The Selkirk – Plattling Twinning: Scotland and Bavaria.
The twinning took place in record time in 1998, following an approach by the Burgermeister of Plattling, Herr Siegfried Scholz in November 1997. He was inspired by a fortuitous and very successful visit by Selkirk’s Pipe Band to Plattling. The Selkirk Community Council voted for the idea in February and the formal twinning was completed in September by a small group put together for the purpose.
The twinning is a happy story. About 800 Plattlingers have visited Selkirk and some 400 Selkirk folk have been to visit Plattling. All sorts of groups have exchanged visits; High School pupils, firemen, policemen, football teams, our pipe band, their ‘oompah’ youth band, cooks, craftsmen – the list expands continually. Many have visited several times.
Its success is due to several things: Bavaria and Scotland were formerly small independent kingdoms subsumed and dominated by more powerful neighbours; each town has a Roman past; each town has a long and significant history resolutely maintained of which they are fiercely proud and each town has a distinctive vernacular culture. Perhaps the most important cause of the success was the deliberate intention at the outset to make this a ‘people first’ enterprise by widely involving the community, and not a twinning officially organised and after much ‘official’ junketing, handed back to the community to get on with.
The twinning has proved fruitful at every level and handsome bronze plaques in the Market Places in both Selkirk and Platting attest to the friendship.
Perhaps the underlying reason for the popularity of our twinning was the discovery that the Plattlingers are like-minded, fun-loving, warm and generous people and like Borderers, the Bavarians enjoy a jolly good party. We try hard to reciprocate, even though Plattling is over twice our size and a very wealthy little town. We welcome participation from other Borders towns as does Plattling its nearby towns.
2008, being the 10th anniversary of the Twinning, was celebrated in a singular and memorable way in early September. Plattlingers came to Selkirk in a group of 130 including a youth band, a folk group and 5000 litres of Bavarian beer. The Victoria Hall was taken over for a ‘Stadtfest’ (Town Festival) and the Friday night was a combined traditional Bavarian ‘Festive Evening’ with performances, beer and food (prepared by Plattling and Selkirk cooks) and all to the sound of local Scottish and Bavarian folk music. The following day an ‘all-day market’ with musical entertainment, food and Bavarian and Scottish specialities available at market stalls, was nearly wiped out by appalling weather. However, the Victoria Hall was converted into a ‘bierkaller’ and indoor market with non-stop music and despite everything else being cancelled, we carried on! Innovative ‘oompah band’/bagpipe/brass band music was played for the first time in Scotland, much beer was drunk and no-one complained about the weather.
Despite requests to make this an annual event, 2009 will be a year of rest for the organisers!
Plattling Twinning Group
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