Esslingen am Neckar in the southern German state Baden-Württemberg and Sheboygan, Wisconsin have been sister cities for 51 years. Last year the two cities celebrated their 50th anniversary in Esslingen.
In July 1967 the sister city partnership was made official and since then the two cities have remained in close contact including frequent visits by citizens and official delegations.
Of particular importance in this partnership is the exchange of students between the high schools in Sheboygan and the Esslingen. Since 1970 it has been a constant and solid basis for the sister cities. Students visit their partner city for five months each, live with host families and attend school. Such exchange programs provide a deep insight into the values and culture of the host country and strengthen the intercultural competence of children and young people. This exchange has led to numerous friendships between the families, many which have continued to be cultivated over the decades.
The sister city partnership developed splendidly, not least due to the commitment of the organization “People to People - Sheboygan Chapter” and the Esslingen-Sheboygan (VES) association, which was founded a few years ago and organizes, for example, another student exchange during summer break. Associations and organizations also maintain regular contacts, as do the administrations of the twin towns.
In Sheboygan there is not only an “Esslingen Park,” but also, since last year, there is an “Esslingen Fest” celebrated. The fest includes not only beer and “German Bratwurst,” but also onion specialties with recipes from Esslingen since the city is known for its dishes with onions.
Since last year a maple tree in Esslingen commemorates the 50th anniversary of the partnership. It was planted by friends from Sheboygan. The sugar maple is the official state tree of the state of Wisconsin.
For the coming year a visit of Esslinger citizens is planned in Sheboygan. They want to take an active part in the “Esslingen Fest” with self-prepared Swabian dishes as a toast to their friendship.
To learn more about Sheboygan visit: www.sheboyganwi.gov
More about Esslingen: www.esslingen.de