Every year Bath celebrates its status as a World Heritage City and this year’s event coincided with the second Assembly of the Great Spa Towns of Europe. Bath is one of the 11 towns which share this World Heritage Site, a distinction awarded by UNESCO in July 2021 and which complements Bath’s first award in 1987. To mark the occasion an exhibition of local conservation and heritage projects was held, involving many “hands on” activities for younger and not-so-young members of the public. One of the speakers at the event was Anna Maria Boll from Bad Kissingen (one of the three German Great Spa Towns) who explained her town’s historical, architectural and even political significance. Bad Kissingen lies to the south of Brunswick, but would be well worth a visit.
In the meantime, members of BBTA and the Bath German Society will be exploring more of our heritage in a walk around Prior Park Garden; we hope to expand our ornithological and botanical vocabularies, and possibly even our waistlines.
Our March newsletter has now been published, and our next meeting will be on 23rd March, in the Guildhall. All members are welcome to attend.
This year Bath-Braunschweig Twinning Association organised a chalet at Bath’s Christmas Market for the first time. Our volunteers braved the cold and had an enjoyable time talking to visitors to the Market, many of whom had a German connection, and who were interested to hear more about Brunswick and to take away a taste of Brunswick and various booklets.
On 6th December we were joined by friends and members of BBTA and Bath German Society to sing Weihnachtslieder, and the Mayor (Cllr Rob Appleyard) kindly joined in all the singing, too. The following evening, members of the ukulele band “Uke can’t be serious”, who had visited Brunswick for the Kulturnacht in 2019, also performed in front of our chalet
The festivities continue on 15th December, when the German Society hosts the annual Christmas party at BRLSI.
Plans for our Chalet at the Bath Christmas Market are making good progress and we will be there to welcome prospective customers of Brunswick memorabilia and more general inquiries from 6th – 8th December. We can be found opposite the Abbey, and next to Brown’s Restaurant. If you can’t wait until then, some of us will explore the market on Monday 28th December, starting from “our” chalet at 11.30. Members and friends are welcome to join us.
Brunswick’s own Christmas Market will start at the same time as Bath’s and looks just as magical.
There has been some talk in the local press of Bath finding a Ukrainian twin. Meanwhile, in Brunswick the Lord Mayor, Dr Thorsten Kornblum, has proposed that Brunswick should establish a partnership with the Ukrainian town of Bila Tserk. We look forward to hearing more about such links.
Braunschweig International was a great success last weekend and you can see photos of the DEG stall here: https://www.deg-bs.de/deutsch/fotogalerie/ Our friends were offering British finger food and books, as well as information about Bath, and tell us that they attracted many German and international visitors, including the current and previous Lord Mayors. We hope we can manage something similar at Bath’s Christmas Market in December.
At a time of national mourning, it is with regret that the civic visit of Brunswick’s Lord Mayor and colleagues, which was planned for the weekend of 10th – 12th September, has had to be cancelled. The Lord Mayor has paid tribute to the late Queen in a letter to the Mayor of Bath. It is hoped that the visit can be re-scheduled for later this year.
One visit which did go ahead, however, was that of some former school pupils of Belfast and Marburg (Kirchhain) who still meet regularly to celebrate their first exchange back in 1966. We owe this contact to a member of the Cardiff-Stuttgart Association, and members of BBTA and Bath German Society had great pleasure in meeting them and showing them the famous – and some less famous – sights of Bath, giving them a guided tour in English and German.
Online meetings with the DEG continue, most recently to discuss the theme of travelling in poetry. The book chosen for the next meeting is: “The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams. Bookworms are welcome to join us by contacting the secretary of BBTA.
At the end of September Brunswick is hosting a festival “Braunschweig International” celebrating – as the name implies – our twin town’s international links. We have contributed information about Bath for potential visitors.
Our next meeting takes place on Friday, 16th September, when we hope to make plans for October.
The AGM of the BBTA will take place on Friday, 22nd July, when the committee will start planning for the next round of exchanges.
On Sunday, 17th July, members of the BBTA were pleased to welcome members of the Bristol-Hannover Council and many of their exchange partners to Bath. The guests were especially interested to visit the Herschel Museum (Herschel was born in Hanover) and later to meet Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, who was also born in Hanover. For the latter meeting, the guests were welcomed to the Abbey by Jeremy Key-Pugh, who told them something of the history of the Abbey. It was a pleasure to meet so many people for whom twinning has been a part of their lives since their schooldays.
Members of BBTA spent a very enjoyable day with members of the Cardiff-Stuttgart Association on 2nd July. They were very impressed by the Herschel Museum and by the facilities at BRLSI, and were pleased to hear about the Herschel Symposium which the latter are organising in October. For many of us it is ideal that we can now participate in such events online. Herschel was, of course, born in Hanover, and his Museum will once again be the focus of a visit by the Bristol-Hannover Council on 17th July.
BHC are currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of their twinning link with a wide range of events and civic visits. One of the more unusual activities was the sailing of a small cutter from Hanover to Bristol, bearing a large barrel of gin. The cutter was actually registered in Brunswick! As it passed through Bath, members of BBTA were invited on board for a short cruise on the canal and the chance to sample some of the Hannover gin, which we can heartily recommend. The barrel must be returned to Hanover, but the contents will be bottled and sold to raise funds for two charities: the Invictus Games and the German War Graves Commission. We wish them bon voyage for the safe completion of their journey
Readers can catch up on some of BBTA’s activities by downloading our June Newsletter from this website. More recently our member Robert Grözinger gave a wide-ranging talk (in English) for the German Society on German involvement in the Battle of Waterloo. It was especially interesting to hear of the role played by the Black Brunswickers, and the sad fate of their commander, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm.
Meanwhile, bookworms also enjoyed a discussion with our friends from the DEG in Brunswick on “The Day of the Dugong” by John Ironmonger. The next online book club meeting will be later in the summer and have poems and travelling as its theme. There is also the chance to discuss Judith Hermann’s “Daheim” in German on 14th July; once again this is organised by the German Society, and may have a follow up discussion online.
For those of us who want to escape from the digital world, we are very much looking forward to meeting friends from the Cardiff-Stuttgart Association in Bath on 2nd July when they come to visit the Herschel Museum. Members have been invited to join us for various parts of the day.
As Bath recovers from the exhilaration of its own Festival, Brunswick is currently celebrating three days of street music with the participation of 42 artists from 20 different countries. This is accompanied by a wide range of street food – and entry to all events is free!
At the end of June Brunswick will also be celebrating the “Festival Theaterformen” once again with a variety of performances and participants from 12 countries.
In past years, musical groups from Bath have travelled to Brunswick for the “Kulturnacht”, and it would be great to see some of their German counterparts joining us for the Bath Festival in the future.
Meanwhile in Bath, BBTA will hold its next committee meeting on Friday, 10th June, at 7.15. We are still meeting on Zoom, and anyone interest in attending can contact our secretary at email@example.com and find out more about our plans to meet up with other twinning organisations in July.