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FIFE TWINNING LINKS

Kirkcaldy link with Ingolstadt in Germany

UNDER DEVELOPMENT

The town twinning link between Kirkcaldy and Ingolstadt was inaugurated during a visit by the Oberbürgermeister of the Bavarian city to the “Lang Toun” on the Fife coast in September 1962. At a ceremony held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, he was joined by the Provost of Kirkcaldy in signing a declaration of friendship between the two communities. During the speeches, the similarities of the two towns were noted, in terms of size and industrial heritage, one located on the Firth of Forth, the other on the river Danube. It was also observed that Scots and Bavarians shared a reputation for stubbornness and pride in their distinctive cultures. A representative of the British Council, who promoted the relationship in the interests of friendship and mutual understanding between Britain and Germany, observed that the two communities formed a “very happy match”.

Flag of Ingolstadt

Over the following decades, an extensive range of links developed between the two towns connecting individuals and community organisations. The first of many exchanges among young people took place in 1963 when a group of 27 students from Kirkcaldy High School visited Ingolstadt. Later, other schools in the town also became involved in exchange visits, as were youth musical groups and sporting teams. A particularly successful relationship was developed between the Kirkcaldy YMCA and the Ingolstadt Youth Council (Stadtjugendring), thanks in no small measure to the visits of the YMCA pipe band. The flourishing links did not only involve young people. In 2019, a team from Kirkcaldy introduced Ingolstadt to walking football – a shortened game for players over 50 years of age.

[Raith Rovers walking football team, 2019]

A further aspect of the twinning relationship was the exchange of ideas concerning common urban issues affecting the two communities, such as the provision of housing, town planning and traffic management. During a visit in the 1960s, the Oberbürgermeister of Ingolstadt noted, approvingly, the “modest” life-style of the citizens of Kirkcaldy and remarked on the consideration given by motorists to pedestrians in the town. Later, in the mid-1980s, with the Fife town suffering high levels of unemployment, a delegation from Kirkcaldy visited Ingolstadt to exchange ideas on measures for ameliorating the arising social problems through training and other programmes.

Raising public awareness of the twinning link was also important. In 1966, Kirkcaldy held a “friendship exhibition” in the recently opened City Theatre (Stadttheater) in Ingolstadt, featuring the history and economy of the Fife town. The 5-day exhibition was attended by 10,000 visitors. The following year, Ingolstadt staged a similar exhibition in Kirkcaldy, coinciding with the 5th anniversary of the twinning link. Decades later, around the turn of the century, Kirkcaldy used the opportunity of regular participation, alongside Ingolstadt’s other twin towns, in the bi-annual Central Bavarian Exhibition trade fair (Mittelbayerische Ausstellung) to promote awareness of the twinning arrangements among the Bavarian public and to showcase local Fife produce and traditional Scottish music. In 2023, two students attending Fife College in Kirkcaldy travelled to Bavaria to strengthen the twinning link by managing a stall at the Ingolstadt Christmas market – The Kirkcaldy Christmas Cabin – featuring Scottish food and drink.

[The Kirkcaldy Christmas Cabin in 2013]

Administrative changes in Scotland in the mid-1990s, resulting in the loss of Kirkcaldy’s local administration, prompted the establishment of the Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Twinning Association in the Fife town with the aim of continuing the development of the twinning relationship. In Ingolstadt, the Freundschaftsverein Ingolstadt-Kirkcaldy (F.IN.KY) was formed for the same purpose in the following year.  An imaginative outcome of this development was the design, by a young Ingolstadt graphic artist, of a mascot for the Kirkcaldy-Ingolstadt link – Sir McFinky – a small rotund bearded cartoon character, wearing a kilt and a Tyrolean hat, with a set of pipes under one arm and a full mug of Bavarian beer in the other hand.

[Sir McFinky]

Bavarian beer does indeed play an important role in the twinning partnership. On a number of occasions since 2003, a Bavarian Beer and Music Festival has been held in Kirkcaldy – complete with imported Bavarian beer and the participation of a traditional brass band from Ingolstadt, the Hampara. The festival, originally held in a park in Kirkcaldy, has subsequently taken place in the central Town Square.

[Poster for beerfest]

Inevitably, the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic caused many contacts to fade, though some were maintained in virtual form. However, the 60th anniversary of the twinning agreement in 2022 provided an opportunity to reinvigorate the relationship between the twin towns by holding a series of special events. These included a further visit to Kirkcaldy by the Hampara brass band. The popular visitors from Ingolstadt performed at a range of venues including at a Raith Rovers football match and held a joint concert with the Kirkcaldy and District Pipe Band. The two bands played together later that year when the Kirkcaldy musicians visited Ingolstadt.

The 60th anniversary was also marked in the Fife town by the presentation from Ingolstadt of a replica miniature model of the historic Bavarian city, originally carved in wood in 1571.The model was installed on a plinth in Kirkcaldy Town Square.

Model of Ingolstadt in the 16th century

If you have any additional information about this twinning link that you would like to share with us, please use the form available HERE.

Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Association Facebook page

Freundschaftsverein Ingolstadt-Kirkcaldy (F.IN.KY) (Website appears inactive.)

English Wikipedia page for Ingolstadt

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Flag of Ingolstadt image, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Ingolstadt model image © Paul Vyšný, CC BY-SA 4.0