This year (2012) marks the 65th anniversary of the Bristol-Hannover twinning and saw the Bristol Hannover Council visit their counterpart society – the Hannover Bristol Gesellschaft – in Germany. The Council was accompanied by Bristol choir the Westbury Singers who, with Hannover-based choir Canta Nova, would sing at a special service at Hannover’s famous Marktkirche.
In addition to a wonderful tour of Hannover, the Hannover Bristol Gesellschaft took us on excursions to the historic town of Hildesheim and Cloppenburg Museum Village. Like Bristol, Hildesheim is home to the mother churches of both the local Catholic and Protestant dioceses. The oldest open-air museum in Germany, Cloppenburg preserves historically significant buildings brought from around the country and is stylistically similar to St Fagan’s Museum of Welsh life near Cardiff.
At our reception at Hannover Town hall Stephan Weil, Lord Mayor of Hannover, spoke very movingly about how much the twinning has meant to the people of Hannover over the years and how important it remains to them. Dr Ann Kennard (Chair of Bristol Hannover Council) and Councillor Colin Smith (former Lord Mayor of Bristol) made speeches on behalf of the society and the city of Bristol.
The last day focused on the future with a meeting at the Landesmuseum Hannover to discuss plans for 2014 – the tri-centenary of the Hanoverian accession to the British throne. Hannover is already well-prepared to commemorate this with exhibitions planned for all around the city! We also met with the Bristol Hannover Gesellschaft to outline ideas for their visit next year and beyond and were honoured to attend an exhibition chronicling the 65 years of twinning, opened by the Deputy Mayor of Hannover.
Our trip ended with a dinner at the Loccumer Hof hotel where Dr John Veale, who has travelled to Hannover every year since 1949, offered a vote of thanks to our German hosts.
We greatly look forward to welcoming members of the Hannover Bristol Gesellschaft to Bristol in 2013 and the tri-centenary celebrations in 2014!