With its 80,000 residents, Neumünster is the fourth largest town in Schleswig-Hoistein in the north of Germany.
The name can be traced back to a monastery in the 12th Century and its position between the North Sea and the Baltic has been good for trading and growth.
As a market town at the junction of two trading routes, even in Medieval times it was a significant place. Neumünster was granted its charter in 1870 and became a municipal borough in 1901.
With the development of roads and a rail network it became the junction of seven lines and grew into one of the centres of the German textile and leather industries.
The majority of the town's buildings survived the Second War and although Neumünster continued to grow, the changing fortunes of its two main industries brought difficulties in the 1960's which have been overcome by attracting electrical, metal and chemical fibre industries.
Neumünster has a University, a civic theatre and exhibition hall, many sports facilities including ice-boat sailing, a zoo and its own hydro-electric power station.
Neumünster's twinning association is known as Freunde Kreis Neumünster-Gravesham -- the Circle of Friends -- and we enjoyed meeting many of them when they visited Gravesham recently in the 35th year of the partnership.
Gravesham has been twinned with Neumünster since 1980 and many of our members have watched their host families grow across the years.
There have been regular opportunities for local school pupils to visit for work experience and more links are being made. planned at the moment.