Borken, in the Westphalia area of Germany, was Whitstable’s first twin town in. It lies to the north of Dortmund and Essen, close to the Dutch border.
Being near the junction of several railway lines, it was badly damaged during the war but has been beautifully restored, especially around the town square where visitors from Whitstable regularly attend the annual summer festival.
Having a population of some 41,000, the town is roughly the same size as Whitstable. Borken is also the name of the county in which it is situated. The area is largely agricultural but dotted with fine castles, often moated, including the outstanding Gemen castle, built in 1411, on the outskirts of the town.
The town, which was first established more than eight hundred years ago, is particularly notable for its five towers, dating back to the 14th century. They were part of the medieval fortifications. One of the towers now houses the local Registry Office.
Both main churches in the town were totally destroyed in World War II but rebuilt in the style of the originals.
The town museum contains many of the things associated with local life, also a notable collection of dolls. The museum also opens it doors for music evenings.
Borken can cater for large events in the Stadhalle which attracts around 70,000 people a year. The auditorium can be adapted as a theatre or conference centre.