One hundred thirty-one years after being chartered as a city, Lawrence officially gained a sister today.
The cities of Lawrence and Eutin, West Germany, declared their friendship and entered into a sister city agreement in ceremonies this morning at city hall. Copies of the official "Declaration of Friendship" between the sister cities, in both English and German translations, were signed by Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm and Eutin Mayor Gernot-E. Grimm.
"It is indeed a great morning for the city of Lawrence and for the city of Eutin," Schumm said.
On hand for the ceremony was a crowd of more than 30 well-wishers, including a delegation from Eutin, the Lawrence City Commission, members of the Lawrence-based Friends of Eutin, and representatives from the Lawrence Sister City Advisory Board, formed in 1987 to recommend cities with which Lawrence might formalize ties.
Eutin (pronounced oy-teen) is a city of 16,500 in far northern West Germany, near the Baltic Sea. Its ties to Lawrence date to 1964 when Helmut Huelsbergen, a Kansas University professor, made contact with Eutin officials on behalf of the KU German department. The discussions resulted in the first KU Summer Language Institute being held in Eutin in 1966.
GRIMM SAID the relationships kindled by visiting KU students and their host families in Eutin provided the basis for the sister city relationship.
"In recent times, there have been a number of attempts to initiate partnerships between towns from a purely official level. However, the links which we've made steadily over many years between Eutin and Lawrence have, we feel, grown up naturally. . . . That's why, we trust, these links will prove more fruitful and longer lasting," Grimm said.
In addition to the signing, gifts were exchanged, a series of logos created by KU Fine Arts students marking the relationship were displayed, and a reception for the officials and guests was held.
Frank Baron, a KU German professor, and Helmut Scheewe, an Eutin teacher with a longtime relationship with the Summer Language Institute, unveiled a list of projects and areas of agreement for the two cities to work toward achieving in their new-found sister city partnership.
THE LIST calls for annual exchanges, beginning in June 1990 of students between Lawrence High School and the Voss and Von Weber gymnasia (high schools) in Eutin; affiliations between Kansas University libraries and the Eutin library, which houses a collection of books dating to the time of Martin Luther; exchanges in the arts, theater and music; establishing an exchange of resident artists and authors; exchanges of choirs and sports organizations; furthering commercial and industrial cooperation between the two cities; and helping visitors find accommodations in the sister cities.
In addition, officials have agreed that a Lawrence delegation, representing a broad range of community interests chosen in consultation with the Lawrence City Commission, will visit Eutin in the summer of 1990.
SCHUMM SAID all of the work by the Sister Cities Advisory Board, the Friends of Eutin and by those in West Germany culminating in the sister city agreement was worth the effort.
"This is a great step forward," he said. "I am especially proud at this particular moment to establish this sister city relationship."
Schumm thanked the Eutin visitors for coming to Lawrence. The delegation, which arrived Monday, will leave Saturday.
"We hope they have enjoyed being here in Lawrence as much as we enjoyed having them here," Schumm said.