Question: What does Droitwich have in common with Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Jay Z and Peter Crouch? Answer: They are all punching above their weight when it comes to their partners.
While Droitwich has never been short of admirers, it has to be admitted that its German twin town of Bad Ems, on the banks of the River Lahn, is much more of a looker, with its funicular railway giving views of the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Both towns made their names as popular spa resorts but Bad Ems has attracted the most A-listers, including Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, Tsars Nicholas I and Alexander II of Russia, Richard Wagner, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin.
In July 2021, Bad Ems was among an 11-strong group of iconic towns added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List for their ”important role in bringing about a breakthrough phenomenon in the European spa culture”.
The others were Baden Bei Wien (Austria); Spa (Belgium); Františkovy Lázně (Czechia); Karlovy Vary (Czechia); Mariánské Lázně (Czechia); Vichy (France); Baden-Baden (Germany); Bad Kissingen (Germany); Montecatini Terme (Italy); and Bath (UK).
Bad Ems is only half the size of Droitwich but it has also achieved a greater place in history. In 1870, the town, then part of Prussian Hesse-Nassau, became known as the place where the Ems Dispatch originated, instigating the Franco-Prussian War.
Despite the differences, the two towns have stayed together for almost 40 years. I guess Droitwich must have a good personality!
For a video showcasing the delights of Bad Ems click here