Pasadena’s Sister Cities’ Ludwigshafen, Germany and Järvenpää, Finland Celebrate Anniversaries

Pasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate AnniversariesPasadena\'s Sister Cities Ludwigshafen, Germany and Jävänpää, Finland Celebrate Anniversaries

Article and Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

6:52 pm | May 8, 2013


The Pasadena Sister Cities Committee unveiled a monument set up to honor their five sister cities and held a dinner at Noor to celebrate two sister cities anniversaries on Tuesday, May 7.

This celebration marked a relationship with Ludwigshafen, Germany for 65 years and a 30 year relationship with Järvenpää, Finland.

One person at a time, whether from mayor to mayor or student to student, the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee exists to bring mutual understanding and cooperation through positive exchanges with people of other cultures.

“We look forward to this day because we celebrate the 65th anniversary of this partnership. It’s our oldest partnership and we love to have Pasadena for a partner,” Lord Mayor Dr. Eva Lohse said. “Its very important to have those partnerships to show that we are open, that we are international, that we have the same values and want to work together for freedom.”

This relationship began in 1948, after the devastation of the Second World War. Ludwigshafen had been bombed 107 times during the war, and when Tom and Trudie Hunt of Pasadena saw the city, they went home and implored Pasadena residents to send packages of food, clothing, and blankets. Deep friendships developed and the people of Ludwigshafen were so grateful they elected Ryan Benedict of Pasadena to be the only foreign Honorable person for Ludwigshafen to this day.

Ludwigshafen and Pasadena have developed a wonderful friendship over the years. The two cities have developed a student exchange where two students come for six weeks to Pasadena to do an internship and stay with a family for a cultural exchange. Two students from here also go over to Ludwigshafen for two weeks every year.

Two of these students who came to Pasadena for an internship were at the celebration dinner. They have returned several times since their stays in 2002 and 2007 to visit friends and enjoy the city of Pasadena, which they have come to love so dearly.

“The whole idea is really based on this friendship. You come to a community and stay with a family and you can go deeper then if you just came to go to school,” Franziska Geissler said, “We need the young people to be interested in this whole thing, to be involved and to keep it going.”

At the unveiling of the monument, the Verdugo Hills Showtime Chorus harmonized beautifully, marking the event as a memorable moment and unifying the attendees through song. This international quartet chorus has a special tie to Japanese sister city Mishima. Two years ago they raised $7000 at a luncheon with 250 women to send to Mischma after the Tsunami.

“We really appreciate such grassroots affirmation. Our sister city donated to us after the tsunami two years ago and we really appreciate such help by the sisters,” Deputy Consul General of Japan Masahiro Suga said.

Having a sister city is certainly a reason to celebrate and helps to localize problems for the citizens of Pasadena in a way that they can truly build friendships and provide help when needed. It goes both ways however, as an architect from Järvenpää, Finland recently came to work on a project with the city of Pasadena. The benefits of these relationships abound.

“Were here to celebrate a monument, so that we ourselves in the community and those who visit the city will be informed and duly impressed with the international character of this city,” Mayor Bill Bogaard said.

The five sister cities of Pasadena in Ludwigshafen, Germany (1948), Mishima, Japan (1957), Järvenpää, Findland (1983) Vanadzor, Armeina (1991), and Xicheng District, Bejing, China (1999) were implemented to promote harmony and understanding between cultures of these cities one person at a time, whether mayor to mayor, student to student, or any person open to positive cultural exchange.