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TWINNING IS WINNING: A look at Watford’s twinned cities

 Published on: 31st March 2024   |   By: Panayiota Demosthenous   |   Category: Uncategorized

Throughout history, areas across the globe have participated in various cultural exchanges to establish peace and commercial ties. Following the Second World War, twin-city relationships, where two localities would establish a link, grew in popularity.


Watford has established twin relationships with five international communities: Mainz, Nanterre, Novgorod, Wilmington and Delaware. Let’s find out more about our siblings across the world.


Mainz, Germany

Photo: Mainz visit

Caption: Watford Labour councillors Nigel Bell, Dennis Watling and Roy Healey visiting Mainz


Watford twinned with Mainz in 1956, the capital and largest city of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, establishing the Hertfordshire town’s first twin.


Mainz is Germany’s 35th largest city and is best known for being the country’s wine capital, as well as the site of the invention of the Gutenberg printing press.


In 2022, Watford Labour councillors Nigel Bell, Dennis Watling and Roy Healey visited Mainz, where they met with the former mayor Michael Ebling, and learned about the rich history of Mainz. The group enjoyed the wine market, a dragon boat ride through Mombach, and sailing through the Middle Rhine Valley. A selection of Watford Labour councillors returned to the German city in 2023 for a second visit.


Nanterre, Paris, France

Photo: Nanterre sign

Caption: A road in Nanterre has been named Rue De Watford after its Hertfordshire twin city


In 1961, Watford established its second twin relationship with Nanterre, located in the suburbs of Paris, France.


Nanterre is best known for hosting the headquarters of many major corporations located in La Défense. The court of Nanterre is well known in the media for the number of high-profile lawsuits and trials that take place in it, as well as having some of the tallest buildings in Paris.


The French town’s coat of arms is held at Watford Museum along with other town shields from the other twinned areas.


Novgorod, Russia

Photo: Novgorod

Caption: In 2015, Watford welcomed residents from its Russian twinned city


Watford announced its third twin in 1984 as the city of Veliky Novgorod, one of the oldest cities in Russia.


Novgorod is known as one of Russia’s cultural centres, full of interesting architecture and historical traditions. It is also home to the Novgorod School, a world-renowned school of icon and mural painting.


In 2015, the Watford-Novgorod Friendship Society, as well as the Friends of Cassiobury Park, welcomed residents from Novgorod to Watford and planted a commemorative lilac bush in Cassiobury Park Orchard.


Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Photo: Delaware sign

Caption: This historical marker can be found in New Castle County, Delaware


From 1986 until 2011, Watford was twinned with Wilmington, Delaware, the hometown of the US President Joe Biden.


Wilmington is the largest city in Delaware and was built on the site of Fort Christina, the first Swedish settlement in North America. Wilmington was named by Proprietor Thomas Penn after his friend Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who was prime minister during the reign of George II of Great Britain.


It is also where the 1999 hit movie Fight Club is set. There is a road named after the twin city, Wilmington Close, in Watford town centre.


Pesaro, Italy

Photo: Pesaro Italy

Caption: In 2015, the Italian government applied for Pesaro to be declared a Creative City in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites


The Hertfordshire town’s latest twin relationship was established in 1988, with the Italian commune of Pesar in Italy.


Pesaro is known as the City of Music, or Cycling City, due to it being the birthplace of composer Gioachino Rossini and its extensive network of bicycle paths throughout the city.


In 2017, Pesaro received the European City of Sport award together with Aosta, Cagliari and Vicenza.


In June 1995, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who had a house in Pesaro, agreed to visit the Colosseum where, supported by the Philharmonia Orchestra, he recorded Hymn of the Nations by Giuseppe Verdi.



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1 Comment

  1. Charles Dytham April 1st, 2024, 10:40 am

    I visited Novgorod, back in the day, as part of Watford Volleyball team.

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