Forging links between Falkirk and Germany for 40 years

The Odenwald band play in Bo'ness
The Odenwald band play in Bo'ness

Falkirk’s Odenwald Association is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year – and its looking for your help to make it a memorable one.

The voluntary organisation, which promotes the twinning of the Falkirk area with Odenwald in south-west Germany, is hoping to produce a special booklet to mark the occasion and wants folk in the Falkirk area who have been involved with the association over the years to send them their pictures and share stories.

The people of the Odenwald region love everything about Scottish culture and the feeling is definitely mutual

As well as the birthday booklet, there will be a ceilidh and cabaret night as well as visits to Odenawald towns such as Michelstadt and Erbach during the summer.

Chairman Andy Christie has been involved with the association since the 1970s and is passionate about the work they do.

He said: “The association has been a fantastic way to learn about a different culture and make new friends.

“There has been lots of schools and groups in the Falkirk area who have been involved with the Odenwald Association and I hope they can help us create a great booklet for the 40th anniversary this year.

“If anyone has any pictures or anything they would like to see in the booklet then we would love to hear from them.

“The association has a great history and celebrates the bond and friendship between our area and Odenwald in Germany.”

The Odenwald Association was formed in 1975 to promote twinning links between Central Region and the Odenwald. The first youth exchange was hosted in Central Region in 1977 with a return visit to the Odenwald the following year.

In 1978, the Schottland Vereinigung (the sister organisation of the Odenwald Association) was formed in the Odenwald for the purpose of promoting twinning links from a German perspective.

At this time the associations started a programme of exchange visits, with trips to Scotland and the Odenwald occurring in alternate years.

“This year we are going to the Odenwald for their ‘Scottish Night’ in June and a delegation will also be heading over in September to celebrate our anniversary,” said Andy.

“The association with the Odenwald is all about fun, friendship and culture.

“We give talks to schools and groups about the history of the areas and the history of the association and have forged great relationships with our German ‘twins’.”

With their membership advancing in years, the association would like to encourage younger members of the community to get involved.

It is a great opportunity to travel and meet new people and share common interests such as sport, music and arts and crafts.

Andy said: “We have helped lots of local young people forge links to the Odenwald – local schools and sports clubs as well as musical groups and pipe bands.

“The people of the Odenwald region love everything about Scottish culture and the feeling is definitely mutual.

“The area is very rural with incredible scenery and architecture and also has a fabulous crafts and pottery industry.

“There is even a Roman connection between the areas - we have the Antonine Wall here while they have the Roman Limes frontier.”

The association also hopes to set up a display stall in the Howgate Centre to show off all of the images people send in from their links with Odenwald through the years.

So help the Odenwald Association celebrate their anniversary in style by sending them your images and memories.

Were you part of a youth exchange group, musical group or sports group?

Were you hosted by a German family or did your family host a young person from the Odenwald?

Has your group or organisation been involved in twinning activities with the area?

If you can help then please contact the 
Odenwald Association at falktwinfo@yahoo.co.uk with any pictures and memories you have or visit the Odenwald section of the twinning website at www.falkirktwinning.org to find out more.