peter on tour reisender3 250 

Dear friends of Eurojumelages,

As President of Eurojumelages, it is important for me to get to know you personally at regional and national events. Each section has different wishes and requirements for our organisation. Personal contact is very important to me so that we can continue to meet the wishes, aspirations and concerns of the individual sections in addition to our great common goal of pan-European understanding. In this way, suggestions and requests for changes can be discussed together with my Board members and incorporated into the work of Eurojumelages. It was a great pleasure for me to attend the General Assembly of the German-Swiss Jumelages on 15 April 2023.

Now everything else from the hosts:

At the invitation of the Jumelages Section German-speaking Switzerland to attend the 34th General Assembly in Zurich, Peter Backes - President of the Eurojumelages - travelled by train from Koblenz on the Rhine D to Zurich in Switzerland on Friday 14 April 2023.
peter on tour zurich1 300Having arrived early from Appenzellerland (100 km), Christoph Locher - President of the Jumelages German-speaking Section Switzerland - was waiting for Peter at the hotel reception on Saturday morning. Peter, who was still in his room, knew nothing of his good fortune and it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. After a warm welcome, they took the tram to the city centre for a personal guided tour.
From the main station, they explored the Niederdorf on foot. Through narrow alleys, past historic old walls, guild houses, old houses with their courtyards, numerous cafés, restaurants and shops, they arrived at a church. The Grossmünster is situated a few metres above the Limmat - which flows from Lake Zurich to the Rhine - and from the terrace in front of the Grossmünsteraus you can see quite well to the other side of the city. The clock face of Grosser St. Peter, the Fraumünster church and other guild houses are clearly visible.
peter on tour zurich2 300Peter was very impressed by Zurich. On reaching Lake Zurich, Christoph explained something about the spring festivals held that weekend - the children's parade and Sechseläuten with the burning of the Bög (snowman). They say: the faster the Bög burns, the better the summer will be! For your information: this year 2023 it took a very long 57 minutes, a record!
Over the Quaibrücke (bridge), where the Zürichsee flows into the Limmat, they went to the left side of the city, from where they could admire the Zürichberg with its many prominent villas and the UNI.
Downstream along the Limmat, they visited the vegetable market on one of the bridges.
Via Lindenhof and the city centre, they treated themselves to a coffee at Confiserie Hunold on Rennweg! Via Bahnhofstrasse past Globus & Co. The two of them covered the last steps of the morning outing.
Back on the tram, they went back to the hotel for a rest.
Punctually at 1 p.m. they met again and went on foot through the Zurich-Wiedikon district to the first part of the 34th General Assembly. By the way, our President Christoph spent his youth in this district!

Visit to SRZ - Schutz und Rettung Zürich/HauptwacheBerufsfeuerwehr der Stadt Zürich (Protection and Rescue Zurich/Main Station of the Professional Fire Brigade of the City of Zurich)

Our member Patrik Steiner welcomed us and showed us a film about the tasks of the SRZ, e.g. fire, chemical incidents, motorway accidents, rescuing people and animals in the city and, if necessary, in the canton. This South Station is not the only one, there is also a special facility at Zurich Airport and further locations in the city are planned in order to be at the scene as quickly as possible; the target is 10 minutes. The employees work in a 24-hour shift, i.e. 1 day/night work, then 2 days off and it is not a purely male operation, women also participate.

peter on tour museum 300Then we went to the top floor of the building where the fire brigade museum is located in a large area. We could see how this volunteer organisation developed from the 16th century until today. We were amazed at how it was possible to fight fires with the simplest means: with buckets made of leather, with hollowed-out tree trunks as water pipes, with smaller and later larger hand pumps right up to today's technical equipment. Protective clothing and helmets, masks and oxygen cylinders for respiratory protection were also an issue early on. Whereas in the old days the firemen were called to action with simple smaller and larger horns with a direction indicator via a flag from the church tower of St. Peter, today everything is done with the most modern technology.

After the visit to the museum - one could have marvelled at many more individual objects - today's emergency vehicles were waiting for us in the large garage: from the emergency command vehicle and the vehicle for first responders, both of which are still smaller cars, we went to the multi-purpose vehicle with oil binder and water suction, to the tunnel ventilator, to the universal vehicle for use on motorways or wildfires, to the TLF tank fire-fighting vehicle - equipped with an automatic rotating ladder - suitable for rescue at heights and depths, to the chemical vehicle and also to the pioneer vehicle with crane especially for traffic accidents. Patrik had specific explanations about the available equipment and its applications for each vehicle and also had a lot of questions to answer.
Of course we would have loved to experience a real operation, but since that was not the case, Patrik showed us how the men work.
Patrik showed us how the men and also women can get to their vehicles via a pole slide and collect clothes, shoes, helmets, which are all available in the immediate vicinity.
peter on tour feuerwehr5 1000After a final photo in front of the historic fire engine, we went on foot to the Rest. Falken in Zurich-Wiedikon, where the second part of the General Assembly took place.

 34th General Assembly of the Jumelages Section German-speaking Switzerland in Zurich-Wiedikon

Christoph Locher welcomed the members present to the 34th General Assembly in Zurich-Wiedikon and informed them that he had lived in this district until he was 21 years old. Before handing over to Peter Backes, the President of Eurojumelages, who was also present, C.L. informed the members about the Section, which had been in existence since 1989, when it first saw the light of day as the Postkreis Aarau Argovia Section. He particularly emphasised the good cooperation with the Sections in the border triangle, namely Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Constance and German-speaking Switzerland across three countries and also recalled, for example, the reading with Martin Graff, who has since died, in the border triangle museum in Lörrach, at which Peter Backes was also present in 2020.
peter on tour rede 250Peter Backes, as representative of the Eurojumelages, thanked the Section for the invitation and noted that peace could no longer be taken for granted and that the Eurojumelages also had a part to play in an uncertain future that threatens world-peace. Peter also informed those present that he was also Chairman of the Bonn Section. He also mentioned how his Section had gained additional members through gift memberships.
After Peter Backes' words of greeting, Christoph Locher led the assembly through the agenda item by item. In the agenda item "Elections to the Executive Committee", the outgoing Executive Committee was unanimously re-elected for another 3 years. Unfortunately, there were no new board members! The Executive Committee, as in other sections in Switzerland, is rather outdated.

After the speedy meeting, the President (Christoph Locher) thanked Peter Backes for his visit to Zurich and for his interest in the German-speaking Switzerland Section. Christoph presented Peter with an original Swiss Army Knife in the Jumelagescolours and the logo of the German-speaking Switzerland Section!

After the meeting, the Executive Committee sat together with Peter for a while for an informal discussion, following which everyone said goodbye and went their separate ways.

Report: Christine Widmer, Christian Siebold, Christoph Locher

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