Twin Town - Flekkefjord, Norway

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Flekkefjord

Photo of Flekkefjord courtesy of Jarl Thore Larsen

The twinning link between Burntisland and Flekkefjord was formalised at a public meeting in Burntisland Parish Church Hall on 24 February 1946, and it is reckoned to be the oldest extant town twinning link in the world. Contacts between Burntisland and Norway developed during the Second World War, when Norwegian soldiers were based in Fife. When the idea of a twinning arrangement was first mooted after the war, it was the children of Burntisland who voted for a link with Norway in preference to other countries. A short leet of towns was drawn up, and Flekkefjord was chosen.

Flekkefjord is a little larger than Burntisland, with a population of 9,000 compared to Burntisland's 6,000. Both towns boast a rich maritime history, with the town crest of each dominated by a ship. In years gone by, both were dependent on the herring fishing; on the export of primary products (timber and stone from Flekkefjord, coal from Burntisland); and on shipbuilding. Nowadays the towns share a dependency on a combination of industry and tourism.

One of the highlights of the twinning arrangement was the marking of its 50th birthday in 1996. In June of that year, a party of 150 or so travelled from Flekkefjord to Burntisland for four days of celebrations .....

These three photos show Burntisland High Street in June 1996, with pride of place on the Civic Week parade going to the young visitors from Flekkefjord.
 

Civic Week Parade 1996

Civic Week Parade 1996

Civic Week Parade 1996

 

Commemorative Cairn

A cairn was erected on Burntisland Links to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Burntisland/Flekkefjord town twinning. The plaque on the cairn (pictured left) says:

"Erected by
KIRKCALDY DISTRICT COUNCIL
to commemorate
the 50th ANNIVERSARY
of the twin town link between
BURNTISLAND and FLEKKEFJORD
June 1996".

Below the commemorative plaque are the town crests of Burntisland and Flekkefjord.

The 70th anniversary of the town twinning link was in 2016, and you can see extensive coverage of the celebration events in the August 2016 issue of the Burgh Buzz (pages 1, 12 and 13) and in the November 2016 issue of the Burgh Buzz (page 12). The picture below shows Burntisland's 2016 Town Twinning Committee with four twinners. At the rear: Committee members Yvonne Shivas, Sarah Stuart, George Kay (Convener), Sarah Main, Bruce Stuart and David Caldwell. In front: twinners Magnus, Andrew, Natalie and Hanne. Missing from the photo is Committee member Sarah Price who on 4 June 2016 sailed with four other members of Burntisland Sailing Club from Burntisland to Flekkefjord.

Burntisland's Town Twinning Committee has a Facebook page.

The Fife Free Press has published a number of articles on Burntisland's town twinning.

If you want more information about Flekkefjord, I recommend that you first of all visit the web site of Jarl Thore Larsen. Helpfully for most of us, it's in English. Jarl includes a page of Flekkefjord links, where you can again select English language sites by checking the flags displayed.


Earlier Links with Norway

The town twinners weren't the first folk from Burntisland to sample the delights of Norway! The Fife Free Press of 12 June 1886 reported that a ship had left Burntisland Harbour for Norway on the previous Thursday, with a full cargo of coal and general goods - plus a party of lady and gentleman excursionists. This trip was becoming increasingly popular, and the berths were fully booked for the return and next outward journeys.
 

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