Mayor Rees was invited to Hannover as part of the 70th celebrations and to sign a re-affirmation of the twinning. The Mayor undertook two very busy days of meetings, speeches and events including speaking at the Hannover Trade Fair open day on the occasion of its own 70th anniversary.
The trade fair was set up by the British Army as an idea to bolster the German economy in 1947 and Hannover was the only German city who wanted to host it! The Mayor also gave speeches at key events including the Festival of Cultures and the International Fireworks Festival where over 10,000 people gathered for the British weekend. Bristol singer-songwriter Daisy Chapman was headlining the music stage.
He also gave a series of interviews to the local press, TV and radio highlighting the importance of the relationship in the context of BREXIT. The Mayor spoke passionately about this as part of a special service in Hannover’s cathedral , the Marktkirche on the Sunday where members of Bristol Cathedral were also present and the Bristol Canon Sarah Evans, delivered the sermon in German.
A range of meetings also took place including with the Hannover Refugee and Migrants organisation MiSO and the Regional Transport Company UESTRA. The highpoint of the visit was the official ceremony at the Rathaus with over 120 people, including many who have taken part in exchanges with Bristol over decades. The Goetheschule students gave a presentation about their longstanding links with Cotham school. And the deputy British ambassador also spoke at the event alongside Mayor Rees and Oberbuergermeister Schostock. He said he had first come to Hannover as a 12 year old schoolboy from Bristol and had been inspired to learn German and pursue a career in international relations.
The ceremony ended with Mayor Rees presenting Herr Schostock with a colourful framed poster of Bristol icons and signing the Hannover Golden Book.