Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, has embarked on a two-day trip to Toulouse Tuesday (February 7-8, 2017) in his function as German-French Cultural Representative. His trip comes after Sigmar Gabriel’s first trip to Paris on January 27 – a day after becoming Germany’s new Foreign Minister. Hamburg has traditionally had long ties with France.
Training and youth mobility
Scholz met Airbus representatives and toured the plant in Toulouse on Tuesday. Talks on Wednesday are focusing on strengthening co-operation in professional and vocational training as well as mobility among youths in Germany and France. The mayor is also due to visit an aviation training centre and meet leading business figures and representatives of the Académie de Toulouse, the German-French Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the German-French Youth Association. A “Memorandum of Understanding” sealing co-operation between Hamburg and Toulouse is due to be signed with the municipal association of Toulouse Métropole. To this end, Scholz will meet Jean-Claude Dardelet, Vice-President of Toulouse Métropole.
Trade relations between Hamburg and France
Hamburg’s close ties with Toulouse are centuries old and date back to the 13th century when merchants began importing wine marking the start of the Hanse city’s long wine trade. Today, aircraft make up the lion’s share of the EUR 30 billion in foreign trade with France. Hamburg and Toulouse together with Seattle form the world’s three biggest aviation centres.
Around 1,130 firms in Hamburg have economic ties with France and about 130 have branches in the country or a share in a German-French joint venture. France’s largest shipping company, CMA CGM, Eules Hermes SA – the world’s largest credit insurer, have branches in Hamburg as well as the Marseille-based JCDecaux which specialises in outdoor advertising, public bicycle rental systems and street furniture. Marseille is of one Europe’s key crude oil ports and one of Hamburg’s twin cities. The rapprochement, begun between the pair in 1958, was a factor in German-French post-war reconciliation. Next year marks the 60th anniversary of this special bond.
HamburgAmbassadors in Marseille, Paris and Toulouse
The HamburgAmbassador network was created in 2005 to raise international awareness of Hamburg by promoting new projects and acting as points of contact for those interested in the city. Hamburg has three ambassadors in the south of France alone: Angela Reverdin Gabriel in Marseille, Prof. Wolfgang Michalski in Paris and Dieter Kästner in Toulouse.
Savoir-vivre in Hamburg
In May 2017, a delegation from Nantes in western France, will attend the 828th anniversary of the Port of Hamburg. In November, the German-French society Cluny e.V. Hamburg will host the 62nd Congress of the German-French Federation of Associations in Europe e. V. in Hamburg. Around 5,000 French people reside in Hamburg bringing a French flair to the city. The Institut Français promotes French culture abroad through artistic exchanges – the performing arts, visual arts, architecture, and the worldwide diffusion of French books, film, technology and ideas.
Classic French operas are performed frequently in the Staatsoper Hamburg. The curtain will go up on “Les Troyens“ by Hector Berlioz on Friday (February 10) and on February 14. Many French restaurants across Hamburg offer delicacies such as bouillabaisse, pâté de foie gras or crêpes. On March 21, the third international “Goût de France/Good France“ will take place worldwide and will see some 2,000 chefs on five continents compete with a menu in the (French) culinary sequence, but highlighting their own culinary traditions and cultures. Restaurants in Hamburg are encouraged to take part as well. Laurent Toulouse, Consul-General of France in Hamburg, is hoping for an exciting competition.
Sources and further information: