Külsheim / Pécsvarad. The cities of Pécsvárad in Hungary and Külsheim in Germany recall 30 years of cooperation. The official signing of the documents took place on May 21, 1992 in Brunnenstadt, and the company was countersigned on October 17, 1992 in Pécsvárad. The Hungarian commune is situated in the eastern part of the Mecsek Mountains in the south of Hungary in the Baranya district, 20 km from the city of Pécs.
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It all started in July 1989.
Looking back on 30 years of partnership: At the end of July 1989, those in charge in Pécsvár asked Georg Denzer, then County Governor of Main-Tauber, to help them find a suitable town for the partnership. Denzer recommends Külsheim.
At that time, the mayor of Külsheim was Günther Kuhn. In an interview with the FN, he reports that Georg Denzer was already in Pécsvárad then and described the country and its people with brilliant colors. As a result, in April 1990, the first official delegation from Külsheim visited Pécsvárad. The reception of Mayor Sándor Kakas was as friendly as the local Danube Swabians. “I was delighted,” says Kuhn. In July 1990, the first delegation from Pécsvárad arrived in Külsheim.
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To celebrate the 300th anniversary of German settlement in Hungary, a large group of Külsheimer traveled to Pécsvárad in August 1990 and were hosted by the Deutschklub. This association has since played a huge role in deepening the relationship between the inhabitants of both cities.
At that time, schools in both municipalities also made contact, and in September 1990 students and teachers from Külsheim came to Pécsvárad. Since March 1991, old footballers have established sports relationships with each other. On July 1, 1991, the city council of Külsheim decided to enter into a partnership with the larger municipality of Pécsvárad. In October, the mayor of Kakas and the city council of Pécsvárad visit the city of fountains.
Günther Kuhn expresses what many Külsheimers were probably thinking at the time: looking east, looking at southern Hungary, looking at how people live there is “enriching”. Despite the enormous distance of 770 kilometers as the crow flies, beautiful friendships were made right from the start, be it on an official or personal level.
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A great honor
On May 21, 1992, the mayors of Külsheim, Sándor Kakas and Günther Kuhn signed a town twinning agreement. The people of Pécsvárad consider it a great honor that the alliance was sealed during the festival week “700 years of municipal rights in Külsheim”. On October 17, 1992, the contract was countersigned in Pecsvárad. At the same time, both leaders sign an agreement on cooperation between schools.
The aim of twinning towns is to get to know each other and their culture. Moreover, relations between institutions, clubs and families should develop beyond the official level.
Official partner meetings and outings take place alternately in Pécsvárad and Külsheim every second or third year since 1992. The “ten years of partnership signature” was celebrated in Külsheim, on the 20th anniversary of the union in Pécsvárad. City partners also visit each other on special occasions. For example, the Külsheimer were present at the 1000th anniversary of Hungary in 2000, at the millennium founding documents of the former Benedictine monastery in Pécsvárad in 2015 and at the 50th Girls’ Fair in 2016. Pécsváraders were involved in “Burgśmieweyl zu Cullesheym”, and in 2017 on a regional day in the city of fountains. The mayor of Külsheim, Thomas Schreglmann, emphasizes that mutual visits and the exchange of opinions and experiences are permanently included in the annual calendar of both cities. This partnership is very valuable to the citizens. You can meet people who grew up with completely different customs and habits, you can exchange experiences, learn about foreign ways of thinking and life habits. The discussion about God and the world takes every person further, broadens the horizons, and breaks down prejudices.
Schreglmann emphasizes that cosmopolitanism is more important today than ever. Each generation should be able to make new contacts and experience directly in the host families what everyday life is like in another country and what questions people raise there. Each generation needs experience to get used to different ways of thinking and living, to develop tolerance. He is grateful that the schools are doing the exchange.
Mihály Baumann and Bernadett Gász from the German national government in Pécsvárad emphasize that nowadays it is especially important to know the similarities between different nations, countries and cultures and to recognize their differences as enriching diversity.
They consider it an important task to find new friends in the partnership, engage young people and young families and possibly focus on new topics so that the partnership lasts the next 30 years.
The pandemic presented the partnership with new challenges. Hopefully the connection continues to grow.
Pécsvárad is to be celebrating a round “birthday of the partnership” in autumn. The official invitation for friends from Külsheim has already been sent, the mayor is looking forward to what is to come.