Toledo, Ohio became the sister city partner of Coburg, Germany, located in the southern state Bavaria, in 2017. The two cities were brought together by a member of the Toledo Sister City Committee who had a relative in Coburg. Like Toledo, Coburn had a glass center, and the director of the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art in 2016, who was from Germany, had formerly judged glass exhibits in Coburg.
In 2016 and 2017 the Toledo Sister Committee connected with Rainer Kalwait, their member’s cousin-in-law, and Jürgen Heeb, the Stadtrat who oversaw Coburg’s city partnership. At first both cities were apprehensive about signing an agreement. Both Toledo and Coburn had formerly been partnered with other cities, but interest had waned. With this partnership both cities decided to take their time getting to know one another to know they were making the right decision.
In June 2017 Dave and Rogene Kohler from Toledo visited Coburg for a few days during a trip to Germany. Rainer and Jürgen and their wives Jutta and Petra respectively were excellent hosts and tour guides. While in Germany, the Kohlers met with Oberbürgerrmeister Norbert Tessmer. In August the Heebs returned the visit, coming to Toledo where they met several people from Toledo’s German community and visited some of the highlights of the area.
During the 2017/18 school year a connection between Casimirianum Gymnasium and Maumee High School German students resulted in a project of introducing themselves, their schools and towns to each other. Students from each school each created video about themselves in the other’s language and shared it online.
In December 2017 each mayor signed a Friendship City agreement. Toledo’s then-mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson also sent a flag of Toledo to Coburg along with the signed agreement. The mayors of each town hope to visit their partners when the Sister City agreement is signed.
In April, after attending the Hannover Handelsmesse, one of Toledo’s German Sister Cities Committee members, Tim Greenwood and his wife Linda, met with Rainer Kalwait, Jürgen and Petra Heeb and Oberbürgermeist Norbert Tessmer to discuss some concrete plans for the future. Among other things, they discussed a tree exchange, sports exchange and a musical exchange in which a composer from each town composes a piece for the other’s symphony orchestra to perform.
At the beginning of June some of the members of Toledo’s Bavarian Sports Club will make a short stop in Coburg. Then toward the end of June the Greater Toledo International Youth Orchestra will play a concert in the Moritzkirche after participating in Steinen’s ( Baden-Württemburg) Fete de la Musique a few days earlier.
Both cities look forward to many more business, cultural, and educational contacts in the future.
For more on Coburg visit https://www.coburg.de/startseite.aspx.
For info about Toledo see https://toledo.oh.gov/