Background/History of Vallejo/Trondheim Sister City Relationship

In 1958, Mayor Wilfred Hewitt proposed that Vallejo join the sister city movement by adopting a foreign city of comparable size as a sister city. Although his suggestion was not immediately adopted, the City Council, at their meeting on March 8, 1960 approved the Mayor’s appointment of an Executive Committee to take on the task of recommending a possible partner. Ernest Wichels chaired the Committee. Members were Lt. Cmdr. J.P. Brielatt, USN [Ret], Sue Lemmon, Robert Allgood, Patricia Boss, Eilif Jensen, and Ernest Anderson. The Committee placed six suggestion boxes at prominent places around the city to seek citizen input. The results, along with the urging of the local Sons of Norway led to the recommendation the City extend an invitation to Trondheim in Norway. The Council adopted that recommendation and, on September 8, 1960, Mayor Hewitt extended an official invitation to Mayor Olav Gjaerevoll of Trondheim. On November 8, 1960, Trondheim accepted Vallejo’s invitation and the sister city relationship was confirmed by the City Council at their meeting on November 14th. On December 1, 1961, Kjell E. Amdahl, Feature Editor of Trondheim;s largest daily newspaper, Addressavisen, arrived in Vallejo for an official visit.  Ernest Wichels, Chair of the Committee, hosted Mr. Amdahl and introduced him to Vallejo and its local leaders.

In 1962, Trondheim sent its second official representative, Leif Bjørnevick, Finansradmann (Financial Manager) of the City. Mr. Bjørnevick was greeted by City leaders and Committee representatives who, in addition to providing a complete tour of the City, celebrated the visit with a grand dinner at the Officers Club on Mare Island.

In 1962 International Telephone selected Vallejo as one of several cities to demonstrate how the satellite they launched could be used to relay messages anywhere in the world. Mayor Wilfred Hewitt took advantage of the opportunity to arrange a satellite hook-up of Vallejo City Officials with their counterparts in Trondheim on July 27th.

In August 1963, Osgood Hilton led the first Vallejo visit to Trondheim. Among the delegation were Dr. and Mrs. Robert Hoellwarth, their daughter, Tina, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Setterquist, Violetta Simons, Florence Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Hal Burback, Dr. and Mrs. John Buchanan, Ada Scott, Mable Powell, and Catherine Jackson. During the trip, Dr. Buchanan filmed a 16mm colored movie documentary of Trondheim and added a soundtrack of background music and narration. For many years Committee representatives played the film for local audiences to familiarize Vallejoans with the Norwegian Sister City.

At the start of the 1964 Holiday Season, Ernie Wichels, past Committee Chairman, wrote Mayor Florence Douglas and other city officials with the request they send Christmas cards to one or more Trondheim citizens picked at random from the Trondheim telephone directory. Several officials did so and received responses reflecting how warmly Trondheim citizens felt on being recognized. This tradition was repeated for many years with some variations. One year, with the help of the secretaries at the School District, a thousand names were selection from the Tronheim directory to receive Christmas greetings and an explanation of the sister city program – all in Norwegian. The recipients were encouraged to respond. Those responses were sold through local organization to buyers whose names were added to the exchange list. Many Vallejo/Trondheim friendships were born of this effort.

On June 1, 1969, Trondheim Mayor Odd Sagør and Council Member Eigil Gullvag (also Editor of the newspaper Arbideravisen) arrived in Vallejo for an official visit. They were welcomed by Mayor Florence Douglas, City officials and Committee members who feted them during a five day visit that included a tour of San Francisco, a visit to the Maritime Academy, a banquet hosted by the Sons of Norway, and a social dinner in the King Richard Room at Terry’s Restaurant.

 In October 1970, Asgeir Jorum participated in the dedication of the JFK Library.

Soon after Vallejo and Trondheim became sister cities, the Greater Vallejo Kiwanis Club asked their International for help in sponsoring a Kiwanis Club in Trondheim. It took several years and the help of all three Vallejo Kiwanis Clubs and the Oslo Kiwanis Club, but on February 27, 1971 the Trondheim Kiwanis Club celebrated the receipt of its Charter.

On August 26, 1972, Dr. and Mrs. John Buchanan arrived in Trondheim for an official visit. They were welcomed by Mayor Karre Tønne, former Mayor Odd Sagør, and representatives of the Trondheim Kiwanis Club who made him an honorary member in recognition of his efforts in helping to establish the Club.

In 1975, at the invitation of Mayor Karre Tonne, Vice Mayor Fred Sibley paid an official visit to Trondheim.

On June 30, 1976, a Trondheim delegation arrived to help commemorate our Bi-Centennial 4th of July. The visitors included former Mayors Karre Tønne (then serving on the City Council), and Odd Sagør (then serving as City Financial Manager), his secretary, Asgot Fagge, and Vice-Mayor Olina Storsand. The entire delegation rode in a place of honor at the Fourth of July Parade, attended the picnic in celebration of the event, and watched the evening firework display.

On May 17, 1977, Mayor Florence Douglas and Gordon Darling arrived Trondheim as leaders of a small delegation that included Helen Marchand and Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Silleman to participate in the Constitution Day celebration, the feature of which was a Parade of Children.

 On May 24, 1978, Vallejo welcomed a group of eleven Trondheim student musicians, two of their instructors, Marie Batnes and Herald Bjorkey, , and Superintendent of Schools Arvid Lie for a two week visit during which the students gave several local performances. The Association arranged for host families for our guests. The Sons of Norway organized a banquet at Dan Foley Cultural Center to honor the visitors.

In May 1981, Mayor Terry Curtola greeted Nina Eidsaether who came to mark the 20th Anniversary of the sister city relationship. She was hosted by George and Judith Irwin and honored at a dinner arranged by the Sons of Norway.

In July 1984, Trondheim sent a delegation that included the Midt Norsk String Quartet with players Elise Batnes, Mari Giske, Guri Krug, and Tormod Dalen for a visit that include two concerts at the Naval and Historical Museum.

In August, 1986, Commissioner Rich Harrington led a group of 17 on a visit to Vallejo.

On June 7, 1997, Robert Sather, Commission Chair, led a delegation that included Kenneth and Dolores Zadwick to Trondheim to participate in their celebration of the 1,000th year of existence as a city. They were greeted by city officials and feted at a reception hosted by Trondheim’s mayor.