Twinning of Guildford with Freiburg – 40th Anniversary Celebrations

2019 sees the 40th anniversary of the twinning of Guildford with Freiburg in southwest Germany: cue for celebrations by the Guildford Twinning Association in partnership with Guildford Borough Council.

40 years of a partnership which is still alive and meaningful! As proof of that, an artistic exchange between the two towns kicked off on 4 May, when artists from Freiburg brought their sculptures to Guildford.  This was the start of the annual Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden on the Birtley Estate in Bramley, an exhibition of contemporary sculptures throughout May which this year included works by three Freiburg artists.  Then, from mid-May to mid-June, a second exhibition, this time indoors and devoted to the works of five Freiburg artists, was held at Guildford House.

These Freiburg works included “Voices of the World” – an interactive, intercultural and participatory project, an intriguing way of giving artistic form to our ideas on the spiritual. Beautifully illustrated texts were displayed in open book form, dotted around the exhibition space like a flock of butterflies or birds, with viewers invited to contribute new texts for the artists to interpret.

Private view parties were held at both venues by the Guildford Twinning Association for guests including Freiburg and Guildford artists, VIPs including the Mayor of Guildford and the joint presidents of Freiburg’s Anglo-German Club representing the Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) of Freiburg, and of course members of the Association.  The parties featured congratulatory speeches thanking the Association for their 40-year contribution to international friendship and co-operation, toasted in Freiburg wines donated by Freiburg friends.

These exhibitions are the first part of an arts exchange: the second part will be an exhibition in Freiburg of works by Guildford artists in 2021.  If you are an artist based in Guildford and you are interested, email the Guildford Twinning Association at


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