Ataşehir, a suburban district of Istanbul on the Anatolian side, has been Monheim am Rhein’s newest twin town since 2015. Ataşehir is the capital of district of the same name, which is part of the Istanbul Province, and home to around 400,000 people in 17 city districts.
In the 2000s, Ataşehir grew into a center of trade and commerce, attracting many construction projects and a large number of renowned companies. Despite setbacks in recent years, the two cities have managed to organize several exchanges in the spirit of promoting the younger generation. We value our annual student exchanges between the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium and two schools from Ataşehir. The art school also maintains a lively exchange with its partner school "Monheim Art School" in Ataşehir.
In 2021, the Ulla Hahn House organized an online intercultural writing workshop with author Aygen-Sibel Çelik. Two groups from Monheim am Rhein and from Ataşehir in Istanbul developed imaginative stories with the author and celebrated a joint online closing party, listening to the stories in both German and Turkish.
In 2021, the Peter Ustinov Gesamtschule (PUG) and the Otto Hahn Gymnasium (OHG) established new partnerships with three schools in Ataşehir, a district of Istanbul.
The principal of the PUG school, Ralf Sänger, signed partnerships with two schools in the fall: junior high school students will have exchanges with Ihsan Kursunoglu Middle School (IKO), and senior high school students will have exchanges with Bilgin College. The younger students have already planted and tended lavender gardens together, and the older ones are planning a musical exchange with wind ensembles.
In September, OHG principal, Dr. Hagen Bastian, along with representatives of the Emlak Konut Middle School (EKO) signed the school partnership in Monheim am Rhein, and the partnership was also celebrated in Ataşehir in November. Both schools have robotics clubs that meet online and develop joint projects.
In May 2022, the students were finally able to meet in person in Monheim am Rhein.
The robotics groups of the Otto Hahn High School and Emlak Konut Middle School in Ataşehir, Istanbul, have been exchanging ideas since 2020. The core of the project is the joint preparatory work for robotics competitions. The students from the two partner schools work together both virtually and in person with the aim of having their robots solve tasks together as a team.
Initially, they developed projects together online; in May 2022, however, the young people from Ataşehir also visited Monheim am Rhein in person. The groups had their robots compete against each other in three rounds.
Shortly before personal encounters became impossible due to COVID-19, in February 2020, musicians from the Ataşehir music school met with the intercultural ensemble “Pangea” from the Monheim music school. Together, they played oriental music pieces, arranged by the musical director Koray Sari. The musicians will continue their intercultural musical collaboration, including joint performances. Further cooperation projects between the two music schools are already in the pipeline.
Ever since the “Monheim Art School” in Atasehir was inaugurated in September 2018, many joint projects have been carried out. Workshops on traditional jewelry making with instructors from Ataşehir took place in Monheim am Rhein, and instructors from Monheim am Rhein traveled to Ataşehir for sewing classes and multimedia design workshops. In a joint sewing project, children from both cities crafted bags and pillows to express their friendship – this is how art brings together children, young people and adults. Further cooperation projects are planned.
For several years, students from the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium’s folklore dance group have been attending the annual Children’s Day celebrations in Istanbul with their trainer and guide, Engin Altinova. The last trip was in April 2019. They performed together with many young dance groups from all over the world and stayed with host families in Ataşehir.
In March 2019, the dancers from SG Monheim invited groups from all our twin towns to take part in their dance gala. Three dance groups from Delitzsch, Malbork and a municipal group of young adult dancers from Ataşehir accepted the invitation. The crowd first went wild for a joint performance by all of the visiting groups, before our guests from Ataşehir showed off their skills by performing various dances in traditional costume, accompanied by live music. The audience were utterly impressed by the standard of their dancing.
In late 2017 and early 2018, the school orchestra from the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium (OHG) and the Ataşehir youth orchestra performed classical concerts in Monheim am Rhein as well as in Ataşehir. Oliver Drechsel, head of the OHG orchestra, and Umut Kahraman, head of the Ataşehir youth orchestra, created a joint repertoire for the young musicians. This successful cooperation between the orchestras continued in fall 2019, with a performance on September 22.
In July 2017, Monheim am Rhein invited young people from all our twin towns to compete against our local clubs in the Monheim Friendship Cup, an international youth soccer tournament. It was difficult for the Turkish girls and boys to get here, but they eventually arrived in Monheim and even went on to win the cup.
As a symbol of our partnership, in May 2017 we inaugurated our Ataşehir Park in the district of Baumberg. The event was attended by the Mayor of Ataşehir, Battal Ilgezdi, and his delegation. The vibrant celebration attracted plenty of guests, who enjoyed the music, dance and delicious food.