Abingdon has close links, built up over many years, with its four twin towns: Argentan, France; Lucca, Italy; Schongau, Germany and Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.
There are also close connections with Colmar in France which is twinned with the Vale of White Horse District Council.
Argentan was Abingdon’s first twin town with whom it twinned in 1956.
Argentan is a town in Southern Normandy, comparative in size to Abingdon; it lies in beautiful countryside, amongst stud farms and the Route du Fromage. The town hosts the annual Quasimodo Agricultural Fair the weekend after Easter, a colourful event at which Abingdon is always represented.
In 1967 Sint-Niklaas became Abingdon’s second twin town.
At that time, Sint-Niklaas, which is situated in the heart of Flemish Belgium, between Antwerp and Ghent, was a small town set to grow very quickly. Sint-Niklaas now boasts the largest Market Square in Europe where each September the end of the Nazi occupation is remembered and celebrated in an international hot air balloon festival launched from the Market Place.
Sint-Niklaas was already twinned with the towns of Colmar, Lucca and Schongau. As the Borough Council was keen to promote twinning links with European countries at this time, Abingdon soon became twinned with Schongau (1970) and Lucca (1972).
Schongau is situated in Bavaria and is a delightful walled old town with an important paper industry close by are King Ludwig’s castle at Neuschwanstein and Oberammergau, famous for its Passion Plays.
Lucca in Tuscany is another beautiful walled town and the birthplace of Puccini, among others. It is also famous for its olive oil. It has an extensive printing industry, and therefore a shared interest in paper with Schongau.
As Abingdon was already twinned with a French town, Colmar twinned with the wider Vale of White Horse District Council.
Colmar is the capital of the Alsace wine-producing region and is close to the river Rhine and the Vosges Mountains. The old town is particularly beautiful with its cobbled streets and many half-timbered buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries.
As Abingdon, Lucca, Schongau, Sint-Niklaas and Colmar are twinned with each other, we form part a unique five-star twinning arrangement.
Abingdon’s Twinning Officer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any town twinning enquiries.
Abingdon also has a very active twinning society, the Abingdon & District Twin Towns Society, who organise many twinning events as well as visits to and from our twin towns.