Just as the Clark Fork River carves through downtown Missoula, the Neckar River winds its way through Neckargemünd, Germany, almost 5,000 miles away.
Topography is one of the many similarities the sister cities share, despite their geographic separation.
Udo Fluck, director of Arts Missoula GLOBAL, wants to raise awareness of those similarities and the benefits they can bring to the residents of each locale.
“When you look closely, there’s a lot of connections,” Fluck said.
Missoula and Neckargemünd have shared a sister-city relationship since 1993. The German city of 14,000 people was first mentioned in official documents in 988 A.D.
Fluck visited Neckargemünd in June to attend an international performance by the University of Montana Chamber Chorale. The concert, held in a historic church, was a “divine experience” for the German-born Fluck.
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The architecture of the old church was replicated throughout the tiny, narrow streets of Neckargemünd, a medieval German city consisting of ancient wooden structures.
“It’s a beautiful city,” said Fluck.
Missoula is also celebrating its 40th anniversary as a sister city of Palmerston North, New Zealand, this year.
Fluck has seen numerous benefits from that sister-city relationship