Bruchey presents key to city to mayoress of sister city

âEUR~Our door is always open for youâEUR(TM)

âEUR~Our door is always open for youâEUR(TM)

October 01, 2007|By Erin Julius

Two mayors spoke to a German class at North Hagerstown High School on Monday, one in English and one in German.

Thirteen honors German students who have studied the language for three semesters introduced themselves to the visitors in halting German.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey presented a golden key to the city to Ulrike Westkamp, mayoress of Hagerstown's sister city, Wesel, Germany.

"Our door is always open for you," Bruchey said to his German counterpart.

He took the German officials golfing, on a tour of City Park, and to local restaurants over the weekend, Bruchey said.

"The portions you get here in America are much larger than you get in Germany," Westkamp told the students.

On this trip, the German visitors brought a picture of one of their previous mayors speaking on the phone during the first transatlantic phone call between officials in the cities, Bruchey told the class.


The sister-city relationship between Wesel and Hagerstown was especially important to the Germans because only a few years after World War II, the bond with America was a sign of friendship and freedom, Westkamp explained to the students.

German officials were impressed by Hagerstown's downtown area, the mayoress and her deputy mayor said.

The variety of old buildings in Hagestown is nice, Westkamp said. Most of Wesel was destroyed in the last days of World War II, so the city is almost entirely new, she said.

"It's nicer for the atmosphere if you have old buildings," she said.

Despite Germany's reputation for being a clean country, Wesel is not as nice and clean as Hagerstown, Westkamp said.

This trip was the first to the United States for Deputy Mayor Wolfgang Jung.

"The city is very clean," he said. "The people are very friendly and polite," he said.

Efforts by the mayor and council to create the city and develop business downtown was also good for the citizens and economy, he said.

"That will be more life in the city," he said.

North Hagerstown principal Valerie Novak and Hagerstown officials showed the German visitors the school's auditorium and lunchroom.

In Germany, students begin specializing in different subjects and trades at a younger age. Allowing students to all go to school together through high school is a better system because it gives them more time to see what they're good at, she said.

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