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How you can make friends in Germany by .....

..... being involved with our friends in Minden:

Minden is a town in the very north of North-Rhine Westphalia, making it nearer to Hanover than to the towns of the Ruhrgebiet. Porta Westfalica is a nearby town.

We had strong links with the Minden Anglo-German Society from 1996 until early 2009, when that Society was dissolved. In 1996, after the British army had left Minden, the Anglo-German club there was looking for partners in England. As several of their club members already had links with Ilkley and Otley, they chose the Wharfedale German Circle! Even though their club no longer exists, we remain friends with many families in Minden.

Since their first visit to Wharfedale at Easter 1996 there have been four WGC visits to Minden and return visits by the Mindeners, both individually and as a club.

Mindeners visit Wharfedale. Click to enlarge.

WGC in Minden. Click to enlarge.

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Minden links
         

..... being involved with the Leeds-Dortmund twinning:

In the autumn of 1990 several hundred Dortmunders came to Leeds as part of the 21st anniversary celebrations of the Leeds-Dortmund twinning. The WGC played host to 15 people who were the students and teacher of an English evening class in Dortmund. This was the start of a special relationship between several members of the WGC and their "partner" families in Dortmund.

There have been been return visits between Wharfedale and Dortmund on several occasions since then, both as a group and individually, the latest being in October 2010. Some lasting friendships have been made.

There is a Deutsch-Britisch Gesellschaft in Dortmund, but we have no "formal" links with it.

Dortmunders in Leeds. Click to enlarge.

WGC in Dortmund. Click to enlarge.

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Dortmund links
         

..... joining us to visit interesting places:

Our most recent group trip to Germany was to Weimar, Jena and Erfurt in 2012. Our interest in these cities had been piqued by good talks on them given to our Club by Eddie Lawler. Based in Weimar, we wandered in the steps of famous writers Goethe and Schiller, learnt about Bauhaus architecture by visiting the museum and show-house and some people visited the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp. There were day trips to historic Erfurt and to Jena, famous for its optical and glass industries.

We went to visit friends in Minden and Dortmund in autumn 2010. In Minden we vistied sites of cultural and historical interest, had a guided tour of Minden city centre, Schloss Bueckeburg, and a windmill. We visited the Kaiser Wilhelm Denkmal above Porta Westfalica and had a trip on a canal boat. From Dortmund we visited Essen to see some of the special events that marked the Ruhr cities as the European Capitals of Culture, tasted typical local foods and drinks at Dortmund's Pfefferpotthastfest and visited parks in Dortmund.

We visited Berlin in the autumn of 2008. We stayed in a backpackers' hostel, as the city was full (it was the weekend of the Berlin marathon) and it was very good. We visited all the main sites, admired architecture old and new, learnt about Berlin's history: the Wall, the Holocaust and the Third Reich. We visted museums, Charlottenburg, Pankow and Potsdam and savoured the food, beer, cabaret and river trips. See the Photogallery for more photos.

We went to Dresden in September 2004. The sun shone the whole time! The WGC had made contributions to The Dresden Trust, which was set up to help in the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) and we took in keen interest in its rise from the rubble. By the time of our visit the outside work was complete and the golden orb and cross (gift from Britain) was in place.

We have the good fortune to have a great friend in Dresden, who had earlier been a German Assistant teacher in Leeds and got to know the WGC through the student events. He and his girlfriend sorted out a hotel for us and showed us around their city. It's always best to have helpful local knowledge to make the most of a short trip. We had a wonderful time.

Keeping in touch with the Assistants when they return to their home countries can lead to some interesting holiday destinations!

WGC at the Three Little Pigs Hostel, Berlin. Click to enlarge.

WGC at Schloss Pilnitz, Dresden. Click to enlarge.

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Dresden links
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