A delegation of mayors from nearly 40 German towns has landed in the north-east to learn lessons and build bonds.
The group from the Nuremberg region, in the south of the country – including Lossiemouth’s twin town Hersbruck – arrived in Moray yesterday to learn how communities in Scotland tackle problems.
The trip follows a similar visit from business leaders from the same area last week.
Armin Kroder, the district leader of Nuremberg, said: “We want to improve and develop the partnerships between the twin towns.
“It’s a very interesting visit. One of the things we want to look at is how other countries manage their problems.
“In each town it is the same situation, we have a lot of ideas but not enough money for all of them so we want to see how they are prioritised.
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“Education and social projects are very important to me and it seems to be the same in Scotland too.”
Germany’s system of local government means each town retains its own council, similar to when towns in Moray had their own provosts.
Robert Ilg, mayor of Hersbruck, said: “We want to see what’s going on in other European countries because everyone looks at problems and challenges differently.
“I think it’s important that we learn from and talk to each other, not just politically but also as friends.
“Maybe that is difficult at the moment with Brexit but the links with Lossiemouth are very strong.”
The German delegation arrived yesterday and met Moray Council’s chief executive and convener following a tour of a local distillery.
Further visits have been arranged for the rest of the trip before they depart on Sunday.
Lossiemouth’s twinning with Hersbruck was established after the north-east community showed outstanding generosity towards a bus group of German visitors in 1972.
Exchanges between the towns are common between schools and sport groups.
However, a planned visit of German students in June has had to be cancelled due to uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
James Allan, chairman of the Lossiemouth Hersbruck Town Town Association, said: “People from each town are familiar in the other so there are a lot of bonds.
“It’s different in Germany, where each town essentially funds itself – except for larger things like schools – so they have a lot more control of the money they bring in.”