Sister City Program
Blue Ash has developed a sister city relationship with a community in Germany -- Ilmenau (pronounced “ill’ - men - ow”). Blue Ash’s first visit to Ilmenau was in February 2000, and Ilmenau’s first visit to Blue Ash occurred in late May/early June 2000. There have been several delegation visits to and from both communities since that time, with the typical schedule being that each community alternates visits each year. Typical delegations from each community are comprised of representatives from City Council, the City Administration, the universities, and business communities. The first high school (Sycamore) student visit to Ilmenau occurred in February 2001, and the first exchange at the university level, between UC/Raymond Walters College in Blue Ash and Ilmenau Technical University occurred in August 2001. Several university exchange visits have occurred since. (For information regarding the official exchange program between the University of Cincinnati and the Technische Universitaet Ilmenau, click here. )
Ilmenau, Germany is a community 20 square miles in size with a population of 32,000. Ilmenau is located in the German state of Thuringia (in the middle of Germany) and has a 30-member Council representing five political parties. Ilmenau’s administrative budget is about $32 million and capital budget is about $18 million. Ilmenau is viewed very positively by Germans as it is a community rich in culture and history. One of the giants in world literature, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, did much of his writing in Ilmenau.
The Blue Ash Council and Administration believe Ilmenau makes a good sister city match for Blue Ash for many reasons. Ilmenau, like Blue Ash, is a progressive community. Since Germany’s reunification in 1989, with the help of the German national government, Ilmenau has prospered. Old world beauty and charm has been preserved, but modern development is also characteristic of Ilmenau, including a high-tech business park. Ilmenau, like Blue Ash, is a community balanced between residential and business development. The Blue Ash delegation believes Ilmenau could become a major tourist area in Germany since it is a scenic area rich in culture and history. Both communities also offer outstanding educational services, including post high school opportunities. Blue Ash envisions a number of potential benefits of a sister city relationship with Ilmenau, including economic development and business opportunities, instructor and student exchanges between the Ilmenau Technical University and Raymond Walters College/UC, exchanges between local high schools (including Sycamore High and Ursuline Academy in Blue Ash), development of pen pal (or E-mail) relationships among grade school students, exchange programs among local youth sports teams/leagues, and cultural/tourist visits.
To find out more about Ilmenau, click on www.ilmenau.de
An interesting article about Blue Ash's Sister City, Ilmenau, Germany, appeared in the April/May 2006 edition of German Life magazine. Click here to see that article (in PDF format).