Foley, AL – The cities of Foley and Hennef, Germany, are working together in a Sister City Partnership, according to the Foley’s Sister Cities Commission.

Why Hennef, Germany? Foley’s interest in developing a sister city partnership with Hennef, Germany is due to the similar characteristics: population, size, educational institutions, economic industries, many halls, playing fields and clubs for sports (especially soccer), and natural environmental settings. Both cities are rural yet urban and have close connections to surrounding communities with diverse shopping facilities. Foley citizens have personal and family connections to the city of Hennef. The greatest interest of this partnership is in creating educational and cultural exchanges.

As our first initiative to develop our relationship, each city will host an art gallery with photos showcasing the cities’ landmarks and scenery. The gallery will have a grand opening on Thursday, November 3 at 11:00 AM located inside the Truist Bank building atrium located in downtown Foley at 200 W Laurel Ave.

The gallery will be formally opened by Mayor Mario Dahm of Hennef and Mayor Ralph Hellmich of Foley via a live virtual meeting. Refreshments will be served. We welcome the public to join us in celebrating our first Initiative in this relationship. Gallery will remain open to the public Tuesday – Friday from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM until December 2, 2022.

The Foley Sister Cities Commission exists to promote long-term, global people-to-people relationships through the development of international leadership, friendship, and understanding. It seeks to facilitate valuable partnerships with cultural, educational, and commercial entities. The Commission provides an avenue for the people in each city to develop friendly and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships, and to work together in facing the unique and diverse challenges and opportunities of the future. It provides an opportunity for student and community delegations and educational, cultural, informational, and commerce exchanges. Sister Cities will reach every part of our community and improve our quality of life.

Sister Cities International Since its inception in 1956, Sister Cities International has worked to create global relationships based on cultural, educational, information and trade exchanges. According to Sister Cities International (, there are nearly 2,000 partnerships between U.S. and international cities. These partnerships are spread throughout 140 different countries. The sister city program was launched at a 1956 White House conference by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hundreds of American cities responded to that call and are continuing to carry out meaningful exchanges in 136 nations around the world.

Facts About Hennef, Germany City. Countryside. River. These three terms characterize Hennef in its contrast between the young modern city and its more than 90 villages in an old cultural landscape at the foot of the Siebengebirge, Bergisches Land and Westerwald. Hennef itself has 25,000 inhabitants; with the surrounding areas it becomes 49,000. Covering approximately 105 square kilometers, it is located at the mouth of the Riever Sieg and Rhine Bay and located near Cologne and Bonn.

City: Hennef has a successful mixture of urban flair and rural idyll. Its many stores can be found in the modern designed marketplace in the center of the city and along the Frankfurter Straße Baroque courtyards. Industrial buildings from the time of the founders bear witness to the town’s lively history. A diverse range of events is held throughout the year. Formerly an independent municipality, Uckerath (population 3,400) is now the town’s second center.

Countryside: Embedded in the hilly wooded landscape of the Siegtal, the city is surrounded by numerous villages. The recreational areas of the Bergisches Land and the Westerwald begin just east of the city at the entrance to the Siegtal, Brölbach and Hanfbach valleys.

River: The connecting element of the region is the river. The Sieg—with its tributaries Bröl and Hanfbach—meanders through picturesque meadows and valleys. Along the Sieg, a well-developed bicycle path leads through the beautiful landscape.

Stadt Blankenberg: The main tourist destination in Hennef is the Stadt Blankenberg castle. The town of Blankenberg takes you back to the Middle Ages with its picturesque half-timbered houses. The town wall and town gates are worth seeing, as well as the local history museum in the Katharinentorturm.

Hiking, local recreation, sports, golf course: Hennef is home to 50 sports clubs with more than 11,000 members, and the Golfclub Rhein-Sieg e.V. is nearby. The spa park in the Geistingen district plays an important role in the area’s outdoor activities. The 200-kilometer Natursteig Sieg hiking trails offer fantastic views of the Siegtal valley as they pass by historic cultural landscapes and monuments such as Allner Castle, the pilgrimage church Zur schmerzhaften Mutter in Bödingen, and Blankenberg Castle and town.

The invention that turned Hennef into an industrial location: The Hennef industrial pioneers Carl Reuther and Eduard Reisert invented the Chronos scale—the first calibratable automatic scale in the world. Its approval by the Kaiserliche Normal-Aichungs-Kommission in Berlin in 1883 marked the first time that an automatic scale was granted legal recognition as a measure of value; until then, goods were weighed by hand. The history of scales is closely linked to the history of Hennef; thus, the invention of the industrially manufactured Chronos scale also marked the beginning of Hennef’s rise as an industrial location.

A special feature: 25 million years ago, during the Oligocene epoch, there was a lake where Hennef-Geistingen and Hennef-Rott are today. It was in that area that one of the most important fossil deposits in the world was discovered. A small exhibit in Hennef's town hall now features dragonfly larvae, leaves, a winged insect, a weevil and the imprint of a fish from that excavation.

Jewish Community Memorial: A memorial to the Jewish community that fell victim to National Socialism can be found in the town hall. A model of the synagogue and the Torah shrine can be seen, and the names of all victims are listed on a board. The foundation walls of the synagogue still stand in the Geistingen district.