Wrexham County Borough – Märkischer Kreis, Germany – Racibórz, Poland
Wrexham County Borough is twinned with two European districts – Märkischer Kreis in Germany and Racibórz in Poland.
Background to the Twinning
The first Twinning was established on 17th March 1970 between the former Kreis Iserlohn and Wrexham Rural District. Its early success ensured that, after local government reorganisation in both countries in the mid-seventies, the Twinning was taken over by the new Councils of Märkischer Kreis and Wrexham Maelor Borough Council and, in 1996, by Wrexham County Borough Council.
Well over 25,000 visits have taken place over the years with over 40 different groups being involved. The Twinning has been awarded the European Flag of Honour and the European Plaque of honour for its contribution to European understanding. Apart from official visits and exchanges between clubs there have been countless private visits and friendships and even four weddings.
The Twinning had mainly been one of cultural and sporting exchanges, with exchanges of schoolchildren, scout groups, drama groups, sports clubs, (tennis, golf, swimming, football, karate, judo), youth clubs, choirs, bands, musical groups, professional contacts (police, hospital staff, college lecturers, architects, engineers, driving schools, fire service, farmers), voluntary organisations (Red Cross), plus many private exchanges. Young people have been able to visit their Twin districts on work experience placements and others have taken part in joint workshops and performances in music, dance and visual arts including exciting joint projects such as the Welsh-German Youth Orchestra.
In recent years, however, the Twinning has seen several new initiatives such as the exchange of exhibitions, the establishment of business and economic links, and participation in joint European projects involving Wrexham, Raciborz and Märkischer Kreis.
All these activities have fostered friendship and a real understanding between people from different parts of Europe, who discover they have a great deal in common. It has been customary to hold celebratory events marking the anniversary of the Wrexham / Märkischer Kreis Twinning every five years, the most recent being the 35th anniversary celebrations in 2005
In 2001 Märkischer Kreis entered a Twinning arrangement with Racibórz (Ratibor), a county in Poland, which was formerly part of Silesia, Germany. In September 2002, a delegation from Racibórz visited Wrexham and began initial discussions about possible co-operation which led, eventually, to the signing of Articles of Twinning between Wrexham and Racibórz in March 2004.
Underpinning the aims and objectives of the new Twinning was the recognition of two main points, namely:
- The significant links between County Borough residents and Poland
- Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004