The Friends of Alzey

Town Twinning with Germany

Hampstead Heath 2018

Welcome / Willkommen to the Friends of Alzey Website

We are a group of people who meet to broaden the friendship between Harpenden and Alzey in Germany, Harpenden's twin town.
If you have an interest in Germany, we have a number of events to suit you. Throughout the year, we have a mixture of social and fundraising activities. We also hold monthly conversation evenings to give German speakers of all abilities the chance to practise the language.
At the heart of the town twinning is a bi-annual trip to Alzey. We also welcome our German friends to Harpenden every second year. These trips offer interesting activities as well as excellent opportunities to build personal links between our twin towns.

Examples of our Events

  • Exchange Visits with Alzey
  • German Conversation Meetings
  • Social Evenings
  • Quiz Night
  • Annual Dinner with Guest Speaker
  • German Literature Group

History of Town Twinning - Harpenden and Alzey

Friends of Alzey Banner

The friendship between Harpenden and Alzey is a long established one. The first twinning events go back a long way with Harpenden and Alzey having been twinned since 1963. The Friends of Alzey and their equivalent in Alzey, the Friends of Harpenden, were created in 1979 to deepen personal links between the two communities. The towns enjoy a number of active links through contacts between the respective town councils, schools, sports clubs and other organisations. Harpenden is Alzey's oldest twin town. It has also has twinning arrangements with a number of other towns, including Josselin in France (since 1973), Rechnitz in Austria (since 1981), Koscian in Poland (since 1990) and Kamenz in Saxony, Germany (since 1990).

Friends of Alzey Committee

Friends of Alzey has at its heart a team of enthusiastic volunteers:

President Rosemary Ross
Chair Susan Vinther
Vice Chair Hayley Young
Treasurer Andy Young
Town Council representative Fiona Gaskell
Membership Secretary Harriet Gloess
Social Secretary Joanne Davies
Publicity Secretary Cornelia Sander
Minutes Secretary Steve Williams
Conversation Evening Coordinator Steve Williams

Alzey in Germany

Alzey Coat of Arms Alzey is a picturesque town located in the heart of Germany's main wine-growing area in the Rhineland-Palatinate region south of Frankfurt. It has a population of 18,500. The town has a long and eventful history going back to Roman days.
It was burned to the ground by French troops in 1689 and incorporated into France in 1798 before becoming part of the Grand Duchy of Hessen in 1816. In 1947 Alzey was included in the newly formed federal region of West Germany, Rheinland-Pfalz.
The town's emblem captures its historical links as part of the so-called Kurpfalz territory in the Holy Roman Empire (shown by the image of a lion) as well as its place in Germany's most famous legend from the Middle Ages, the Nibelungenlied (shown by the image of a fiddle).
Wine growing is the dominant industry in Alzey, making it the sixth largest wine producer in the Rheinland-Pfalz region.

Education outreach by The Friends of Alzey

Sally Pearson
Education Advisor

We are delighted to introduce Sally Pearson as Friends of Alzey Education Advisor. Sally is working hard in her new role and together with Jonathan Bullock and Susan and has formulated plans to reach out to the community of Harpenden’s schools, to promote and support Alzey and learning German.

Sally loved German from the time she first heard it spoken. She studied it at school and university, then trained to teach it. She taught for over 30 years, the last 15 being in St George's School, Harpenden. Excitingly, semi-retirement has now brought the opportunity of involvement with the Friends of Alzey. She thoroughly enjoyed being in Alzey with husband Mike for the Weinfest with the Friends of Alzey last September 2023 (see photo). Since that visit, Susan has set up a developing link between the Lea Primary School and the Elisabeth Langgässer Schule in Alzey, and Sally has started supporting students in Harpenden's Secondary Schools ahead of their GCSE examinations. This support, given alongside Jonathan and Susan, has been very well received. The hope is to invite some school students to an event in June with the Friends of Alzey and the Freunde von Harpenden. There are more plans afoot and any ideas are welcomed.

Susan Vinther has observed that the decline In teaching German in UK schools is of great concern in some quarters in Germany and has been expressed on several occasions by the Ambassador Miguel Berger. In some small way the Education Committee would like to encourage the learning of German and promote all that a vibrant Town Twinning Association can offer.

Alzey Gardens - a link between twins

In March 1978 the Harpenden Free Press reported, under a photo of the Bürgermeister of Alzey cutting the tape. Click here to view the press cutting.
Newspaper cuttingInternational links between Harpenden and its twin town in Germany were strengthened on Saturday when a road on a new estate in Harpenden was officially named Alzey Gardens.
The road was opened by the Bürgermeister of Alzey Dr Wolfhard Buchheim and was watched by an audience that included the Mayor of St Albans, Councillor John Dymoke, and the Chairman of Harpenden Parish Council, Councillor Ray Meldrum. Also present at the opening ceremony were three Alzey councillors, Mr Walter Zuber, Mr Kurt Neumann and Mr Jacob Althaus.
The road on the new Hilltop Estate in Southdown, which was built by George Wimpey Co Ltd, was named Alzey Gardens in return for a road being named Harpendenstrasse - Harpenden Street - in Alzey in 1976. Dr Buchheim said how refreshing it was that the road should be named after a lively town at a time when many roads in both England and Germany were being named after people long since dead.
He hoped that whoever lived in Alzey Gardens would feel a special link with Alzey and he would be pleased to hear from anyone who was contemplating a visit to Germany.