Sister city residents complete visit

Sister city residents complete visit
They toured Vermillion and listened to a concert at the National Music Museum.

They visited the Buffalo Run Winery, and learned how the Vermillion's local government provides services to its citizens by walking through the city water treatment plant, the city library and the police department.

These special guests – all residents of Ratingen, Germany, Vermillion's sister city – also visited Pierre to learn more about the workings of state government.

They toured The University of South Dakota and Vermillion High School.

After a week filled with activity here, representatives of Ratingen spent their last full day here as special guests at the Vermillion Rotary Club's Tuesday luncheon meeting.

On Wednesday, the German citizens found time in the morning to shop and take in other sights in Vermillion before leaving for Sioux Falls to catch an afternoon flight home to Germany.

The delegation from Vermillion's sister city included Ratingen Mayor Harald Birkenkamp, Frau Sara Gérg, Frau Dr. Inge Réhnelt, Frau Monika Ebling, Frau Christa Seher-Schneid and Frau Christine Roth.

Gérg said the relationship between Vermillion and Ratingen began approximately 30 years ago. Exchange students from Vermillion traveled to Ratingen on their visit to Germany, and during the nation's bicentennial, a delegation of Ratingen residents traveled to Vermillion.

"In Germany, we are in competition with other cities, because other cities have their own tax," said Ratingen Mayor Harald Birkenkamp.

Dr. Réhnelt is especially proud of the investment Ratingen has made in the cultural development of its young people.

"Last year, we had a year-long event for our young people," she said. "The council of our town said we most hold something for our young people between the ages of 10 and 20, and they gave 100,000 Euros to make cultural events for our young people."

Events ranged from music to sports.

Vermillion Rotarian Mary Edelen noted that there is a Rotary Club in Ratingen. She expressed hope that further cultural exchanges will continue between Vermillion and Ratingen.

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