In 2014, the Ministry of the Interior and for Sports Rheinland-Pfalz initiated the project “Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz! Our Neighbors from the USA”, in which 36 communities adjacent to the military bases in Ramstein/KMC, Baumholder, and Spangdahlem are currently participating. Due to its beneficial effect, the positive feedback from participating communities, and the overwhelming interest of many new communities to join in, the project was continued as a permanent program in 2019.
The main purpose of the program is to create and enhance opportunities for locally stationed U.S. citizens to join in the life and activities of their respective community. Both sides can thereby benefit from this win-win situation. With an improved provision of more comprehensive information about local and regional services, U.S. families are supported in the process of assimilating succesfully into the local community. Knowing more about German customs, local businesses, clubs or events can help with the transition and challenges of a PCS. On the other side, the communities involved experience a more open German-American relationship and a better utilization of local clubs, shops, and service offerings.
Since 2016, the Atlantic Academy is commissioned to coordinate and execute the program while the Ministry of the Interior and for Sports provides the underlying state funding. The conceptual and advisory assistance provided by the program coordination is considered a valuable complement to the general municipal development. It is geared towards promoting the implementation of local activities which foster an open and active German-American neighborhood.