New road signs in Schweinfurt, Germany, acknowledge the twinning link between North Lanarkshire (Motherwell) and the Bavarian town.
The signs at the road entrances to town, show the logos and national flags of Schweinfurt’s three twin towns of North Lanarkshire, Chateaudun in France and Seinäjoki in Finland.
Town twinning was the brainchild of the British Council just after the World War Two, being seen a means of preserving peace and fostering goodwill among the nations of Europe.
The search for a twin town for what was then the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw was undertaken by the International Union of Local Authorities, with Schweinfurt identified as a possible link.
North Lanarkshire and Schweinfurt are similar in environment, working life and culture. Motherwell was, of course, the centre of the steel making industry in Scotland; Schweinfurt is the centre of the
ball-bearing industry in Germany.
This twin link was established in 1962, followed by the links with Chateaudun in 1964 and then Seinäjoki in 1979.
School exchange visits played a big part in the success of the twinning in the early days and was the first opportunity for many pupils to travel abroad.
Sport has also produced numerous friendly, but competitive, events with Motherwell and Schweinfurt Swimming Clubs organising regular exchanges and Yett Farm FC visiting Schweinfurt to take part in an international tournament.
Currently the search is on to find gymnastic groups in North Lanarkshire who wish to travel to Schweinfurt from May 30-June 2 to take part in the Bavarian Gymnastics Festival.
Twinning activities are currently kept active through the Twinning Associations which were established at reorganisation of local government in the late 1990s.
The Friends of Schweinfurt Twinning Association in North Lanarkshire and the Friends of North Lanarkshire Twinning Association in Schweinfurt have organised a number of exchange visits for citizens with many individual links being established out of the visits.