Zweibrucken Student Exchange

Yorktown has a special relationship with a city in western Germany. Near the borders with France and Belgium lies Zweibrücken, or “two bridges,” a city of about 40,000 people whose citizens participated as allies to the Continental Army during the American Revolution. You could say that the connection was initially forged when these soldiers from Zweibrücken fought with the French Royal Deux-Ponts regiment alongside the American patriots at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. The troops were instrumental in the allied victory as a result of overtaking the British at Redoubt 9 on October 14, five days before the surrender which eventually led to the end of the Revolutionary War.

One legacy of these soldiers is an annual “exchange” of students between York County and Zweibrücken. Beginning with the first trip in 1979, the York County Board of Supervisors and the schools of Zweibrücken, Germany, have involved hundreds of students and dozens of chaperones in a cultural exchange to promote friendship and understanding between the two countries. Generally ten students and a teacher chaperone have been selected each year to represent each community; the Germans travelling to Yorktown for about three weeks in the spring, and the Yorktown students and chaperone visiting their counterparts in Germany for three weeks in the summer.

Along with visits to the schools, the itineraries have included social events and cultural and historical tours. Lasting personal relationships have been established, helping to foster greater understanding of the cultures. More often than not, students find more similarities than differences. There have been many bridges built across the Atlantic since 1978, and many participants have kept in touch since their time in the program.

In addition to the student involvement, adults from York County and Zweibrücken have been exchanging visits since 1978 in order to foster friendships and understanding of government and business interests.  Generally every two years a delegation crosses the Atlantic for several days, with the visits often corresponding to special events such as Yorktown Day or the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the dukedom of Palatine-Zweibrücken.

We are pleased to share with you some of the memories of the Yorktown-Zweibrücken Student Exchange and adult delegation visits.