Wolfenbuttel, Germany visitors and their Kenosha hosts, courtesy of UW-Parkside


How Kenosha Spans the Globe

Did you know that Kenosha has not just one, but FOUR Sister Cities?! During the summer of 2015, a group of visitors from one of the Sister Cities - Wolfenbuttel, Germany - explored the Kenosha Area. Led by Wolfenbuttel Mayor Thomas Pink, the group was in the region for a 10-day visit. Local stops included Carthage College, UW-Parkside, Kemper Center, the Civil War Museum, local businesses, and more.

What is a Sister City? President Eisenhower reasoned during the Cold War that a path to peace could be created by building bonds between people of different cultures. He launched the People-To-People Program, which led to today’s non-profit organization, Sister Cities International. Kenosha established its own Sister Cities Association of Kenosha. And so Kenosha has four sister cities. Regular visits - of student and adult groups - and exchanges take place between Kenosha and its Sister Cities. Visitors stay with host families. 

The Sister City relationships are symbolized a few ways in our community:

Wolfenbuttel, Germany: Kenosha’s Sister City since 1970. You can visit Kenosha’s 15-acre Wolfenbuttel Park near Lake Michigan - named for the German city. (If this makes you hungry for delicious German food, dine at House of Gerhard.)

Douai, France: a Sister City since 1981. If you shop at Kenosha HarborMarket during the summer, some of the vendors are located at Place de Douai. This is in HarborPark, just south of the Kenosha Public Museum. The plaza showcases the Wallace Fountain, donated by the citizens of Douai.

Cosenza, Italy: a Sister City since 1979. Also located in HarborPark – at the far east side in the area called Celebration Place – is a bronze Christopher Columbus fountain. Sculpted by former Kenosha resident Michael Martino, the fountain symbolizes the connection between Kenosha and Cosenza. Many summer festivals take place near this fountain, including Taste of Wisconsin™, HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival, and Grill Games.

Quezon City, Philippines: a Sister City since 1986. There's not anything in Kenosha at this time that represents the city.

I asked Kenosha Sister Cities President Hede Horne how these four cities were chosen. She replied: “Wolfenbuttel wrote a letter to Kenosha asking if we wanted to be their sister city, and we said yes. Douai evolved out of the partnership between American Motors and the French Car company Renault. Cosenza was chosen because of all the Italian immigrants from that area who settled in Kenosha. Quezon City became our sister city because (of) a Kenoshan marrying a person from Quezon City.”

Of course, it’s not just the City of Kenosha that has international ties. Our educational institutions – including Carthage College and UW-Parkside – have international students and other global ties. In one example, a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2014 between UW-Parkside and Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences in Mikkeli, Finland for student and faculty exchanges to take place. Given my family’s Finnish roots, this bit of news caught my eye. Among UW-Parkside’s other partnerships: one with Ostfalia University of Applied Science in Wolfenbuttel!

Numerous global companies have locations in Kenosha. These two have been headquartered in the community a long, long time: Jockey International, Inc. (Kenosha-based since 1893) and Snap-on Incorporated (here since 1930). And we can’t forget that automobile manufacturing took place in Kenosha for 100+ years! Many proud owners of American Motors cars have traveled here from overseas for large AMC car shows over the years.

We hear time and time again from visitors that Kenosha offers big city amenities with a small town feel. I’d like to add to that: big city amenities with a small town feel AND a global reach!

The photo on top is of the Wolfenbuttel visitors and their Kenosha hosts, courtesy of UW-Parkside via Flickr. Special thanks to Kenosha Sister Cities President Hede Horne for providing information.


This originally appeared in the KACVB Blog, author Meridith Jumisko, Aug 7, 2015


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