Visits to Itzehoe and

Saint Genis Laval

Reports of the most recent twinning visits

Dear Friends,

This is a short update about Twinning in Cirencester.  We hope that you are interested to hear about progress made on our project to reinvigorate Cirencester’s twinning links.

We were represented by Deputy Mayor Sabrina Dixon, who was elected Mayor two days after she returned to Cirencester, and by Richard Gunner on behalf of the CTA.   Sabrina had the honour of speaking to the people of SGL!

The events revolved around the celebration of Armistice Day with a visit to the Memorial, marking the end of World War II, which is the reason for bringing people together in an atmosphere of peace and friendship.    Sabrina was happy to renew the Pact d’Amitié between our towns.

The 2022 Twinning Visit to Saint Genis Laval

We’ve waited years to be able to restart the twinning visits, and SGL kicked off the series in fine style.   There were delegations from all their twinning and Pact d’Amitié towns: Tortosendo in Portugal, Săliște in Romania, Pontassieve in Italy, and of course from Cirencester.

The weekend was also sprinkled liberally with visits to key local spots – a guided tour of the town, a visit to the Basilica, a tour on foot around Old Lyon, a concert by students and a visit to the local silk factory.   A great deal was packed into a short time!

Throughout we were fed in excellent style with lunches in sunny gardens and suppers in the town hall, a traditional pork restaurant in Lyon and in a fascinating experimental meeting place and café.

In the meanwhile there was time set aside for a chance to discuss each town’s features, societies, musical groups and sports teams, with a view to encouraging links and exchanges between interest groups.   Let’s see what we can organise!

Itzehoe banner, Cirencester Twinning Association site

Celebrating 40 Years of Twinning with Itzehoe!

After a long wait caused by covid restrictions we were finally able to travel to our twin town of Itzehoe in N Germany. They had organised a massive celebration with all their twin towns so we came together as a group of English, French, Polish and German speakers. Language barriers were quickly overcome by a mix of those who could speak 2 or more languages and those who could communicate through laughter, friendliness and hand and arm gestures!

Itzehoe, chiefly under the guidance of the indefatigable Renate Wilms -Marzisch, supported by a large number of twinning group members and the town council, treated us to a non-stop wealth of activities, entertainments and good things to eat!

We were all hosted by lovely local people - our Mayor Sabrina Dixon and our Town Council CEO Andrew Tubb stayed with Ralf Hoppe and Markus Mueller of the Itzehoe Town Council.

We arrived on Sunday July 26th and on that first evening we enjoyed music from a pipe and drum band followed by a sumptuous buffet. On Monday we saw more of Itzehoe and its town hall and then in the evening we were royally entertained in the theatre with speeches and gift exchanges between the mayors or their representatives, another delicious buffet and then a fabulous retelling of the birth of the EU- lots of music and graphics so that everyone could enjoy the spectacle. Our week continued with a visit to an open air museum, a trip to the regional parliament in Kiel, workshops with young people interested in twinning and on the last day a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg – you need to visit that to see how you can spend 3 hours plus looking at the world in miniature!

The last evening was spent in ’Unter den Linden’ in Oelixdorf where their band played many numbers  - we look forward to seeing them again here in Cirencester in the not too distant future. This was followed by another magnificent meal, performances by a dance school and a band.

We have come home with a renewed sense of what twinning means and how we must build on that  so that it not only appeals to a small number of Europhiles but also to larger groups of people, young and not so young , who share interests in sport , photography, history -any number of possibilities! Please contact us if you belong to a group who might enjoy contact with our friends in Germany or France.   Language isn’t a barrier -a shared interest is an open door!

Invitations from Renate on behalf of our Friends in Itzehoe

Dear Margaret, dear Anna, dear Members of the Cirencester Twinning Association,

We hope that you spent a good and peaceful time at Christmas and that all of you had a good start into the new year 2019.

For 2019 we wish you and your families all the best, good health, good luck and a lot of success with everything you do.


We hope that twinningwise it will be a year full of good contact and of several meetings between people from our towns.


We thank you very, very much for your invitation to Cirencester. I got it when all the committee was on holiday and I didn't want to decide anything on my own. Yesterday we had our first meeting of 2019 and one of the important points of our agenda was your invitation to Cirencester.


Yes, we would very much like to come. The date in May seems to be a bit difficult for us because in Itzehoe we have Stoerlauf (a big running competition for all the citizens of our town) on May 11th, "Weinfest" on May 18th and our traditional get-together on Friday 17th. The following weekend is "Kindertag" where also quite a few of us are involved with the preparations.


So we decided that the date July 13 /  July 14 might be better for our members, although these dates are in the middle of the summer holidays which start on June 28th.

But we think that perhaps some people have not yet made any plans for the summer and would be very much attracted by the idea of flying to England. You suggested a visit from Thursday to Tuesday, that would mean from July 11th to 16th. Would that be okay with you?

At the moment we have no idea how many people will participate. I wrote a letter to all our members last night and am now waiting for answers. Please let me know which dates suit you best and then I will ask our members for a definite final decison. If you can't find enough host families we are quite willing to stay in a youth hostel or a hotel which is not too expensive. When you have let me know the final dates I will make inquiries concerning the flight Hamburg London. Could you then help us to find a minibus or a coach that we can hire for the transfer? We will of course pay the transport.

Yesterday when we discussed the possibilities we were getting quite enthusiastic about spending some summer days in your beautiful area, especially after we had looked at your calendar together. Thank you very much for it, it is really beautiful and is now hanging in our living room.


I would also like to profit from this letter and invite all of you to the following twinning meetings in Itzehoe:

Thursday May 16th  to Tuesday May 21st 2019 "Weinfest weekend", Friday dinner with all the members, Saturday Weinfest, Sunday and Monday trips through Schleswig-Holstein (we hope the sun will be shining!)

Thursday November 28th to Tuesday December 3rd 2019 advent weekend, visit of the Christmas markets at Hamburg, Barmstedt, Kiel, etc.

We would be very happy indeed if many people from Cirencester could come. Please make the dates known in your town.

Tomorrow Uwe and I will accompany a group of students from my school to La Couronne where they will do work experience until Jan. 28th. They will stay in host families and work in French firms.

I hope that this e-mail reaches you in time before your meeting.

Kind regards



It's easy to become part of any of these trips - just get in touch with us and we'll make you very welcome!  All the details are on the Contact page.


News from the latest trip to Itzehoe for their famous Weinfest 2017 and Fraunhofer Institute

A select group of members of the Cirencester Twinning Association and the Cirencester Science and Technology Society went on a joint trip to Itzehoe 26th - 30th May 2017.   Our Itzehoe friends had organised a wonderful and varied programme of trips and events, as you can see below.   A special opportunity arranged to visit the Itzehoe branch of the Fraunhofer Institute, the German national research organisation.

That afternoon- it was the Weinfest, and everyone was at one huge party!

There was music in every corner, food of all flavours and wine, wine, wine!

This is the Partnerschaftsverein (Twinning Association) mobile stand selling delightful German wines.

After a special welcome meal featuring the newly-arrived asparagus, the next morning we went to see the enormous Kiel Canal, and watched a container ship pass though the lock.

...and some very wind-blown green statues!

Some people even dared to take off their shoes :-)

The next morning, there was not a minute to waste (as soon as everyone had recovered!). 

We were treated to a train trip to Sylt, a famous holiday resort of sand and beaches...

On Monday we were invited to the Fraunhofer Institute by its Director.

He explained the research work done there and then showed us the facilities for development of novel integrated circuits.

A most impressive establishment!

This was followed by a visit to the IZET Innovationszentrum, which helps people with new ideas set up businsses.

We also had a moment or two to wander the town, but we haven't got space to include the dozens of photos of beautiful buildings in the glorious sunshine!

Here's a parnorama of the peaceful Cirencester Park - not as big as our one(!), but a wonderful haven of tranquility with play equipment, barbecue facilities and shady open spaces

All in all, a fabulous packed weekend!  As always, we were well looked after by our generous friends in Itzehoe, and we send them our heartfelt thanks - and look foreward to seeing them again soon!

News from the latest Advent Markets trip to Itzehoe, 2016. 

A group of Cirencester representatives went to Itzehoe to see the Advent Markts and meet friends.

Stuart and Sue Dyer write to update CTA on a fantastic weekend including a trip to Eckernforde on the Baltic Coast (picture enclosed), a visit to Heligen-Stedten to Christmas Market and coffee with Heinz-Kohnke Burgerforsteir [chairman of the council]. Cirencester Ramblers also report a breakfast meeting with the Itzehoe Rambler’s secretary.

There were approximately 65 people in Itzehoe for the Twinning weekend.  The Itzehoe Twinning Association make an annual invitation to the town of Cirencester to visit over Advent and Weinfest in May.  Please email us if you would like any details.

You can watch a video of some of the festivities by clicking here.

Eckernforde Statue
Twinning Association Meeting

Powell’s Primary School German lesson

A visit in a primary school in Cirencester

Some student´s of us visited a primary school in Cirencester. We two(Fridtjof and Leon) visited ten years old student´s which asked us many questions about our school, Germany and us.

They asked where we live, our hobbys and what we like about Germany. They asked us about our school too. We answered questions how many lessons we have, which we like and which we doesn´t like. We also answered what we like very much and we doesn´t like so much about our school.

They asked something about German food and the German landscape.

They want to know if we like football or other sport activities.

The majority tried to speak some German words like „Danke“, „bitteschön“ or „Guten morgen“

what means „Thanks“ , „you are welcome“ and „ good morning“.

One of the girls is a half German and went every year to Germany and speak a littlebit German and that very well.

After we have answered all questions, we ate something to lunch and visited the high school.

In throughout it was a nice day in the primary school and we recommend the visit to other classes, which go in the next years on the class trip.

By:  Leon and Fridtjof

Twinning Visit to Deer Park Schol Cirencester
Twinning Visit to Powells School, Cirencester

German High School visit to Cirencester

On 12th July we had a great day welcoming 52 High School students and their teachers from Itzehoe.  All of the students were hosted for half a day at Deer Park School, partnered up with a Deer Park pupil and attending their lessons and activities.  Cirencester Twinning Association was thrilled to be able to find further opportunities within the town to introduce the students to Cirencester and a little more of British culture.

Eighteen students visited Powell’s Primary School and had the opportunity to experience Assembly – not a feature of the German school day – as well as leading sessions within individual classrooms.  The children enjoyed hearing about Germany, and in turn their partner students got a greater insight into life in English schools, and a chance to practise their English on a kind audience!

The rest of the group undertook a town trail and quiz and had lots of fun asking people they met in the street to help them with the quiz questions.  Cadbury’s chocolate for the winning team was clearly a good incentive!   

The CTA was thrilled to be able to offer hospitality to the group, and are looking forward to repeating and hopefully extending our hospitality to the group due to visit in 2017.  Meanwhile, there are plans for a link between Powell’s and a primary school in Itzehoe – watch this space!

In the words of the students: “I am FUMPF!!” – Lily, age 5

Ciren Twinning Association Flyer
Advent Lights on Ciren Twinning visit 2015
Cirencester Twinning Association members in Itzehoe

Visit of Cirencester Twinning Association to the Itzehoe Weinfest May 2016

Following the success of our visit to Itzehoe last November to see the Christmas markets, a small group accepted Itzehoe’s invitation to participate in their Weinfest at the end of May.

As before we stayed with local host families and were warmly welcomed.  We were wined, dined and entertained in cafes, restaurants and in their own homes most royally over the long weekend.

Since Itzehoe, unlike much of Germany, is not a wine growing area I was surprised that they should hold an annual Weinfest but I was told that they had just thought it would be rather fun and so it has proved now for some years.

The Weinfest turned out to be rather like a summer version of the Christmas markets but without the Glühwein, the Christmas decorations and presents.  There was a lot of music, choirs, brass bands, jazz, folk and pop music and lots to eat and drink.  Not only was there wine on offer but also beer, cocktails, spirits and, of course, soft drinks.

It seemed that the whole of Itzehoe, young and old, had turned out to enjoy themselves and so also had most of the neighbouring towns.

The festivities started with a hearty rendition of sea shanties by the local Shanty Choir.  Itzehoe is, of course, quite close to the North Sea.  The opening ceremony was performed by the Bürgermeister by drinking and sharing a toast from the most enormous wineglass.  As the evening wore on, the crowds grew thicker and the music seemed to get louder but there was a general atmosphere of good-humoured, friendly enjoyment.

As well as our group from Ciren there were also visitors from twinning partners from France and from Malchin in the former East Germany so one could hear a variety of languages being spoken.

The weather was good all weekend.  The only time it rained in Itzehoe we were out exploring Schleswig Holstein and the North Sea coast.  We had an open top bus tour of Hamburg, with commentaries in both English and German.  We saw ships on the Kiel Canal, huge flood barriers to prevent the low-lying coast lands from being flooded, pretty little towns and villages and lovely countryside.  We had an interesting tour of the Passat, one of the last of the old merchant sailing ships now moored as a floating museum at Travemunde.

I think the highlight of our tour of the countryside was a visit to the Nolde museum and art gallery.  Nolde was a German expressionist painter, active from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth.  He is well known and well regarded in Germany but until this visit I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of him.  Some of his paintings are not altogether easy to understand but it was well worth the visit.  These sightseeing visits around the area were organised by Renate Wilms-Marisch and her husband, Uwe, patiently provided all the transport. 

It is hoped that the Itzehoe twinning group will pay a return visit to Cirencester over the long Easter weekend in 2017.   If we are to repay their hospitality the Cirencester Twinning Association will have a lot of work to do.

The 2015 Advent Announcement and Invitation

German Christmas Markets Trip 2015 

Cirencester Twinning Association travelled to its twin town Itzehoe via Hamburg on Friday 27th November to be met with a large room buzzing with different folk speaking English, German or Polish.  The Itzehoe Twinning Association had arranged for more than 43 different people from Cirencester, Paslek and Malchin to be hosted with people from the town in celebration of over 30 years of friendships between the towns.  Amongst the German hosts was the founder member of the Itzehoe / Cirencester connection, a former youth leader who first exchanged with Cirencester in the 1980’s.

Those people new to Itzehoe were introduced to the town and its history by a tour guided by local historian Herr Aberhart Schmidt.  Whilst relatively modern, the town has an interesting situation being located close to the Danish / German border just north west of Hamburg and close to the North Sea.  It has featured as a strategic location during many European wars.  With 33,000 inhabitants, it is far bigger than Cirencester at 19,000, particularly when you take into account the 1,000 refugees who have been welcomed.  They are currently accommodated in a disused printworks and local people are volunteering to provide essential German tuition and are welcoming refugees into their homes to introduce them to local customs and cultures.

The group returned to host families for lunch - the main meal of the day in a typical German household.  After lunch was the first opportunity to visit an authentic German Christmas Market complete with Glüwein  in Barmstedt.  The market was very interesting and included specialities such as deep fried Blumenkohl, different types of Wurst and beautifully presented decorations such as Advent Wreaths .

Itzehoe’s twin town in Poland is called Paslek.  Their choir was also visiting for the weekend and during their trip, performed a set of Christmas Carols in both German and Polish.  The group as a whole spent a convivial evening of “bring and share” style dinner and carol singing.  It was a fast paced carol singing Polish lesson.  If you care to click on the Carol buttons to the right, you can listen to some snippets recorded on a mobile phone!

Heading North the following day, for the first Sunday of Advent, and dressing appropriately for the weather with at least two pairs of socks, gloves and a hat, hosts, Polish and English guests visited the Gut Stockseehof farmhouse which holds a famous, good quality Weinachtsmarkt.  Many sampled the Flameküche and the Apfelpunsch, and browsed for presents.  On to Lübeck in the afternoon, famed for its marzipan sweets, beautiful German-Danish style architecture and Cathedral with its three-naved pinnacled basilica. 

For many on the trip, it was their first tie in Itzehoe, but clearly the outstanding feature of this trip was the hospitality of the hosts and their varied programme of activities for all involved.  This enabled a valuable insight into North German culture and language.  This is down to the Itzehoe Twinning Association and Renate Wilms-Marzisch.  The Association has developed an excellent programme and a wide network of hospitable members with a similar desire to travel, exchange knowledge and widen experiences abroad.

Each year Itzehoe extends an open invitation to the people of Cirencester to visit the Weinfest and the Advent Market.  The Cirencester Twinning Association (CTA) would like to hear from you if you would like to be involved in any trips, or would like to help expanding its junior activities or its links to France.  Equally, if you would like us to find your son or daughter a penpal please get in contact at

Cirencester Twinning Association Committee

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