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La Crosse looks to add Junglinster, Luxembourg as newest Sister City

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Junglinster, Luxembourg

A city in one of Europe’s smallest countries could be added to the long list of Sister Cities to La Crosse if approved by the La Crosse Common Council next week.

A new proposal requests that Junglinster, Luxembourg become La Crosse’s eighth Sister City, in-part because of the large amount of Luxembourgers that immigrated to La Crosse.

Descendants of those immigrants are spearheading the request, writing in the application that “La Crosse has a rich Luxembourg history and exciting potential for a modern friendship with Junglinster.”

A Sister City is a long-term partnership between two communities in two countries that provides broad benefits to both, and the city of La Crosse has been partnering with Sister Cities since the 1990s.

Junglinster, which is technically a “commune,” has a population of about 7,613 and is the largest municipality in eastern Luxembourg, a country smaller than the state of Rhode Island nestled between Germany, Belgium and France.

Wisconsin has one of the largest populations of Luxembourger immigrants, and according to the La Crosse American Descendants Society (LADS) many of these immigrants found pieces of home in La Crosse because of its terrain.

“The Luxembourg immigrants brought with them carpenters, joiners, farmers, brewery workers and other skilled trades who built La Crosse’s churches, schools, hospitals, convents, hotels and of course, taverns. They also started many farms. Many of their achievements are still standing today,” the application states.

The community is located in the Mullerthal Region, often referred to as the “Little Switzerland of Luxembourg.” The country’s tourism site describes the region as a “unique biotope characterized by rock formations that are as beguiling as they are surprising,” much like the Driftless Region.

According to LADS, many descendants of Luxembourger immigrants have reclaimed Luxembourg citizenship, and residents travel often to the country to visit with family.

Like La Crosse, Junglinster has keen interests in education and the outdoors, according to the application, and is nestled in a largely rural part of the country surrounded by forests and filled with trails and other recreational and sporting opportunities.

The community is also home to the Junglinster International School, which recently began an environmental student exchange program with Aquinas High School, on top of other existing exchange student programs between the two communities.

The Luxembourg Times wrote that Junglinster was a must-watch community, saying it was an “increasingly attractive residential neighborhood,” and it has a rich cultural community, home to the Bourglinster Castle and other arts.

Potential benefits from the partnership, according to the application, include business and trade relations because of the country’s position in the fields of finance and trade within the European Union.

Junglinster is also home to two of the most powerful longwave transmitters in the world, that were once used by programs avoiding broadcasting restrictions during the 1900s, and are still used for radio broadcasting.

The Judiciary & Administration Committee voted in favor of the legislation Tuesday with no debate, and the proposal is likely to be approved by the Common Council next week.

If approved, the new official relationship would help continue ongoing cultural connections between the two communities.

The LADS was officially formed in La Crosse after Archbishop of Luxembourg Ferdinand Franc visited the city in 2007. Since then, the group has hosted diplomats and musicians from the country, held events celebrating the country’s culture, participated in statewide and regional celebration.

Recently, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was tapped as the next U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, another connection between Wisconsin and the European country.

La Crosse has partnered with seven other cities, some of which delegates and La Crosse officials have visited. They include Bantry, Ireland; Dubna, Russia; Epinal, France; Friedberg, Germany; Luoyang, China; Førde, Norway; and Kumbo, West Africa.

Junglinster also has another Sister City in Üdersdorf, Germany.

This story was updated Sept. 9 to include Førde, Norway, on the list of La Crosse's Sister Cities.

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