Bad Liebenzell now visible in Lourinhā as well – a new signpost has been unveiled

At the special invitation of the Câmara Municipal da Lourinhā (town council), a small delegation consisting of representatives from the Bad Liebenzell town council and the chairman of the TA recently travelled to our other twin town.

The date was deliberately chosen by the local councillors because June 24th has significant standing in the Lourinhā district as it is “Council day” and it is celebrated every year. A celebratory ceremony was prepared for the guests this year, so to speak, as a counterpart to the signing of the contract, which occurred on May 31, 2019 during a grand ceremony held in Bad Liebenzell. As a huge counterpart-celebration in Lourinhā for all of the town’s citizens had to be cancelled both last year as well as this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this meeting was organised in order to at least support the signing of the agreement by the Portuguese side. The intended effect of its symbolic power was fully on display. The city centre had earlier been decorated with the flags from both countries in a cleverly chosen combination at many central locations and a large banner with the inscription “Welcome Bad Liebenzell” was put up bilingually in front of the main entrance to the town hall.

The iron signpost, which serves as a central orientation point in front of the town hall and symbolises all of the town’s partnerships with their respective town names and national flags, had another another sign added to it – “Bad Liebenzell 1,783 km” – and it was ceremoniously unveiled by the mayors. Selected musicians from three city bands first played the German national anthem, followed by the Portuguese national anthem and then the European anthem from the Ninth Symphony that Ludwig van Beethoven composed in 1823 as a setting for the “Ode to Joy” written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785.

Mayor Joāo Duarte Anastácio Carvalho and his German counterpart, Mayor Dietmar Fischer, both spoke to numerous representatives from politics, church and the administration afterwards in the AMAL auditorium and underlined the European importance of this mutual association.

The opening of the “Olhar o Mar” fishing museum in Ribamar and a visit to the expanded “Museu GEAL” natural history museum in Lourinhā followed in the afternoon, before a particularly impressive musical concert with “Sebastiāo Antunes & Quadriga” and Celtic folklore in the evening brought the special holiday to a worthy end.

António Alberto Carvalho Santos, chairman of the municipal council and Joāo Serra, head of the department of culture, accompanied the delegation during the day together with Paula Pimenta, secretary to the mayor and other alternating staff from the municipal administration.

The “Calhau no Planalto” art exhibition in Moledo was also visited during the stay. Pena Secca, Csardas, Reguengo Pequeno and Reguengo Grande have all joined together with Moledoto create a free artists’ association with the aim of beautifying abandoned houses and village areas and making them more attractive through art performances of all kinds.

Günther Wallburg, the chairman of the TA, visited Moledo in 2016 and offered to get involved there together with artists from Bad Liebenzell as part of a project week, which was received very positively. Joāo Serra also confirmed, during the current visit, that he would take up this idea and make a specific proposal to have it implemented. In principle, the twinning will be enriched not only by general exchange programs but also through art and culture projects.

The Portuguese side placed great importance on complying with the requirements for combating the pandemic, even though the incidence values in Lourinhā were almost zero when we arrived. A visit to the Lisbon metropolitan area was also cancelled from the invitation programme at short notice due to the emerging increase of the Delta variant in Lisbon.

There were also opportunities to visit the Dino and Budda Park, as well as to take a quick walk on the empty beaches and enjoy the wonderful sea water during the free time.

A very special thank you goes to our two fellow citizens from Bad Liebenzell, Paulo Marques and Carlos Steininger, who made their local private holiday homes available to us and who also looked after the group and provided exemplary and friendly support around the clock.

The grand ceremony will be held in Lourinhā on June 24, 2022 after having being postponed twice. All of the citizens from both of the twined towns are cordially invited to attend.

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