Dunfermline links with continental Europe
The city of Dunfermline celebrates the history of its international links on a sign post located in the Public Park near Dunfermline Park train station. Each twin town appears on a direction sign with the distance from Dunfermline noted in miles. The oldest link, formed in 1945 and still active, is with Trondheim in Norway, 698 miles away. Previous, now dormant, associations are also recorded. In 1979 a twinning link was established with Wilhelmshaven in Germany, 493 miles distant. Other signs point in a southerly direction, towards Logroño in Spain, 943 miles away and to Albufeira (incorrectly spelt on the sign) in Portugal, 1332 miles distant, both links formed in the 1990s. (A partnership association with Vichy in France, arranged in 1990, is not featured on the direction signs.) Beyond Europe, a twinning link with Sarasota, Florida, USA, at a distance of 4264 miles is also displayed.
The link with Trondheim in Norway is also marked on a metal plaque near an orientation map of Pittencrieff Park – known locally as the Glen – situated close to the main Glen Gates (Louise Carnegie Gates) at the junction of Chalmers Street and Bridge Street. The plaque is located on the paved surface close to one of the columns supporting the map and covers a time capsule buried in the ground at the time of a visit by a delegation from Trondheim in August 2000. The capsule is due to be opened in August 2025.
The association with Trondheim began in the closing stages of the Second World War when youth organisations in Dunfermline agreed to provide support for young people in Norway – soon expected to be liberated from Nazi occupation. Trondheim was chosen on account of it also being a historic town with royal associations and, at the time, of a similar size to Dunfermline. At a ceremony, held in May 1945 in the presence of a group of Norwegian sailors based at nearby Rosyth, Dunfermline representatives adopted a Bond of Friendship with Trondheim. A few days later, following the liberation of Norway, the framed document was taken to Trondheim by the Royal Navy and presented to the mayor of the town, who had been released from internment.
The friendship, initially marked by the sending of gifts of clothing, blankets and other items (including a football donated by a local Scout group) from Scotland to Norway, was confirmed in 1946 by Dunfermline welcoming a group of young Norwegians. This was the first of many exchange visits in both directions taking place over the following decades, involving representatives of local government and members of community associations, but mostly young people from schools (some working on collaborative educational projects), youth organisations and groups of young musicians. A visiting Norwegian party in the summer of 2000 included members of the original 1946 youth delegation. Their return visit was commemorated by the time capsule buried in Pittencrieff Park.
In 1997, Dunfermline established an organisation dedicated to further developing the link with its Norwegian twin city. The Dunfermline Trondheim Twinning Association was set up to continue the Bond of Friendship with the youth of Trondheim, to promote contacts between individuals and groups from the two communities and to organise fund-raising activities for this purpose. The Association participated in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Bond of Friendship held in Trondheim in 2015, during which the bond was renewed. The delegation from Dunfermline consisted of civic representatives as well as members of youth organisations. It is believed that the twinning link, originating in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, is the oldest in Scotland.
A road in a post-war (1950s) housing development in the east of Dunfermline is named after the Norwegian twin city. During subsequent redevelopment, the original stretch of road, Trondheim Parkway, became Trondheim Parkway West.
Dunfermline Trondheim Twinning Association. (Website appears inactive.)
English Wikipedia page for Trondheim
Former twinning links
In the Portuguese city of Albufeira, in the Algarve, evidence remains of the now dormant twinning link with Dunfermline in the form of a street name. Rua de Dunfermline is located in the Areias de São João area of the city. The ceramic street sign is attached to a wall at the northern end of the street.
Wilhelmshaven in Germany also has evidence of its former twinning association with the Fife city. A square, close to the waterfront, housing the town’s aquarium, is named Dunfermline-Platz.
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Direction signs, time capsule and road name images © Martin Wilkinson, CC BY-SA 4.0
Bond of friendship image © Municipal Archives of Trondheim, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr
70 years celebration image © Karin Vaughan, CC BY-SA 4.0
Albufeira street sign image © Kolforn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons