There is tremendous advantage, both to the
harmony of the Borough and its future development, by celebrating
and encouraging international links. These can offer unique
opportunities to understand the valuable history of the communities
that make up Bedford’s population. Together we have all helped
shape Bedford and the rich and diverse festivals and celebrations
that occur year in and year out locally. Bedford’s historical
connections with war time allies in the heroic struggles against
Fascism are also important to celebrate
Twinning is all about bringing people
together, it creates opportunities for citizens of member towns to
experience and explore other cultures. It creates an atmosphere for
economic development and trade opportunities. It stimulates an
environment in which problems can be resolved on a person to person
basis and breaks down cultural and social barriers. We can see how
important this is in our own country in particular as well as
across Europe but it also applies on a world wide basis also.
On a practical level twinned towns can
encourage Chambers of Commerce to link and develop exchanges,
summer jobs schemes, economic seminars, internships etc. Websites
can be linked, art and cultural exhibits can be arranged, summer
camps can be set up, local government exchanges can be facilitated,
senior citizens groups can get together, sporting events can be
organised. Really as long as there are people with ideas the list
is endless. Twinning is for everyone both young and old!
Bedford Borough Council has accepted that to
be successful twinning needs to be supported, if it is not it can
wither on the vine as individuals move on either here or abroad.
There is also a need for sufficient similarities to generate a
range of links. Bedford has the River Great Ouse which is the focus
for much activity including rowing. We also have a number of
excellent educational establishments from our schools to the
Bedford College and a nationally recognised University. There are
strong historical aspects to Bedford and these include a focus
through historical personalities such as John Bunyan, John Howard
and Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. Bedford also has a firm cultural
legacy as exemplified by the collections in the Cecil Higgins Art
Gallery and Bedford Museum as well as strong musical traditions
through the Music for Bedford Borough and local
Bedford Borough has two formal twinning links.
These are with Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany and Rovigo in Veneto,
Italy. For a diary of events that have happened and are planned in
relation to twinning please use the “Twinning Events Calendar” link
on the left.
There are other places and towns with which we have friendship
links, more information can be found on the "Friendship Towns" link
on the left. We have also included here details of twinnings
between villages and parishes within the Borough.
The oldest of Bedford’s twinning links is with
Bamberg in Bavaria in Germany. It was initiated in the early 1970’s
and formalised in 1977.
To mark 25 years of twinning between Bamberg
and Bedford, the Borough Council commissioned a commemorative glass
feature. The feature is located at Borough
To mark the 30th Anniversary of twinning
between Bedford and Bamberg in 2007, a number of events took place,
for further details of these please follow the "30 Years of
Twinning" link on the left.
For the Bamberg twinning, the Bedford Bamberg Association has been
in existence in Bedford for many years which, as its name implies,
takes a particular interest in this twinning and organises exchange
visits between its members and members of the German English Club
For further information about the Bedford
Bamberg Association, please follow the "Useful Twinning Contacts"
The twinning with Rovigo in Veneto, Italy was
signed 3 July 2004 during the River Festival. The game of Rugby
brought the towns together. The friendship between Bedford and
Rovigo started during the European Shield Tournament in 1999-2000
where Rovigo Rugby Club and Bedford Blues played against each
other. Since then, links were established between Bedford and
Rovigo Rugby teams which spurred the Mayor of the Italian town to
write a letter to our Mayor to propose a permanent international
relationship. The desire to foster links between our two towns
culminated with an agreement being signed by the two Mayors in
Bedford in February 2002. The agreement was then followed by a
series of visits of the delegations both in Rovigo and in Bedford
respectively in October and June 2003.
For the Rovigo twinning, the Association
“Friends of Europe” based in Rovigo is interested in providing
incentives and support to exchange activities between young people,
families and associations
Amici d’Europa - (Friends
of Europe). Follow this link for more information and also the
"Useful Twinning Contacts" link.
Bedford Borough Council also has friendship
links to Arezzo in Italy and Wloclawek in Poland; find more information
by clicking here.