Saffron Walden (England)
Saffron Waldon is located approximately 50 km north east of London in the County of Essex. A school exchange between the secondary school in Bad Wildungen and Saffron Walden County High School has existed since 1968. Diverse relationships have resulted from this exchange and the certification of the partnership was celebrated in 1986.
The origins of this town can be traced back to the Stone Age.
Saxons settled in the area centuries later and the Normans built a small settlement in the Middle Ages. Saffron Walden was granted the right to hold markets in 1141 and it finally received its full town charter in 1845.
Malt and saffron products formed the economic basis of the town into the 19th century. The saffron crocus became part of the town’s coat of arms.
Today, Saffron Walden is a prosperous commercial and residential town. There are around 15,000 inhabitants, many of whom have visited Bad Wildungen over the years.
Saint Jean de Maurienne (France)
The town of Saint Jean is around 900 km away from Bad Wildungen and is located near Chambéry in the French Alps. St. Jean can be seen as the cradle of the dynasty of princes of Savoy, an historic region between Lake Geneva, the Rhône and Turin that has only been a part of France since 1860.
The town got its name and coat of arms from a young girl named Thècle who is reported to have embarked on a pilgrimage to Egypt in the 6th century. On her return, she brought three fingers back with her as a relic. The enshrinement of this relic lead to St. Jean becoming a diocesan town that same year.
With around 11,000 inhabitants, today's St. Jean is the capital of the Maurienne region.
It has a very strong economy and a thriving tourist industry thanks to its convenient transportation links and the surrounding ski resorts.
The town of Yichun is located in the north east of the People’s Republic of China in the Heilongjiang Province. It was founded in 1958 in the middle of extensive forests and is known internationally as a ‘forest city.’ Forestry prospers thanks to the sub cold, continental climate with significant rainfall and a wide network of streams and rivers. Yichun has come a long way since it was founded and now has 1.5 million inhabitants.
The administrative area extends over 3.93 million hectares, 62.5% of which is covered by forest. Although the area is rich in mineral resources, forestry, timber and the furniture industry are the main economic players.
The close relationship between the Timber Technical School in Bad Wildungen and Yichun lead to the establishment an official partnership between the towns in 1988. Despite the huge distance involved this has been a success thanks to regular correspondence and small group visits.