Over the years, the Borough Council, through its Twinning Committee and in conjunction with a number of Twinning Associations in the borough, has had increasingly wide and varied involvement with communities in Europe through pupil exchanges, cultural and sporting events and the more formal civic visits.
Tonbridge and Malling has been twinned with Le Puy-en-Velay since 1968 and with Heusenstamm in Germany since 1984. Le Puy-en-Velay, with a population of some 60,000 inhabitants lies to the south-east of the Massif-Central, a little over 80 miles from Lyons, while Heusenstamm, with a population of approximately 18,000 inhabitants is only 10 miles from Frankfurt, in the valley of the River Main.
Following the storm of 1987 the Friendship Circle in Heusenstamm presented a gift of 400 saplings (oak, lime, ash, hornbeam and wild cherry) to Tonbridge and Malling to create a "Friendship Wood" within Haysden Country Park; a much-appreciated gesture and just one example of how twinning can create strong links between communities. The Heusenstamm Friendship Circle in Tonbridge aims to bring together those who are interested in twinning, to encourage people to take part in visits to Heusenstamm and to receive visitors from Germany: to help and advise those who wish to make private visits, and to meet socially.
To find out more about the Heusenstamm Friendship Circle visit www.heusenstammfriendshipcircle.co.uk.
Within the borough there are now a number of other twinning links: Snodland is twinned with Moyeuvre-Grande in the north-east of France, Ditton with Rang-du-Fliers, Malling with Auchel (both in north-west France) and Burham with L'Epine in the Champagne area, about 100 miles to the east of Paris.
For further information on twinning in Tonbridge and Malling, contact firstname.lastname@example.org