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Greeting President DEF

Vorsitzender Rainer Maschke

When you speak about friendship between Germany and England, young people may, from their point of view, ask "what is so special about that then?"

Certainly, Europe grows more and more together, modern transport cuts distances, the mass media offers you worldwide news in a matter' of minutes, 3 decades ago English was introduced into German schools as the first foreign language, and the mutual exchanges between the different areas of life is part of everyday living.

Thinking back 40 years however, a quite different picture emerges. The first talks with the objective of finding a twin town for OerErkenschwick were marked with the scars which the former opponents in war had inflicted upon each other.The political decision makers at that time still remembered the 2nd World War very well. But the desire for normality and friendly relations finally won the upperhand. In 1972 the official Twin Town Charter between Longbenton (today a part of North Tyneside) and Oer-Erkenschwick were ceremoniously signed.

What the politicians had initiated, the citizens of Oer-Erkenschwick picked up and in 1979 founded the Deutsch-Englischer Freundeskreis. The aim at that time, as it is today, was and is to bring people of different ages and different interests in both towns nearer together through the idea of town twinning. During the last 25 years many citizens of Oer-Erkenschwick have made themselves available for the challenge and established through their voluntary involvement, rudiments such as international under-standing and friendship in the hearts of many people.For that, thank you very much.

The successes of the past are also however, at the same time, obligations for the future. And the Committee of the DEF stands by these obligations and hopes that all interested citizens can experience a little of the live friendship between North Tyneside and OerErkenschwick at our anniversary celebration in June 2004.

For the Committee of the DEF
Rainer Maschke


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