Apart from the twice-yearly student exchange, the partnership between Handewitt and the Latvian town of Salacgriva has been burning at a low flame. After almost three years in office, Mayor Thomas Rasmussen, accompanied by a duo each from local politics and the "Salacgriva-Handewitt" circle of friends, paid the port city in the Baltic States a first visit in November. The delegation from Handewitt spent almost five days in Salacgriva, the large municipality on the Via Baltica, and was impressed by the warm welcome, the harmonious meetings and the colorful program.
Barely landed in Riga and transported by minibus to Salacgriva, Mayor Dagnis Straubergs welcomed the guests. Handing over small coats of arms signaled, "You belong to us now!" The next morning followed the official reception in the city administration. English was spoken, or interpreter Inta Cirsa helped. "I was impressed by how quickly and successfully Latvia has freed itself from the shackles of communism and set up many good projects," Thomas Rasmussen recognized. "And I was amazed at the many parallelisms in the treatment of municipal fields of action." Commercial development, bypasses or broadband supply are equally important topics in Handewitt as in Salacgriva.
The days were marked by the national holiday, which was the 98th anniversary. "It was a special honor for me to attend the Independence Day of Latvia," emphasized the main committee chairman Marx Plagemann. The day before, the Handewitter visited the local school, which had grown to 1200 pupils and impressed with large sports grounds. There was a concert with poems, finally all rose to the national anthem. Independence Day itself was commemorated by the people of Salacgriva with a tribute to volunteerism. Thomas Rasmussen participated with a greeting - in Latvian. The evening closed with a dance performance.
The German guests also visited the districts of the Latvian municipality, whose 9000 inhabitants are spread over 700 square kilometers. Near Ainazi, a high moor spread out in a huge nature reserve. A view of the border with Estonia was possible. In Dunte a museum dedicated to Baron von Münchhausen was waiting. In Liepupe, at the concert of a mixed choir, the first row was reserved for the Handewitter delegation. "What this choir performed was of the highest quality," marveled mayor Bruno Lorenzen. A performance in Handewitt was planned. They also went to the capital Riga: automobile museum, market halls, the National Art Museum and a festival of lights in the old town were on the program.
The landing in Hamburg was not round due to a storm warning, but the balance of the trip was all the more round. The first official Handewitter visit to Salacgriva since 2010 was considered positive. "We are happy that despite many changes the partnership continues," said Dagnis Straubergs. "We are ready to cooperate also in cultural and sports fields." Bernd Rehmke, chairman of the Friends Association, took the municipality to task for maintaining the partnership, but at the same time announced that his association would like to do more "so that Handewitter citizens learn more about Salacgriva." (ki; sh:z)