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Twinning Weekend 2024

Over the weekend of the 14th to 17th of June, the Town Mayor, Cllr Ian Hopkins, joined 24 other Devizes citizens for this year’s twinning weekend which was held in Waiblingen in Germany.

Twinning in Devizes has a long tradition, with our Wabilingen link stretching back to 1967 and the one with Mayenne going back even further to 1964. Twinning was a post war European initiative, with the aim of bringing communities and counties together in a way that it was hoped would help strengthen relationships and build lasting friendships after such a destructive time in world history. However, the twinning initiative did more than that, as at that time opportunities to travel outside Great Britain were limited and expensive, therefore twinning provided opportunities to share homes and cultures, and it was very quickly established that it did not matter which twin town you came from, many views of what people wanted for the future, were the same.

Little has changed and 60 years later, whether the annual twinning weekend is held in Devizes, Waiblingen or Mayenne, it is always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones and understand the current issues facing the towns.

On Saturday morning, the official delegation, which included the three town Mayors, had an opportunity visit a local event which had bought community groups together to promote the work they do. There were conversations with many of the groups about their projects and what was clear was that ambitions and hopes of these groups aligned to groups we have here in Devizes.

On Saturday evening, musicians from Waiblingen, Mayenne and Devizes formed a unified orchestra to play a selection of contemporary music to nearly 400 people. At the same event Devizes Town Mayor gave an impassioned speech about the need to maintain our European ties, following the decision to leave the EU. He explained that events such a twinning weekends can only strengthen that tie and in time he hoped the UK will once again have a grown-up relationship with the rest of Europe, where it can have an active role with our European neighbours and not be a country on the western edge with little influence.

Twinning is also about re emerging the past and therefore on the Sunday morning, the three Mayors, along with the Mayor from Jesi in Italy, laid wreaths to all those soldiers who were called to arms by their states to fight.

The weekend finished with a perfect demonstration of how twin towns can work together on a project, with an exhibition created by young people showing themselves as they truly feel they are. The project also provided a platform to anonymously set out their hopes, desires and fears. It was an extremely moving project and one that would be great to replicate here in Devizes.

In addition to the official programme, there were lots of other discussions between the Mayors around the problem of town centre pigeon’s, how they are working with their communities to improve biodiversity, the impact of current economics and the pressure this is putting on our high street and the importance of cultural events within our communities.

Next year it will be Mayennes turn to host the twinning weekend which will be in September and if you would like to know how you can get involved, email:

Find out more about Twinning