Detmold - In the Heart of Europe

Detmold - in the Heart of Europe

Detmold has established five town partnerships and one town friendship to take part in the peaceful and democratic connection of European nations.

After the respective town Councils have decided the establishment of a town partnership, it is affirmed through the signature of a certificate. A town friendship, in contrast, does not require a Council vote. Instead, the two majors sign a friendship treaty.

By establishing good relations to several European towns, Detmold has built a well functioning network which offers school and internship exchanges, club congresses, Europe days/weeks, Europe conferences, citizen meetings, youth meetings and management exchanges. This network is supported by several different international culture clubs. If you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are looking forward to receiving your questions.

We regard the European coexistence of differing cultures as a precious chance to exchange knowledge and experience. Looking past established horizons means the removal of borders in our hearts and minds and a refreshing change in viewpoints. Young people in Detmold grow up thinking internationally. Numerous opportunities are being facilitated for our local economy. In 2013 Detmold has been presented with the commendation of "Europaaktive Kommune in Nordrhein-Westfalen" ("European municipality in Nord Rhine-Westphalia").



A guest at friends

v.l.n.r.: Astrid Illers (Team Europa | Internationale Zusammenarbeit der Stadt Detmold), Antonia Katzke, Dorian Lauwerier, Henning Katzke, Gastmutter Annelie Katzke und Marcus Coesfeld (Leiter der Museumspädagogik des Archäologischen Freilichtmuseums Oerlinghausen)

Student trainee from Saint-Omer visits Detmold

Dorian Lauwerier has been learning German for five years, likes the German language and culture and would like to work in a library, museum or town hall. Thanks to the internship exchange programme Detmold runs with its twin cities, the 17-year-old has been able to do so: Dorian spent two weeks with a host family in Oerlinghausen, during which time he completed an internship at the Archaeological Open Air Museum.

Dorian likes to remember his stay in Lippe: "This was one of my best trips so far. I learned a lot in the open-air museum, and the staff took good care of me." Dorian would particularly like to thank his host family: "They played board games with me, watched films with me and were generally very hospitable. Although Dorian was far away from home, he was able to integrate quickly: "There were no language problems because we were able to communicate well with an interesting mix of German, English, French and body language," recalls the host family, who warmly welcomed Dorian and brought him closer to his host country, for example through excursions to the Adlerwarte or the Hermann Monument.

Marcus Coesfeld, head of museum pedagogy at the Archäologischer Freilichtmuseum, also knows that national borders play no role in the internship: "After initial shyness, Dorian quickly came out of herself and now talks almost like a waterfall in German. During his internship, Dorian helped build a museum educational facility, helped prepare the Gladiators' Day last August and, together with Marcus Coesfeld, supervised the museum's stand at the Sparrenburgfest in Bielefeld. "Dorian was really an enrichment for us", Marcus Coesfeld sums up. Dorian's host family can only agree with him: "It's great to meet people from other European countries in such a personal and uncomplicated way". For Dorian himself, one thing is certain: "I was able to improve my German very much and was well received. The internship in Lippe was a very positive experience for me.

Detmold delegation provided aid for fugitives in Greece

v.l.n.r.: Martina Gurcke (Team Europa Stadt Detmold), Charlotte Thomale-Friesenhahn, Simon Gau, Sebastian Illigens, Bürgermeister Rainer Heller, Elke Neuhaus, Nadine Al-Bayaa und Alina Saak. Bei einem Gespräch mit Bürgermeister Rainer Heller präsentierten einige Mitglieder der Detmolder Delegation ihre Erfahrungen und Erlebnisse.

Young people reported on their experiences

Packing food parcels, working on the distribution of goods and making contact with the local fugitive aid - this is the rough daily routine of eleven young Detmolders who got an idea of the situation in Detmold's twin town Oraiokastro. As part of the encounter project "Flight - Arrival - Future", they conducted interviews, gained impressions of the situation and provided help. In a conversation with Mayor Rainer Heller and interested Detmolders, four young people from the delegation and their companion Elke Neuhaus reported on their experiences.

Since the Arab Spring, numerous people from the Middle East have made the long and dangerous journey to Europe and have reached European soil in Greece, for example in Detmold's twin town Oraiokastro. The situation of the people there is difficult. Greece does much of the work with refugees for the whole of Europe. Help is provided by various organisations. Nevertheless, it is important not to leave the Greek population and the fugitives alone. The aim of the trip was therefore not only to get a picture of the situation on the ground, but also to make contacts and to convey to the people of Oraiokastro that they had not been forgotten by Europe. "The work with fugitives does not stop for a long time. Therefore it is important that we exchange with Greece and create lasting connections there", emphasize Mayor Rainer Heller.

The Detmold delegation could gather many impressions: They visited the different actors in Oraiokastro, got an insight into their work and projects. "We now know, for example, that donations of money from Germany are better than donations in kind. The organisations then use the money to buy food and clothing locally in Greece and at the same time boost the local economy," explains Elke Neuhaus. The Detmolders not only brought impressions and contacts, but also ideas on how to enrich the work with fugitives in Detmold, for example with an exhibition of art by fugitives in the town hall.

The project was supported in the context of the competition "Europe at home" of the Minister for Federal and European Affairs, International Affairs and Media. Further information on the project can be found here: Link to the project blog

"Europe at our Home" - encounter project in Oraiokastro, Greece

Waves of refugees, Fortress Europe - strong images dominate the public image of the situation of refugees in Greece. On the other hand, on the spot, one gains completely new impressions. This experience was made by a group from Detmold who travelled to the twin town of Oraiokastro as part of the city's "Europe at Home" project.

Since the Arab Spring, numerous people from the Middle East have taken on the long and dangerous journey to Europe and reached European soil in Greece, for example in the Detmold twin city of Oraiokastro. The people on the ground have done a great deal of work with refugees for the whole of Europe. In the region around Oraisokastro there are several thousand refugees. The situation of the people is difficult: some are struggling with legal problems and slow procedures, others with homelessness. Help is provided by various organisations with which the Detmold delegation met to interview, gain impressions and help.

Therefore, an eleven-member delegation from Detmold travelled to Greece on 27 May 2017 as part of the encounter project "Flight - Arrival - Future". The aim of the trip was to bring the young participants of the delegation into contact with the refugee work on site, to gather experience and to carry it back to Germany, as well as to provide concrete help. The Detmold group spoke with a large number of volunteers, both from Greece and from other European countries. Some are pessimistic about the situation in Greece, others express hope for a solution to the crisis. In any case, there is still work to be done. A debriefing for interested parties will take place on 11.07.2017 at 17.30 h in the city hall.

The organisation and preparation of the trip was carried out by the City of Detmold, Department Europe|International Cooperation, with the support of the German-Greek Friends of Detmold, the Lippische Landeskirche and the Refugee Aid Detmold. These and other organizations will also be involved in the follow-up of the trip in order to apply the collected knowledge extensively and productively in Germany.

Further information about the work of the group and the initiatives can be found here:

Internships in the European Parliament

In addition to the 751 Members of the European Parliament who have offices in Brussels and Strasbourg, the European Parliament itself regularly seeks trainees. University graduates can apply for the Robert Schuman Scholarship. In addition, training placements are offered in fields such as journalism and translation. The duration of the traineeship varies between three and five months and all traineeships are paid. You can find more information about the internships here.

The online application form can be found here.

Our twin towns:

Hasselt (B)

After the Lippe theatre from Detmold visited Hasselt, on May 6, 1976 a town partnership was signed between Detmold and the Belgian town. Located in Limburg, Hasselt has several monuments, churches, and museums to boost, as well as an international reputation as a prime shopping location with renowned fashion on offer. Also, its 76,000 inhabitants know how to celebrate - if you do, too, please visit the carnival, the rock festival Pukkelpop, or the famous Virga Jesse festival.

Our twin towns:

Saint-Omer (F)

Detmold's oldest town partnership, since June 29, 1969, involves Saint-Omer in the far north of France. A small town with 14,000 inhabitants, it nonetheless has a lot to offer: the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Saint-Omer is a veritable landmark, and the idyllic moorlands around the town are as attractive to friends of nature as the regional natural preserve is.

Our twin towns:

Savonlinna (FI)

Detmold and the Finnish Savonlinna are partnered since June 11, 2004. The 35,000 inhabitants have to make due with less than two thirds of the town's area, since the other parts lie below water: Savonlinna is located in the midst of the Saimaa lake area. Every year, its International Opera Festival draws lots of visitors to castle Olavinlinna, the biggest attraction of the town.

Our twin towns:

Zeitz (D)

After the peaceful revolution in East Germany, the towns of Detmold and Zeitz (in Saxony-Anhalt) made use of the newly opened borders to agree upon a town partnership on August 18, 1990. Zeitz, with its 29,000 inhabitants, is especially blessed with its well-preserved historical architecture. Of note: the extensive system of medieval subterranean hallways beneath the town's surface, since 1991 open to the public.

Our twin towns:

Oraiokastro (GR)

Since 2006 a friendship existed between Detmold and the greek Kallithea, which later became part of the town of Oraiokastro. On June 15, 2013, a town partnership came into being. There have been many youth meetings and cultural projects shared between the two towns ever since.

Our town friendships:

Verona (I)

A town friendship between Verona and Detmold has been signed for on Mai 20, 2006. Nearly 260,000 people inhabit the townin northern Italy, well known for its rich ancient and medieval architecture. Well worth a visit, for example, is the famous Arena di Verona.

International internship program

This portal is being maintained by the town of Detmold to facilitate internship exchanges - for students from Detmold to visit our twin towns, as well as for international students who are interested in doing an internship in Detmold. The aim is to bring students, host families, and corporations together as easily as possible, in our twin towns and in Detmold alike. Therefore, we adress three groups of people with decisive importance to this project of European exchange:


We wish to welcome international students to Detmold and to support them. If you are looking for an internship in Detmold, we will help you to find a suitable position as well as a host family. Our goal is to assist you in your arrival at a new location, in a new culture, so that you feel right at home here in Detmold.

Host families

To help international interns not only to work in Detmold but to arrive in a new environment as pleasantly and uncomplicated as possible, we want to establish a pool of people here in Detmold who are willing to accept a young person into their homes and their lives for the duration of his/her stay.


To be able to offer internships to students from our partner towns, we need local corportations who are willing to train young people from around Europe. Therefore, we maintain a data base of interested businesses and organizations to contact when potential interns are on the look for a position.