Villingen-Schwenningen maintains friendly contacts with cities in Germany and abroad: Friedrichsthal (Saarland), La Valette du Var (France), Pontarlier (France), Savona (Italy), Tula (Russia) and Zittau (Saxony). The last century was marked by two great world wars. The resulting desire for peace and international understanding led to the establishment of many fruitful town twinning arrangements. It is above all the people who, in conjunction with associations and schools, cultivate this exchange of experiences, as seeds, so to speak, for peaceful coexistence in Europe.
In 1976, the city of Villingen-Schwenningen was awarded the European flag in recognition of its efforts to establish European twin towns. In addition to the official town twinning of the town of Villingen-Schwenningen, there is a multitude of other contacts from schools, universities, authorities, churches and institutions.
Villingen-Schwenningen has the longest partnership with the Saarland town of Friedrichsthal. Already in 1935 the first ties were formed and even after a long break, caused by the National Socialist government and the war, the friendship was revived in 1957. To this day, various associations, institutions and citizens maintain contacts with the city, which is located in the countryside near Luxembourg and France.
La Valette du Var
The partnership with La Valette was officially sealed in 1974 and 1975. As prisoners of war Schwenninger got to know the southern French landscape of the Var and soldiers from La Valette got to know the Black Forest. In the 1960s, peace-loving relations developed between the returnee associations, which have lasted until today. Numerous other association contacts were established and many activities in the youth sector, such as the youth exchange during the summer vacations. In particular, the Friends of La Valette, founded in 1992, and the Comité de Jumelage in La Valette are working to further intensify the partnership contacts.
The partnership with the town of Pontarlier is the oldest international twin town of our town and exists since 1964 (celebration in Villingen in 1965). As a war veteran in enemy territory, the later administrative director of the city of Villingen, Theo Arnold, made many friends in the French Jura. The relations with Pontarlier could be maintained well due to the proximity. The cities have many geographical and human similarities. The range of association activities is broad and many institutions maintain intensive contacts. There are also close friendships within the citizenry.
The first personal relations between citizens of the two towns of Savona and Villingen-Schwenningen were established as early as May 1982 by members of the German-Italian Society Villingen-Schwenningen (DIG). These contacts led to the foundation of the Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca di Savona (ACIT) in Savona. The contacts between the two cities are still very lively today, so that in recent years many hundreds of citizens have found their way to the respective twin town. The fifth season is very popular with the Italians.
The partnership was officially sealed in 1993 and 1994. The establishment of the partnership was intended as a contribution to expressing the will for peace with the peoples of the European East, especially with the Russian people. The foundation stone for the existing partnership was laid by the Tula Working Group with its initial aid transports to Tula. The Tula Working Group significantly supports the activities of the City Connection. It carries out long-term projects in the social sector. One of the priorities of the Tula City Council is to develop the relationship with Villingen-Schwenningen.
The partnership was officially established in 1990. The need to support the East German municipalities in the development of local self-government and certainly also the lack of language barriers have led to intensive contacts in all areas of public and private life. Especially the town halls of both cities were in constant contact especially at the beginning of the partnership. The Freundeskreis Zittau e.V. represents another important link between the two cities.
Twelve cities in Germany and Switzerland form the Zähringer cities. Today's close affiliation goes back to the founding period of most towns. What they all have in common is that they belonged to the property of the Dukes of Zähringen. In 2017 the town of Villingen-Schwenningen organized a big Zähringer Narrentreffen in which many Närrinnen and Narren of the associated towns came together and celebrated exuberantly.
In 2000, a sponsorship was established between the city of Villingen-Schwenningen and the Panzerpionierkompanie 550. At that time, the tank pioneers were stationed in the Villingen barracks. Despite their relocation to Immendingen or Stetten am kalten Markt, there is still an intensive sponsorship today. The tank pioneers not only maintain close ties to the city, but also have friendly relationships with local traditional clubs.