To kick off our #SisterCityThursday initiative, we are featuring the partnership between Apolda, Germany and Rapid City, South Dakota.
Apolda is in the central German state Thüringen and has 23,000 residents, while Rapid City has 70,000. The two have been sister cities since 1994. Since then about 2,000 students, club members, cultural groups and private individuals have travelled between the cities.
A core element of the partnership with Rapid City is the annual student exchange between the high schools in Rapid City and the “Bergschule Apolda.” Exchange students live with host families during their visits, attend classes, participate in special projects and explore the sister city and their surroundings.
Regular exchange visits also take place between hospitals and the fire and police departments of both cities. The focus here is on the exchange of professional and technical experience.
Cultural exchange is also of great importance. The “Sweet Adelines” and the Rapid City Central High School Symphonic Orchestra have both visited Apolda. Representatives from Rapid City also took part in the Thuringian State Garden Show in Apolda in 2017.
The following projects are planned for 2018 / 2019:
- A group of students from the “Bergschule Apolda” High School will travel to Rapid City in fall 2018
- Guests from the Rapid City Fire Department are expected for the 150th anniversary of the Apolda Volunteer Fire Department in September 2018
- Colleagues from the Rapid City Police Department are expected at the Apolda police station in September 2018
- After the great success of 2015, another citizens' trip to Rapid City will take place in 2019
- Celebration of 25 years of town twinning in Rapid City.
- On the occasion of the 900 year-old first mention of Apolda, guests from Rapid City are planning to visit Apolda in 2019.
The sister city partnership between Apolda and Rapid City is thanks to the active efforts of the members of the association “Internationale Städtepartnerschaften Apolda e.V.,” the support of the Mayor of Apolda, Mr. Rüdiger Eisenbrand, and the willingness of the citizens of Apolda and Rapid City to accommodate and look after each other’s guests for almost 25 years.
Further information on the sister cities program can be found at www.staedtepartnerschaften-apolda.de.
As a German political and cultural institution in the Midwest U.S., our primary interest in this article is to highlight the German cities participating in the sister cities programs. Therefore, we invite you to learn more about the charming “Bell City,” Apolda.
First mentioned in 1119, the growth of Apolda is closely linked to its economic development. In the 18th century, Apolda became a manufacturing and trading town with renowned bell foundries and a flourishing textile industry. At the beginning of the 20th century automobile production flourished. The speedster automobiles from Apolda brought the city great economic and sporting success.
The Bell City Museum still reminds us of Apolda's economic miracles. No other city can boast such a unique collection of historical bells.
For some years now, Apolda has made a name for itself above all through its nationally important art exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Apolda Avantgarde, the quality of which has spread far and wide. In the immediate vicinity of the Kunsthaus is the museum barrack “Olle GDR,” which provides visitors insight into everyday life in the former GDR.
The European Design Award Apolda enjoys an enormous response and attracts young designers from all over Europe to the Thuringian city.
But visitors are not only attracted by cultural-historical buildings and exhibitions - some of them come to visit the “Beer and Castle Road.” Numerous festivals are celebrated here, during which many a glass of Apolda beer is consumed.
The annual Oldtimer-Schlosstreffen offers car enthusiasts the possibility to see the oldest and most beautiful vehicles of past times.
We invite you to learn more about Apolda through the above links and consider a visit to discover for yourself!