Bethlehem- Schwäbisch Gmünd sister-city partnership. Two cities, 579 years apart, brought together through partnership.

The City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the City of Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, formalized their sister city relationship in 1991. Schwäbisch Gmünd is located about 40 miles east of Stuttgart in southwestern Germany and traces its history from an eighth-century Roman settlement that grew into a walled town. Schwäbisch Gmünd is cradled by hillsides and has a climate and population similar to Bethlehem.

Schwäbisch Gmünd Marktplatz
The center of life in Schwäbisch Gmünd is its downtown plaza. Schwäbisch Gmünd has diverse businesses and "high tech" industries but, like Bethlehem, owes much of its development to a metalworking industry. While steel is no longer produced in Bethlehem, precious metalwork remains an integral part of the economy in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

Cultural Ties
Schwäbisch Gmünd and Bethlehem are both vitally interested in their histories. The love of music is especially prominent in both cities. Bethlehem embraces the Bach Choir, many instrumental and choral groups, and annual music festivals, while Schwäbisch Gmünd cherishes its annual three-month celebration of European Church Music, a summer Stadtfest, and numerous musical organizations and bands.

Active Partnership
The similar characteristics of Bethlehem and Schwäbisch Gmünd are a natural foundation for a sister-city relationship. Two organizations thousands of miles apart have the responsibility of developing the partnership and assisting with exchanges of mutual interests, people, and ideas. Exchanges have included musicians, theatrical performers, artists, and lecturing scientists. Among students, an exchange program has been established between Bethlehem Area Vo-Tech and its counterpart in Schwäbisch Gmünd. In addition, the Bethlehem Schwäbisch Gmünd Association awards an annual student travel award to two local high school students.

Open Invitation
The Bethlehem Schwäbisch Gmünd Association (BSGA) is composed of a board of directors and a general membership having an interest in Germany and, in particular, Bethlehem's German sister city. The BSGA invites you to join with us in the development of the many benefits that the partnership offers, now and into the future. Through the sister city relationship, opportunities exist for the development of many types of exchanges, the advancement of mutual understanding, and for personal visits to Schwäbisch Gmünd. BSGA can put you in touch with Gmünders who share your field of interest, who are eager to meet and greet you, and can assist with accommodations at homes in Schwäbisch Gmünd, thereby making your visit to this section of Germany both exciting and personal. The BSGA reciprocates when German visitors come to Bethlehem. BSGA holds an annual membership meeting and various activities for the enjoyment and education of its members throughout the year. Occasionally, BSGA is the host of a trip to Schwäbisch Gmünd and other environs. In an international climate, partnership activities such as those of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, can bring people, as well as nations, closer together.

For additional information, please contact the BSGA:
Bethlehem - Schwäbisch Gmünd Association
PO Box 1947
Bethlehem, PA 18016-1947

For more information about our sister city, Schwäbisch Gmünd, visit their website at Schwaebisch-Gmuend.de