Sidmouth and Le Locle

Sidmouth Twinning Circle

Sidmouth (England) twinned with Le Locle ( Switzerland) in 1984

Although some twin towns originated as early as the 1920’s, the Town Twinning Movement started soon after 1945, with the passionate support of mayors and citizens who vowed that Europe should never again be torn apart by war. Most of the twinnings were between towns from countries that had, until then, been divided by war. Twinning is not limited to the countries of the European Union – countries like Switzerland and Norway have always been actively engaged. Each twinning is unique; however in most cases the right twinning partner will be similar on a number of counts. These can be the number of inhabitants, the geographic location, the economic activities, and historic links with other communities.

LE LOCLE is a municipality in the Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Bordered by France, it is situated at the eastern end of the Jura Mountains, which lends its name to fossils and to our own coastline! It is the third smallest city in Switzerland, where a place needs more than 10,000 inhabitants to be considered a city. The population in Le Locle is 10,300 (Dec 2018) compared to Sidmouth population of 12,569 (2011 census). The language spoken is mainly French (88%), with others speaking Italian or German and a few Romansh.
Originally a farming community dating back to the 14th Century, the current buildings in the centre of Le Locle date from the 19th Century and although surrounded by agriculture and forestry the main town was re-designed to accommodate the winter occupation of watch making which became the industry it is today.
Le Locle with its neighbour La Chaux-de-Fonds, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009, for this reason.

SIDMOUTH came relatively late to Twinning, with the charter between Sidmouth Town Council and that of Le Locle being signed in September 1984. The link was originally formed by the town council on behalf of the citizens, but contact is now maintained by the Twinning Circle, a Registered Charity run by volunteers, with support from the town council at joint functions and the elected Chair of Town Council automatically takes on the role of Twinning Circle President.

WHO BENEFITS? Many more Europeans travel abroad nowadays for holidays or business trips but, despite social media and the internet, Twinning remains the best way for Europeans to meet face to face, to share information and views on their daily lives and to benefit from each other’s experience on issues ranging from education to social inclusion, culture or business and it is also great fun and very friendly!
Historically groups from Le Locle have attended our International Folk Festival and there have been several exchanges between our secondary schools; with our pupils visiting Switzerland in the snow, while Swiss students enjoyed their summer visits to the seaside. Financial and educational restraints have sadly seen these visits decline over the past few years, but the committee is working with the schools from both towns in an effort to rekindle routes of communication between our youths. Members of the Sidmouth Twinning Circle still maintain the link, with reciprocal member visits occurring every two years, in-between times we are raising funds and awareness within the community.


You do not need to speak French, nor act as hosts when the time comes but if as an individual you would like to know more about our twin town; our visits and our fund-raising events or if you belong to a group that may be interested in exploring a common interest, then please contact our Membership Secretary Edward Bearryman by using our contact form.

Our membership fee is £5 per annum, per person, renewable at the AGM each April