Since 2006, Tönisvorst is enriched by yet another city partnership, namely with the city of Laakdal-Vorst in the Kempen area in Belgium.

 

Coat of Arms Stare Mesto

The city partnership with Stare Mesto: The partner city of Sees got the ball rolling, already being partners with Stare Mesto, among other things via musical events. Sees suggested to Tönisvorst to join its partnership with Stare Mesto. The former Mayor of Tönisvorst, Mr. Dietrich Büttner, took the ball and ran with it, travelling 1,300 kilometres together with an entire Tönisvorst delegation in the mid-90s to Stare Mesto, the roots of which go back to the early middle ages. Stare Mesto has a premier league soccer team, a premier league volleyball team and cross-regionally known agricultural and arts colleges.

Subsequent to this first trip by the Tönisvorst delegation, friendly relationships ensued between various clubs: Between the Volleyball club Stare Mesto and the FC Synot – both premier league teams – on one hand and the respective departments of the Spielverein St. Tönis on the other hand. Regular reciprocal visits took place, including exchanges of the youth teams. In 1997, the City Council decided to make the partnership official and, in 2008, both cities celebrated the 10year anniversary of the partnership with a great ceremonial act in Tönisvorst, crowned by a friendly soccer game between two women’s teams. If you are interested in more information on the partnership or would like to participate in the activities, please contact the Chairmen Rosi Thissen (02156/97 23 17) and / or Horst von Brechan (02151/ 79 50 51).

 

Coat of Arms Gemeente Laakdal

Gemeente Laakdal

By sheer coincidence, the Vorst local Kunibert Schmitz received a postcard in 2003 from “Vorst im Kempener Land”, but a different Vorst, this one near Antwerp in Belgium. Similar to Tönisvorst, the Belgian community of Laakdal in the Province of Antwerp consists of several parts. One of them is Vorst, or better two of them: “Little Vorst” and “Big Vorst”. This postcard as a visible sign of a commonality was the start of a rapid development toward a city partnership, initially built up by the Vorst associations and officially sealed on October 14, 2006, through the signing of an appropriate contract.

However, the roots of the partnership reach even farther back: Already in 1978 there was contact between the two communities, consisting of reciprocal visits between the sports clubs as well as some bowling clubs. It was during one of those opportunities that the two mayors at the time, Ludo Helsen and Richard Beckers, met for the first time. The Laakdal Vorst is famous for its Gertrudis Church, a gothic church built in 1480 using a beautiful natural stone. In Laakdal itself, there is an exceptional Klompenmuseum, showing and even demonstrating all aspects around the production of this shoe. Laakdal itself has 16,000 citizens. In Vorst – similar to Tönisvorst-Vorst – there are around 6000 people.

Anyone interested in this city partnership, please contact the Chairman Peter Joppen at 02156/2474.

 

Sees Cathedrale

Sees

Long live Europe! Europe lives! 30 years’ partnership Tönisvorst - Sees

This is the impression that visitors from Tönisvorst got in the partner city of Sees in France. Europe lives in the heart of the people despite the low turnout during the European elections. During an exchange of thoughts between the Mayors Francis Bouquerel and Albert Schwarz, many commonalities as well as interesting differences in structures and problems of both cities were determined. During the meeting of the two police officers, the German colleague gained valuable insights on the work of his French colleague. Before the official ceremony in front of City Hall, ecumenical services took place in the cathedral, which was even attended by the Bishop of Sees. The speeches of both mayors as well as the ceremonial chairmen culminated in a resounding "Long live Europe!" in celebrating the 30 year partnership. After signing the certificates in front of the Sees City Hall, both national anthems were played as well as the European hymn by the Sees City Ensemble. Many citizens were sincerely moved and many a tear of joy and pride was shed. Music being an outstanding medium for communication among peoples, it was not surprising that during a concert of the Tönisvorst Accordion Orchestra, the many visitors from Tönisvorst and Sees were able to hum along with the melodies. On the last evening during a festive ball, accordion players of both cities contributed to a vivacious atmosphere which lasted until the wee hours. After returning on Sunday evening, Angela Frese, Chairman of the Committee for Sees happily stated. "The weekend was a wonderful experience. Many new friendships arose. This is a great gain for the partnership of our two cities."