Formally established in 2000, the sister city relationship between Tomball and Telgte goes back to 1996, when Christian C. Tiews and his Telgte-born wife Lula moved to the Tomball area and noticed the many similarities between Tomball and Lula’s home town. Telgte (pronounced Tell-gee, as in “Telge Road”), is a quaint German town, pop. 18,700, situated in the park-like landscape of North Rhine-Westphalia, 10 miles east of Münster, in northwest Germany. It was founded in 1238 and is well known for its beautiful medieval architecture. Telgte is situated in the middle of Germany's “horse country”. 34% of its economy is based on manufacturing, 21% on trade and tourism and 32% on other services.
What does Telgte have to do with Tomball?
- To begin with, Tomball has “Telge Road”. “Telge” actually means “old oak” in Middle German and there seems to be a historical link between Telgte and some of the original settlers of this part of Texas.
- Tomball reportedly has the highest horse population per (human) capita in the United States. Telgte is in the heart of Germany's Horse Country. Many citizens in both areas have equestrian sports in common (Western-style horseback riding, by the way, is becoming increasingly popular in Germany).
- Many of the original settlers in this area are of German descent. Just a quick look around Tomball's street names, leading stores, banks, etc. will quickly confirm this. On a Texan scale, it comes as no surprise that over 15 Texan towns to date have sister cities in Germany. A few examples: Houston - Leipzig; Austin - Koblenz; Fredericksburg - Montabaur; Shiner - Winterlingen, etc.
- From the mid 19th century on, Germans have always been fascinated with the “Wild West”, Texas in particular. On the other hand, Tomball cultivates its German roots, such as in the “Oktoberfest” that was carried out up to a few years ago and Salem Lutheran Church's annual “German Fest”. In the immediate area, we have the Texas German Society, the Houston Sängerbund, the Liederkranz and many other organizations focused on the rich German heritage of this part of Texas.
- Over the years, hundreds of citizens in both cities have visited each other in exchange student programs, Christian youth exchanges (CrossLink 2000 and 2001) and other programs.