British German Association
REA works very closely with the British German Association & in particular with Oliver St. John, of the strategic partnerships executive, who has just produced an up to date database of all the towns in the UK with a German partner, including of course Richmond & Konstanz.
Database of Twinned Towns
Oliver has also produced a guide to twinning which draws upon the successful practice of associations like ours.
Guide to Town Twinning
Oliver has a particular affinity for Konstanz as he chose to study for his degree at the University of Konstanz in those carefree days when British students could study wherever they liked in Europe. Oliver writes,
“At the age of 19 I started my bachelor’s degree at the University of Konstanz. I decided to study in Germany because all students could study for free there, regardless of where you were from. I had never been to Konstanz before, but decided to study there because the University of Konstanz was one of Germany’s ten Exzellenzuniversitäten and because of the beauty of Konstanz & its surroundings. I still think about the spectacular views of snow capped Alps behind Lake Constance.
The University is fantastic & provides for a great student life. Even though it is a relatively young university it is considered to be one of the best in Germany.
In total I was in Konstanz for three years & enjoyed every minute of it. As a keen tennis player I also joined TC Konstanz whilst there, a club which is partnered with St. Mary’s Tennis Club in Isleworth, which is very close to Richmond. I played for the boys’ team & thoroughly enjoyed playing there.
For anyone who has yet to visit Konstanz, I highly recommend it.”
Host a Teacher from Germany Scheme
Registrations are now being accepted for the unbelievably generous “Host A Teacher from Germany Scheme” for the next academic year. Under this scheme both primary & secondary schools can apply for a fully qualified German teacher to join their school for up to three weeks at no cost to the school whatsoever. It’s not a requirement that the school offers German. The German teachers speak English & can teach the children about modern Germany.
It sounds too good to be true, but it is!
Alle profitieren davon. Es ist eine Win-Win-Situation.
For further information please click on the following link:
Herzlich Willkommen in Richmond
23rd February 2023.
On his return from Konstanz our chairman welcomed Oliver Schmitz, the new head of the Deutsche Schule London, to Richmond.
The fellow Europeans met in the head’s beautiful study in Douglas House & discussed ways in which the German School & the Richmond in Europe Association can work together to promote the German language & culture.
Wir wollen beide Brücken bauen.
Herr Schmitz was presented with a Konstanz badge & a mug commemorating the reaffirmation of Richmond’s partnerships with Konstanz & Fontainebleau, which will be celebrated in Richmond in 2025.
Wir Sind Alle Europäer!
Our chairman was recently in Konstanz meeting old friends, making new ones, playing tennis at TC Konstanz, (which is twinned with St. Mary’s Tennis Club), visiting the sights & enjoying the stunning scenery, raising awareness of the partnership with pupils & students in the local schools & university and, hopefully, improving his German.
Here he is pictured in the Rathaus with Martin Schröpel & Toni Langemann from the partnership department, each holding one of our 2025 commemorative mugs, which are in daily use in the town hall.
The mugs had previously been presented to the Oberbürgermeister, Uli Burchardt, Martin & Toni & in return Alan was presented with a tie bearing the badge of Konstanz.
The commemorative mugs have also been on sale in the Konstanz tourist office in Konstanz, but such has been the demand that they are sold out.
The mugs commemorate the 65th anniversary of the first partnership, (which was between Konstanz & Fontainebleau), which will be celebrated in Richmond in 2025.
The mugs can also be purchased in the UK at the Museum of Richmond or the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington.
You can follow Alan’s adventures in Konstanz on Instagram.
User Name: richmondineurope
Here are a few sample pictures:
Richmond’s New Chief Executive
8th December 2022.
REA chairman, Alan Mockford met Mike Jackson, the new chief executive of Richmond Council to discuss Richmond’s European partnerships.
Mike used to work for Bristol Council, which has been twinned with Hannover since the bitter winter of 1947. The twinning began when the people of Bristol collected shoes for the children in Hannover, who could not go to school because they had no footwear.
Alan & Mike discussed, among other things, the reaffirmation of our partnerships with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which will take place in Richmond from 6th-8th June 2025.
Over 100 local clubs & associations have registered their interest in participating & about 500 guests are expected from France & Germany.
Alan then presented Mike with one of our commemorative mugs, which are available for sale at the Museum of Richmond, the Landmark Arts Centre & Konstanz Tourist Information Office.
Mike & Alan also posed for a picture by the new Fingerpost sign, which is positioned between the Town Hall & Civic Centre.
Cérémonie des Nouveaux Bellefontains
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
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.
Eugénie, Empress of the French
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:
Das Europakonzil 2022
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 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.
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.”
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.
Queen Elizabeth II
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Vorsprung Durch Technik
30th May 2022. REA has launched its own Instagram account. Our user name is, not surprisingly,
To access it please click on the following link. (You will need to be logged into Instagram yourself to use it)
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:
Ein Musikalischer Begrüßungsempfang
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.