Latest News

Cérémonie des Nouveaux Bellefontains

Charles de Sa, correspondent for Sintra, & Evelyne Wenzel.
Some of the leaflets & brochures provided.

26th November 2022.

Evelyne Wenzel, the President of ARCIF, joined Julien Gondard,  Mayor of Fontainebleau & Frédéric Valletoux the local Député (member of the National Assembly)  in welcoming new families to Fontainebleau.

In a  special ceremony the new residents were also introduced to Fontainebleau’s twin towns of Konstanz in Germany, Lodi in Italy, Sintra in Portugal, Alba Iulia in Romania & Richmond upon Thames.

They were also provided with information about the twin towns. 

A New Film of Fontainebleau 

The magnificent château de Fontainebleau

27th October 2022. A new short film highlighting some of the delights of Fontainebleau has just been released. Please click on the following link to see it.

New Film of Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau has also just concluded a new twinning partnership with Alba Iulia in Romania. Our French partner is also twinned with Sintra, in Portugal, Lodi in Italy, Konstanz in Germany & Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Alba Iulia.

Eugénie, Empress of the French

This famous portrait of Eugénie by Winterhalter hangs in the villa at Arenenberg.

A recording of David King’s recent lecture on the consort of Napoleon III, which was given to an international audience on 17th October 2022, is now available for viewing on the REA YouTube Channel.

At various times of her life Eugénie lived in the magnificent château de Fontainebleau, the idyllic summer villa in Arenenberg, near Konstanz, and also in England after the fall of the Second Empire.

REA members will be visiting the Imperial Mausoleum, where Eugénie rests with her husband, Napoleon III, & son, the Prince Imperial, in Farnborough later this year. The Prince Imperial was killed in the Zulu War in South Africa in 1879.

To access the recording please click on the following link:

Eugénie lecture

Das Europakonzil 2022

Some of the delegates in the historic Konzil.

26th-28th September 2022. Over a hundred delegates from Konstanz, Fontainebleau, Lodi, in Italy, Tabor, in the Czech Republic & Richmond gathered in Konstanz for the third Europakonzil to address the climate emergency.

Such is the importance of the subject in Germany that delegates, including some of those from Teddington  School, were interviewed on German television. Please click on the following link to see the news report.

German TV News Report

Issues like Global Warming are better addressed internationally & we can also benefit from sharing the best practices from other countries.

For example Konstanz has a fabulous network of cycle paths which are completely separate from vehicle traffic with their own bridges & underpasses. Consequently there is no school run as the majority of children cycle or walk to school.

The pedestrian & cycle bridge over the Rhine in Konstanz.

The Oberbürgermeister has no official car, nor does his deputy. However they both have official bikes & spaces reserved for them in the town hall. Such are the trappings of office!

The youth delegates to the conference were divided into 6 multi-national groups which generated & than presented their ideas. These included better home insulation, more cycle paths, a reduction in single use plastic, less consumption of bottled water & the provision of urban community gardens.

Leading by example. The spaces reserved in the town hall for the official bicycles of the Oberbürgermeister & Bürgermeister.

 

REA Chairman, Alan Mockford, & Francesca Batt from environmental charity, Habitats & Heritage, formed part of the Richmond team in Konstanz.

Here they are pictured with Antonie Langemann & Maximilian Hecht who were the main organisers of the event.

The Richmond delegates & their teachers were all sixth formers from Teddington School, which has had  annual school exchange for younger children with the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule in Konstanz for decades.

One of those who participated in such an exchange in the past was the world famous actress, Keira Knightley. She later returned to Konstanz to film scenes from, “A Dangerous Method.”

Julia & Paul addressed the delegates by video link from Richmond.

Councillor Julia Neden-Watts & Paul Chadwick, the Director of Environment at Richmond Council, joined the conference online from England.

Richmond Council was one of the first councils in Britain to declare a Climate Emergency & it remains a top priority.

Consequently both Julia & Fran undertook to meet the Richmond delegates on their return to the UK after an unforgettable experience in our twin town of Konstanz.

For a full report on the Europakonzil (in English) please click on the following link.

Broschüre_Europakonzil2022_DIN_A4_V5_Einzelseiten

The Konstanz team who planned & delivered the event.

Queen Elizabeth II

1926-2022

The Queen opening the Museum of Richmond in 1988. David Attenborough is standing behind her. ©Museum of Richmond
The Queen with French President Charles de Gaulle.

REA has received many messages of sympathy from our friends in France & Germany, where the Queen was as respected & popular as she was in the UK.

Evelyne Wenzel, the President of ARCIF, wrote as follows:

“On behalf of the Twinning Committee and on my own behalf I would like to express my sincere condolences on the death of the Queen of Hearts, Elizabeth II.

An era ends with her, a landmark of British, European & World politics left after 70 years of reigning, of dedication to her country & to the British people.

A friend of France. The French people loved the Queen. A very great lady whose strength of character was extraordinary. A grandmother of Europe is leaving us.

God Save King Charles III, the United Kingdom & Europe.

My sincere thoughts to his family & the British people.

                                                            With my best wishes.

                                                                                                         Evelyne Wenzel”

In Germany coverage of the Queen’s passing dominates the airwaves & the newsreaders have been wearing black as a mark of respect.

 

Michael Schwering, der ehemalige Schulleiter der Musikschule Konstanz hat uns geschrieben.

“Soeben habe ich einen langen Lebensbericht über die Queen im Fernsehen gesehen, diese faszinierende Dame, die auch bei uns über so außerordentlich lange Zeit höchstes Angesehen genoss. In diesen Tagen überschlagen sich die Ereignisse in eurem schönen Land. Aber halten wir es trotz aller Sorgen doch wie eure verehrte Königin:

Wir stehen zu unseren Grundsätzen. Veränderungen, die das Leben bringen bedeuten neuer Anfang, neue Chancen. Und das gilt auch für unser liebes Europa.

Ganz herzliche Grüße an unsere britische Freunde.

                                                                                                        Michael Schwering

Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, has also expressed sympathy on behalf of the European Union. Please click on the following link to read his statement.

Statement by Charles Michel

God Save the King

On Sunday 11th September at 2.30 p.m. the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr. Julia Cambridge, proclaimed the new King, Charles III, from the steps of York House.

Please click on the following link for a statement by the Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Julia Cambridge & a short film of the proclamation.

Statement by the Mayor.

More Young Visitors from Germany

L-R. Alan, Alexa, Ulrike & Richard.

 

It’s a long way to Konstanz.

30th August 2022. REA committee members Alan Mockford, Ulrike Dunckley & Richard Jaggard, were running a stand by the new fingerpost sign outside the town hall when Alexa von Witzleben & her baby dropped by to say “Guten Tag” and to become the latest new members of our association.

Alexa was born in Donaueschingen, but her parents moved to Konstanz over a decade ago so she knows our German twin town very well.

Alexa has moved to Richmond with her young family for work purposes & is looking forward to meeting more REA members during her stay.

Alexa is also hoping to play tennis at St. Mary’s Tennis Club, which is twinned with Konstanz Tennis Club. Alexa’s parents live next door to the secretary of Konstanz Tennis Club, which is how she learned about REA. Eins führt zum anderen!

A New Partnership Confirmed

10th-12th June 2022. The Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court, & le Cercle du Jeu de Paume de Fontainebleau formalised their partnership at the château de Fontainebleau. The two clubs were competing for the inaugural Trophée du Drap d’Or, which had originally been scheduled for 2020 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting between King Henry VIII & François I and the 60th anniversary of the first twinning between Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which should also have been celebrated in this year. However the pandemic led to a postponement.

The trophy will be contested on a biennial basis, alternating between Hampton Court Palace & le château de Fontainebleau. 

“The Field of Cloth of Gold” painting can be seen in Hampton Court Palace.

Michael Day, (on the left), the Chairman of the Royal Tennis Court & Thierry Bernard-Tambour, the President of the Cercle du Jeu de Paume signed the twinning agreement in the historic “Salon des Fleurs” of the château.

The Royal Tennis Court won the inaugural tournament by 13 matches to 11. Consequently la Trophée du Drap d’Or will be displayed at Hampton Court for the next two years.

To find out more about the Royal Tennis Court please click on the following link:

Royal Tennis Court.

For more details about Le Cercle du Jeu de Paume please click on this link.

Jeu de Paume

 

The two teams with le Drap d’Or. Photo Jean Deschamps
Michael & Thierry with le Drap d’Or. Photo Jean Deschamps

Vorsprung Durch Technik

30th May 2022.  REA has launched its own Instagram account. Our user name is, not surprisingly,

richmondineurope

To access it please click on the following link. (You will need to be logged into Instagram yourself to use it)

REA Instagram

A New Mayor & Patron for REA

24th May 2022.  Cllr. Julia Cambridge has been elected as the new Mayor of Richmond upon Thames.

Following a banquet in her honour Julia kindly accepted our invitation to become a Patron of the Richmond in Europe Association for her term of office. Julia succeeds Geoff Acton, the outgoing Mayor, as our English Patron. Our other patrons are the Mayors of Fontainebleau & Konstanz.

Julia’s chosen charity for her one year term of office is RUILS, which is run by & for disabled people. For further information about RUILS please click on the following link:

RUILS

A fourth service tree of Fontainebleau planted in Hampton

Cllr. Suzette Nicholson with REA Chairman, Alan Mockford

28th May 2022. A service tree of Fontainebleau has been planted on Hampton Common beside one of the new town twinning signs, which had been unveiled by the then Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson in September 2021.

Suzette & Alan beside the new town twinning sign in Oak Avenue, Hampton.

There are now 22 of the town twinning signs & four service trees of Fontainebleau in the borough. The trees are native to the world famous Forêt de Fontainebleau. The other 3 trees can be found in the gardens of York House, Orleans House & outside East Sheen library.

Ein Musikalischer Begrüßungsempfang

REA members with Tobias seated at the piano.

5th March 2022. Tobias Kamprad from Konstanz treated REA committee members to a concert in East Sheen. Tobias is a trainee English teacher, who was working in a school in Twickenham to develop his teaching skills & to improve his fluency in English.

Tobias writes, “I’m 24 years old & currently studying English at the University of Konstanz to become an English teacher at secondary school. I’m came to the UK to get in touch with your culture, to meet people & to improve my English.

Besides English I study classical music, so I am also passionate about music, playing the piano, singing & conducting choirs. In 2020 I spent 6 months as an Erasmus student in Malmö, Sweden and I really appreciated the cultural exchanges.”

REA facilitated Tobias’ visit & held a reception for him shortly after his arrival, during which he performed a programme of largely German classical music.

 

You can see & hear Tobias playing Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann by clicking on the following link.

Kinderszenen

Co-incidentally Robert Schumann’s namesake, (with only one “n”), was one of the founders of the European Peace Project, which we know today as the European Union.

After school each day Tobias visited many of the famous sights of Richmond including Hampton Court Palace, where the great German composer Händel lived. Tobias greatly admires his work so he was absolutely delighted to be invited to play the organ in the Chapel Royal. Er war wie in siebenten Himmel!

For further news of Tobias’ visit please see the Past Events page.

REA Members Celebrate Edwina’s Great News.

James & Edwina cut the cake. The lettering reads, “Thank You REA.”

5th March 2022. 32 years ago a young woman from Konstanz, named Edwina, fell in love with James, a young man from Richmond, during a twinning exchange. They married & have lived in Whitton ever since. Following Brexit, Edwina applied for settled status in order that she could continue to live in the UK with her husband and daughter. Incredibly her application was refused & she faced deportation.

Edwina was in despair. She dared not visit her mother in Konstanz for fear of not being allowed back into the country. After 9 months of fruitless correspondence with the Home Office, REA raised Edwina’s case with the German Embassy. Legal officers from the Embassy took up her case & within days Edwina was granted settled status.

At a reception for Tobias, our young visitor from Konstanz, on 5th March REA members also celebrated Edwina’s great news. Edwina & James contributed a special cake for the occasion to thank REA members for all their support.

United in our Support for Ukraine

Richmond Town Hall illuminated in the colours of Ukraine

4th March 2022. The Leader of Richmond Council issued a statement of support for the people of Ukraine and their family & friends living in Richmond upon Thames.

For the full statement & practical advice please click on the following link:

Leader’s Statement

Imperia illuminated in the Ukrainian colours

28th February. The huge, revolving statue of Imperia, which dominates the harbour in Konstanz, is illuminated in the colours of Ukraine to demonstrate the support of our twin town. More practical help is also on its way. Much of this is being donated via Konstanz’s twin town of Tabor in the Czech Republic. Slovakia has a border with Ukraine, which reminds us how close the war is.

The Deputy German Ambassador Visits Richmond

REA chairman,Alan Mockford, with the Deputy German Ambassador, Julia Gross, in the magnificent Octagon Room of Orleans House.
Wie komme ich nach Konstanz?

2nd February 2022.  It was our great pleasure to welcome Julia Gross, the deputy German Ambassador, to Richmond. After lunch at the Petersham Hotel, where Julia was introduced to the first twinning baby, Davina Constance Marsh, REA chairman, Alan Mockford, accompanied Julia on a sightseeing stroll along the Thames to Twickenham, passing two of the new information boards about our twin European towns, the memorial to the Belgian Village on the Thames & Marble Hill House  before calling in at Orleans House Gallery.

There was just time to view Eel Pie Island, the memorial to Alexander Pope & the new fingerpost sign outside the civic centre before Julia was welcomed to York House by the Mayor, Cllr. Geoff Acton, Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson, & council leader, Gareth Roberts, before being invited into the Mayor’s parlour for tea & biscuits.

L-R. Alan Mockford, Gareth Roberts, Suzette Nicolson, Julia Gross & Geoff Acton.

Julia thought that York House was one of the finest town halls that she had ever seen. She was particularly struck by the gardens & open air theatre. 

Julia was pleased to accept our invitation to become an honorary member of the Richmond in Europe Association & was presented with lapel badges of Konstanz & Richmond plus a reaffirmation commemorative mug for use in the German Embassy. In return she presented REA with a mug depicting Berlin.

Julia has agreed to come to Richmond again in the spring to visit a local school to promote the teaching & learning of German & to meet REA members. Before her departure there was, of course, the obligatory photograph by the fingerpost sign outside the town hall as the Council of Europe flag flew overhead.

L-R. Alan Mockford, Cllr. Geoff Acton, Julia Gross, Cllr. Suzette Nicholson & Cllr. Gareth Roberts

A new Public Work of Art for Richmond

Der treue Jagdhund was presented by ARCIF to Konstanz council on the occasion of the reaffirmation in Konstanz in 2010.

The Richmond in Europe Association is inviting submissions from local artists for a public work of art to commemorate the reaffirmation of the twinnings with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which will take place in Richmond from 6th-8th June 2025.

The committee is looking for something which will attract both interest and attention. The chosen piece will represent the friendship between the three towns and/or our common European heritage & will endure for decades to come.

For further information please click on the Reaffirmation 2025 link at the top of this page or write to

richmondineurope@hotmail.com

REA has already commissioned these attractive commemorative mugs to publicise the reaffirmation of the twinnings with Fontainebleau & Konstanz which will take place in Richmond from 6th-8th June 2025.

For further information please click on the Reaffirmation in 2025 link at the top of this page.

New Statue Proposed for Richmond Riverside

A mock up of the proposed statue of Woolf seated on a bench.
The seated lady in Konstanz.

June 2021.   Almost £38,000 has been raised for a statue of the famous author, Virginia Woolf to be installed in a prestigious location on Richmond riverside. Woolf lived in Richmond from 1914-24, during which time she founded the Hogarth Press. It is hoped that the proposed interactive statue of Woolf, seated on a bench, will cement Richmond’s place on the British literary map.

Comparisons have already been drawn with the seated lady on the balcony of the art nouveau apartments overlooking the Bodensee in Konstanz.

For further information please click on the following link:

Virginia Woolf statue

Konstanz aus der Vogelperspektive

Konstanz_Hoernle © Achim Mende_7335
Konstanz from above. The old town lies to the left of the Rhine. The university overlooks the garden island of Mainau on the right. The island of Reichenau can be seen in the background.  Photo: Achim Mende

Our chairman came across this stunning bird’s eye view of Konstanz during a visit to Konstanz Town Hall. Permission was sought from the photographer, Achim Mende, to use the photograph on the three new information boards which have been installed in Richmond to commemorate the reaffirmation.