The Town of Kristiansand

Kristiansand, Norway

Twinned

The Town Of Kristiansand, Norway

The city of Kristiansand in Norway has a population of 80,000, the sixth largest in Norway and two and a half times as big as Letchworth Garden City. It is the county capital of Vest-Agder county in Southern Norway. The city was named after its founder King Christian IV in 1641. The last element "sand" refers to the sandy  headland the city was built on. It was created as a market town to encourage growth in a strategically significant area, providing a local economic base for  construction of fortifications and population for defence of the area. The centre of Kristiansand, in layout essentially unchanged since the 17th century, is called "Kvadraturen" due to its square gridline of streets.

Travelling To Kristiansand

The link with Kristiansand is unfortunately dormant. The Association does not organise visits there. Ferries no longer travel between the UK and Scandinavia. It is possible to fly from Heathrow to Oslo then take the train. In recent years there have been flights from others of london's airports to Kristiansand but these services have not lasted long.

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The Town of Chagny

Chagny, France

Twinned in 1978

The Town Of Chagny, France

Letchworth twinned with Chagny in 1978 at which time our Twinning Association was formed. Chagny lies in the Saône and Loire Department of France in the heart of the Burgundy wine region, roughly midway between Beaune and Chalon-sur-Saône. The villages around Chagny give their names to the world famous wines of Burgundy - the whites of Montrachet and Meusault and reds of Volnay, Pommard, Givry and Maranges. Also in Burgundy you find Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy’s excellent and cheaper alternative to champagne. Further south is the Beaujolais region. When visiting Chagny a visit to at least one wine producer and his “cave” is a must, to sample his wines and maybe buy directly from him. The Canal du Centre passes through Chagny bringing holidaymakers in their boats. Narrowboats can be hired. The towpath (fifty miles long in total) along the canal is popular with walkers and cyclists. Apart from wine making, industry in the town includes barrel making, tile manufacture and flour milling.

Chagny has several notable sights e.g. an Italian style theatre “the Copiaus” and an authentic 18th century pharmacy with original wood panelling and artefacts – scales, pestles and mortars; the garden of Dr Loydreau with its mediaeval herbs and the 11th/13th century church of Saint Martin. The town has excellent hotels and restaurants notably Lameloise, which has a three star Michelin rating and regularly voted the world’s best French restaurant by TripAdvisor.com. Every Sunday there is a market in the town with over 160 stalls selling fruit and vegetables, meats, cheese, clothing, hardware and bric-a-brac – everything you would expect a market to have. Beaune to the north is the centre of Burgundy's wine trade with the Hospice with its distinctive tiled roof and museum, remains of a time when Dukes of Burgundy were more powerful than the Kings of France, the highlight of the town.

Travelling To Chagny

Using the Autoroutes (which one has to pay a toll). After crossing the Channel by ferry or Eurotunnel to Calais the best route is via Reims, Troyes and Dijon to Beaune (which is the nearest exit to Chagny) and then by ordinary road to Chagny. Travelling using Route Nationale roads, which are toll-free, can take longer – two or more days at will. By rail – Letchworth to Kings Cross then walk to St Pancras to catch Eurostar to Paris. The majority of these Eurostar trains go to the Garde du Nord in Paris which then has to be crossed using the Metro or the RER to the Gare du Lyon for a TGV train to Dijon and from there a local train to Chagny. A few Eurostar trains go to Lille where it is possible to catch a TGV train to Dijon without the worry of crossing Paris.

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Twinned Towns

OUR TWINNED TOWNS

Visits

With the triangular partnership between Letchworth, Chagny and Wissen a regular pattern of visits developed. Every year each town visits one of the others and receives a visit from the third. The following year the visits are reversed. Visits between Letchworth and the other towns usually last five days (Thursday to Monday or Friday to Tuesday) - the first and last days spent on travelling. Typically we depart Letchworth at 5:15 in the morning by coach to catch a ferry from Dover to Calais. We leave Calais and travel for 2 to 2 1/2 hours then break for lunch (approximately one hour) then another two hours travel and half an hour break for coffee and a final two hour drive to our destination. Arrival time is usually about 7 PM local time. During the weekend there will usually be two trips out by coach to places of interest and a social afternoon or evening. We are accommodated by families in the host town. You are expected to reciprocate when the other town visits Letchworth the following year. A visit to Letchworth follows a similar pattern. For future visits please see the diary page.

Letchworth twinned with Wissen in 1983. Chagny had been twinned with Wissen since 1968 and acted as broker and encouraged the new Twinning…

Letchworth twinned with Chagny in 1978 at which time our Twinning Association was formed. Chagny lies in the Saône and Loire Department of…

The city of Kristiansand in Norway has a population of 80,000, the sixth largest in Norway and two and a half times as…

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The Town of Wissen

Wissen, Germany

Twinned in 1983

The Town Of Wissen, Germany

Letchworth twinned with Wissen in 1983. Chagny had been twinned with Wissen since 1968 and acted as broker and encouraged the new Twinning which formed a triangular partnership. Wissen lies approximately 50 miles east of Cologne and Bonn on the River Sieg (a tributary of the Rhine) in a region called the Westerwald – the Western Forest. The town is also the administrative centre for the villages of Birken-Honigessen, Hövels, Katzwinkel Mittelhof and Selbach. The town is designated a “Luftkurort” which is difficult to translate into English – Spa usually denotes water; one visits Wissen to take the air. It is a centre for walking and cycling and there are many paths tracks and trails for these activities.

The town has a number notable sights e.g. the catholic church , the Kreuzerhöhung, in Baroque style and with ceilings painted by Peter Hecker; the Schönstein Castle and the St. Sebasianus Kapelle (also known as the Heisterkapelle),the only timber-framed church in Rheinland Pfalz. Also worth a visit is the Bindweide Mine where iron ore was mined for over 200 years. Wissen was a “steel town” with the firm Hoesch a major employer. Following the steel crisis in the 1980’and 90’s the works closed. The site was taken over by a transport and logistics company. Subsequently one of the steel rolling mill halls has been converted into a multifunction facility.

Travelling To Wissen

By road -it is also possible to reach Wissen by road in one day. Cross the Chanel by ferry or Eurotunnel to Calais then take the Autoroute (toll free).to Lille and Tournai. From there to Liège, either via Charleroi or Brussels and enter Germany at Aachen heading towards Cologne where again there are two options. From south of Cologne head towards Siegburg then Altenkirchen to Wissen, or pass to the east of Cologne and pick up the A4 Autobahn towards Olpe. Leave this motorway about halfway along its length near a town called Gumersbach and head due south to Wissen. This is the route preferred by the Association. A leisurely journey might include an overnight stop in the Ardennes in Belgium or along the Rhine. Recently many towns in Germany have introduced low emmission zones and cars must display permits showing they meet low emmission standards. In some towns diesel cars are banned unless they meet they meet the Euro 5 or even the more stringent Euro 6 emmission standards. Check the status of your car when planning your trip. By rail – Letchworth to Kings Cross then walk to St Pancras to catch Eurostar to Brussels; change there for a train to Cologne, then another train to Wissen. By air –there are flights from Stansted to Cologne with Eurowings (Germanwings) and Ryanair and Gatwick to Cologne with Easyjet. It is possible to get from the airport to Wissen by train.

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About Letchworth

Welcome To

Letchworth Garden City

Founded in 1903

Welcome to Letchworth Garden City

Letchworth Garden City is a relatively young town being founded in 1903 by the social reformer Ebenezer Howard

About Letchworth City

Letchworth Garden City is a relatively young town being founded in 1903 by the social reformer Ebenezer Howard. Howard was appalled by the overcrowding and poor sanitation of the slums in London and other large cities and proposed the building of Garden Cities - towns of limited size (approximately 30,000 inhabitants) surrounded by a green belt. These Garden Cities would have the advantages of both town and country. The building of Letchworth was funded by a private company - First Garden City Ltd - which bought the land. Profits made by the company were reinvested in the town. Over the years the company has been transformed first into the Letchworth Garden City Corporation then currently the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LGCHF) a charitable trust, which still owns much of the land and ploughs its income back into the town.

Letchworth is situated approximately 30 miles north of London and lies within the area administered by the North Herts District Council. The town benefits from a Leisure Centre including an indoor swimming pool; there is also an outdoor pool and a four screen independent cinema, funded by the LGCHF. In keeping with its name “Garden City” many of its streets are tree lined. It has open spaces such as Norton Common and Howard Gardens which now has updated leisure facilities catering for young and old who can enjoy family activities on the lawns, play area or in the paddling pool, The town has a working farm (Standalone form) that is a favourite attraction for families. For many years the town had no licensed pubs instead only the Skittles Inn - the pub with no beer, now renamed the Settlement.

Notable buildings, in addition to the Settlement, include the Spirella factory, where ladies foundation garments were made and is now converted into offices; a cinema building (the Broadway) in art deco style. The Cloisters was built in 1905 as an open-air school dedicated to Psychology and where students were taught skills from the Arts and Crafts movement. After a period of neglect during World War II the Cloisters became the North Hertfordshire Masonic Centre in 1951. It is a Grade II listed building. There are two independent schools - St Christophers (co-educational) and St Francis (for girls) and two state schools – Highfield and Fernhill – both co-educational. During World War 2 machines known as “bombes” conceived by Alan Turing for de-coding messages generated by the German Enigma machine were built in Letchworth by the British tabulating machine (later International Computers and Tabulators and then International Computers Ltd).

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About Us

The link with both towns has existed for more than 20 years and some families have corresponded for all of that time, but many bonds are much more recent and we welcome new people all the time from the Letchworth area to start to visit one or both of these towns.

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