Kreis Siegen Wittgenstein was twinned with the then Borough of Finchley in 1951 when 20 young people left Finchley to visit Siegen. The links with Germany were promoted by the British Government in the late 1940’s in an attempt to prevent the continuation of hostility between the two countries. The links were mainly educational with student exchanges taking place.
The Friends Organisations arrange alternate visits to each others towns annually and between exchange visits they are involved in fundraising events.
Siergerland and Wittgenstein are located in the former Federal Republic in a hilly wooded region at the watershed of the Rhine and Weser rivers about 70 miles east of Cologne and 70 miles north of Frankfurt. They were administratively separate from 1817 until their amalgamation in the course of the local government reform in 1975.
The area comprises of numerous old villages and towns. The city is the district of Siegen which was founded around its upper castle in 1224. The town was the birthplace of the painter Peter Paul Rubens in 1577.
The area is famous for its 2,500 year old iron industry which, although mining ceased in the 1960’s continues in the form of steel processing and the production of machine tools. Agriculture, leisure and tourism are other major elements of the economy.