Quai bélu in Amiens

Town Twinning

Picture: Free Art Licence Wikimedia Commons / Emmanuel LEGRAND

Amiens, France

In 1952, during a conversation between Ewald Görshop, the Lord Mayor of the City of Dortmund at the time and a business consultant from Amiens, the idea arose to build a bond between both cities.

Emblem of Amiens

Emblem of Amiens
Picture: Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 2.0 Germany Wikimedia Commons / Odejea

Stefan Albring, the head of the Foreign Institute (Auslandsinstitut) in Dortmund had a similar idea.

With the assistance of Arlette Grandmaitre (a French foreign language assistant at the Foreign Institute) and Rene Alvoine, the Mayor of Amiens, the first ties were formed in 1957.

"We don't want to experience anything like that again…" - everyone was clear about that. Very hesitantly and very slowly the idea of making more contact started to gain acceptance. The city administration, the Chamber of Commerce, the schools, the Lions Club, the trade unions and even those who had previously been deported to labour camps wished for further encounters.

Cathedral of Amiens

Cathedral of Amiens
Picture: Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 2.0 Germany flickr / cavorite

At the end of 1958 / beginning 1959, the first exhibition, known as "Le Picardie" took place in Dortmund. Dortmund also presented exhibitions and speeches in Amiens in early 1959. The Council of the City of Dortmund consented to a twinning relationship with Amiens on February 2, 1959.

Canal in Quartier Saint Leu in Amiens

"Quartier Saint Leu" in Amiens
Picture: Free Art Licence Wikimedia Commons

Then Amiens sent a delegation of its citizenry to participate in the International Culture Days, a joint effort between Dortmund and France, which took place in Dortmund between May 16 and June 3, 1959. The citizens of Dortmund were able to welcome Maurice Vast and Rene Alavoine, the Lord Mayor and Mayor of the City of Amiens, respectively. During this period, talks were initiated with the Lord Mayor of Dortmund Dietrich Keuning.

The City of Dortmund's Council signed the final declaration, in which it recognised Amiens as its partner city on November 20, 1959. During a council meeting on April 2, 1960, in the Goldsaal der Westfalen (Golden Hall of Westphalia), Lord Mayors Dietrich Keuning and Maurice Vast ceremonially proclaimed the twinning relationship between Amiens and Dortmund.

In the official document, it was ceremonially declared that the twinning arrangement would further strengthen the relationship between the two cities and would lead to the fruitful exchange of ideas across borders in the intellectual, cultural and economic walks of life. Thus the personal ties between the citizens of both cities were to be strengthened further. Both cities confirm their firm intention to cultivate the spirit of solidarity among their citizens and thus to make a vital contribution to international understanding and peace, and European friendship.

On May 14, 1960, the twinning arrangement was ceremonially confirmed by the Council of the City of Amiens in the hall of the Academy of Fine Arts in Amiens. The Lord Mayor Maurice Vast presented a document to Lord Mayor Dietrich Keuning, in which the citizens of Amiens, represented by the Council in whom they placed their trust, expressed their firm intention to keep the spirit of understanding, reconciliation and cooperation alive between all people. The Council of the City of Amiens expressed their strong desire to cooperate with the citizens of Dortmund, so that the citizens of both cities could look forward to a bright future and to the unification of Europe.