70 Years of Cheltenham and Göttingen


To mark the 70th anniversary of the twinning link between Cheltenham and Göttingen, a joint project between the Local History Societies of both towns has been undertaken and a presentation of photos has been put together that clearly shows the changes that have happened in the townscape of Cheltenham and Göttingen during the past 70 years of the partnership.

Below are the links to the two presentations which can also be viewed on the websites of Göttingen Local History Society and Cheltenham Local History Society.

The partnership between the cities of Cheltenham and Göttingen has existed since 1951. This year, numerous face-to-face events were planned to mark the anniversary. As in previous years, there would have been many opportunities for the citizens of both cities to make face to face contact and friendships or to continue to develop existing connections. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, these encounters have not been feasible. Both Cheltenham and Göttingen greatly regret this, but this has lead to various projects such as this one being done in an online format.

Cheltenham for Europe Online Talk – 22 September – Friedland Welcomes Refugees

Following on from the joint Europe Day Celebrations with our twin towns of Annecy and Gottingen, C4E is delighted to present a talk about the Refugee Transit Camp in Friedland, 12 miles from Gottingen. The talk will be given by Klaus Magnus of the Museum of Friedland who will provide an overview of the creation of the transit camp, the refugees who have been processed here, its importance to  Germany’s humanitarian programme and the impact over the years on the local population. This is a fascinating insight into how refugees are welcomed into a foreign country.  

Founded in 1945, Friedland Transit Camp has processed over 4 million people arriving in the Federal Republic of Germany. The transit camp near Gottingen has been a reception centre for refugees and expellees after the Second World War, for released prisoners (PoWs) and displaced persons (DPs), for ethnic German immigrants and for people seeking refuge from many parts of the world. Today it is the initial reception centre for ethnic German and Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union as well as asylum seekers and refugees under resettlement and humanitarian intake programmes.

We look forward to welcoming you to hear this incredible story.

You can book here: 

Friedland Welcomes Refugees Tickets, Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite

Sochi Film Festival UK

On Friday 10 September at Chapel Arts Gallery in Cheltenham, the Sochi International Film Festival and Cheltenham Twinning Association launched their season of Russian film, art and culture which will culminate in the Sochi Film Festival UK awards being held in Cheltenham in February 2022.

The event was very successful with a good audience including Russian language students from Balcarras school who met with Luba Balagova, the Founder and President of the Sochi Film Festival. The picture shows the students with Luba and one of the awards.

Further details can be seen from the Press Release.

We are now actively seeking sponsorship or donations to make the gala awards event in February as impactful and interesting as we can. Please see the sponsorship flyer and contact the Twinning Officer if you would like to make a donation or get further information.

Picnic in the Park

To mark 70 years of twinning between Cheltenham and Goettingen, a twinning gathering was held in Montpellier Gardens on 3 August to celebrate the occasion.

About 40 people who have been to Goettingen and taken part in exchanges over the years enjoyed a picnic with German food and drink and videoed messages of greetings to friends in our German twin town.

Goettingen will be having their own picnic in the park later in August to celebrate 70 years, as we can’t all meet face to face this year.

The Big Party Visit from Goettingen to Cheltenham scheduled for this year, will hopefully take place in 2022.

Did you know?

  • The name Kisumu refers to both the city and the district in which it is located.
  • Its name is from the Luo word ‘kisuma’, itself a derivative of ‘sumo’ which means barter trade.
  • It is situated on the banks of Lake Victoria, known locally as Nam Sango or Nam Lolwe.
  • While there are many different food types to be found in Kisumu, it is most commonly associated with fish, which are in plentiful supply from Lake Victoria.
  • The languages spoken in Kisumu include Luo English and Kiswahili with a sizeable number of people speaking Ekegusii, Hindi, Kikuyu and the various Luhya dialects. As is the case all over Kenya, most Kisumu residents speak at least two languages.
  • An inaugural maiden flight from Kisumu to England took place in 1931.

Göttingen has best air quality in Germany

It’s worth taking a deep breath in Göttingen.

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), Göttingen has the cleanest air quality of any large city in Germany, and is ranked 29 out of 323 European towns based on recent research into air particulates in European urban areas. Göttingen’s Mayor, Rolf Georg Koehler (SPD) stated: ‘Göttingen is on the right path’ and attributes the ranking to climate control measures, the city’s location with parks and forests, as well as the city wall.

One of Göttingen’s beautiful parks
Article from local newspaper

Twinning Gathering – 2 August 2021

Designed by Monica Houston

To celebrate 70 years of twinning with Göttingen a get together will take place in Montpellier Gardens on Monday 2 August from 5-7pm to mark the occasion here in Cheltenham, as we are unable to meet face to face with our Göttingen friends. Videos and photos will be taken and exchanged with Göttingen.  

Please bring along a rug, a chair, something German and your own refreshments.  The wet weather alternative date will be Tuesday 3 August same time, same place.

As restrictions will be lifted by then, I hope many will join us. For further information email the Twinning Officer.

Providing Clean Water in Kisumu

Cheltenham Twinning Association is raising much needed funds for a groundwater well at a school in our friendship town Kisumu, Kenya provided by the WellBoring charity (https://www.wellboring.org/). Each well costs £5,000 (or £4,000 plus gift aid), and provides safe water to pupils, teachers, and the wider community for many years.

Cheltenham has benefitted from access to water with its origins as a spa town, but many children and their families in rural Kisumu still do not have safe clean water. With your help, we can change this and empower lives.

Cheltenham Rotary Club has already pledged to support our appeal in their centenary year.  If you too would like to be involved, donations can be made to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cheltenham-twinning-association

Ways of getting involved:

Do you have contact at schools, businesses or organisations?

  • Cheltenham businesses and organisations?
    Consider organising a fundraising activity with a social responsibility focus to support the sustainable solutions provided by WellBoring.
  • Primary schools
    Why not combine teaching the water cycle at KS2, with learning about the benefits that access to safe water brings to schools and the wider communities in Kenya?  Perhaps consider a school funding raising event to raise awareness of the importance of access to clean water.
  • Secondary schools
    Consider a fundraising activity linked to raising awareness about the environmental issues faced by those living in areas, where access to clean water is limited. 
  • Sixth-formers
    Consider carrying out an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on the sustainable benefits access to safe water can bring to communities?

If any schools have an interest in linking up with a school in Kisumu, we’d be happy to try and establish a link.

We see this as a long-term project and our level of involvement depends on the level of support we receive. This could lead to many more opportunities with the city of Kisumu (the largest in city in West Kenya) going forward.

Or consider donating as an individual.

Cheltenham Twinning Association promotes friendships and understanding between the people of Cheltenham and the people of its twin and friendship towns. Kisumu, which is located on the northern shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, has been a friendship town of Cheltenham since 1985.

WellBoring is an established charity based in Chippenham, which drills and installs groundwater wells to provide safe water mainly in rural primary schools and their communities in East Africa. Access to safe water reduces mortality and sickness, improves school attendance, and empowers whole communities. In the past ten years, the charity has completed more than 100 wells providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the problem of lack of access to safe water.

For further details, please contact the Twinning and Events Officer Annette.Wight@cheltenham.gov.uk

Virtual Bridge Tournament between Cheltenham and Göttingen

With 2021 marking 70 years of twinning between Cheltenham and its German twin town Göttingen and due to reciprocal visits and face-to-face events scheduled for this anniversary year being cancelled, some virtual events are happening to honour and celebrate this long standing friendship between the two towns.

One such event was an online bridge tournament between Cheltenham Bridge Club and the two combined bridge clubs in Göttingen Germany, who have enjoyed a special relationship for over 10 years. A virtual bridge competition took place over the weekend 26 and 27 June with a pairs’ game on the Saturday and a teams’ game on the Sunday.  This was enabled, without charge, via the platform created by “RealBridge”.  Following the tournament on the Saturday evening, a zoom meeting was held so friends and family who were not involved in the bridge could say hello.


Cheltenham beat Göttingen in the Pairs on Saturday by such a narrow margin that it was declared a draw. In the Teams on Sunday, Cheltenham took an early lead and finished victorious.  Given the close result in the Pairs, it was befitting that the top scoring team was from Göttingen. All in all a close run event which was very much enjoyed by all. The full results can be seen on Cheltenham Bridge Club’s website.

The first meeting between the two clubs took place in 2010 and tournaments have taken place alternately every two years until 2016, with this special anniversary year being the ideal time for the clubs to revive their link. On two occasions, Göttingen bridge players and their families welcomed Cheltenham bridge players into their homes and treated them to wonderful days out in and around the beautiful university town of Göttingen, as well as enjoying bridge competitions played in the spirit of friendship.  Members of Cheltenham Bridge Club similarly offered reciprocal hospitality to their German friends on two other occasions; staying in their homes and showing them the many delights of Cheltenham and the Cotswolds.

This relationship has been very important to Cheltenham Bridge Club and the links and friendships have lasted many years. The clubs are delighted to be part of the 70th anniversary celebrations.