There are more pensioners than younger adults among theose who take twin city partnerships to their hearts.
There are several factors behind this phenomenon. On the one hand, the population in Europe is steadily ageing, i.e. there are more and more citizens of retirement age, even though the retirement age is constantly rising. In addition, retired people can spend more time building personal relationships across borders than younger generations who are much busier with their daily lives.
Finally, speaking of personal relationships, today's retirees were born and grew up in an age before the telephone, let alone the internet, was part of everyday life. In other words, for older people, face-to-face encounters are much more about physical encounters than meetings in virtual space.
The fact that older people are generally over-represented in the twin city delegations means that when we organise programmes we should think about them - or, if we wish, think about them first. In other words, in the summer, we should not organise events at 12 noon, when it is hottest, or try to bring the inhabitants of the twin towns closer during the winter by organizing them a snowboarding championship.
Experience has shown that older people are more receptive to gastronomic activities, swimming, cruises and visits to the built cultural heritage. If we know the age composition of a delegation, we can organise programmes that suit all ages - from the youngest to the oldest.