A community partnership - also town twinning or Jumelage - is a partnership between two cities, communities or regions ( twin cities etc.) with the aim of exchanging cultural and economic information. International municipal partnerships are also used as a platform to support democratization in states in which the rule of law and freedom are not yet considered to have been achieved (“local foreign policy”). Most partnerships exist between cities and municipalities in different countries. After primarily West German municipalities became the sponsor cities for places in the eastern regions , German-German city and municipality partnerships in connection with reunification made important contributions to the growing together. A weaker form of town twinning is town friendship . It is usually limited in time or only relates to certain projects in a relationship. An even weaker form is city contact , which is only a loose relationship between two cities or municipalities.
Historically, the town twinning between Le Mans and Paderborn was mentioned in a document in 836; but an official town twinning was not established until 1967.
Since 1913, Brugg ( Switzerland ) and Rottweil ( Baden-Wuerttemberg ) have had a friendship between cities (meanwhile city partnership) in connection with Rottweil's affiliation to the old Swiss Confederation as an associated place . The men's choirs of both cities gave the impetus for this with mutual visits.
In 1921 the British Keighley , West Yorkshire , and Poix-du-Nord in the French department Nord entered into a city relationship in the form that the British city "adopted" the French; an official partnership took place in 1986.
Local foreign policy
After the Second World War , starting in 1947, the British occupiers established friendly relations between German and British cities in order to enable international understanding “from below”. In addition, they promoted the integration of Germany into the new European community of values. The first examples are the partnerships between Bonn , Düsseldorf and Hanover with Oxford , Reading and Bristol , respectively . In 2012 , however, the city council in the British Bishop's Stortford announced the partnership with Friedberg in Hesse after 46 years . It is also on hold between Westerkappeln in the Münsterland and Bathmen , as this Dutch municipality was incorporated into the neighboring city of Deventer in 2005 . From a practical point of view , Leinsweiler ended the relationship with Gerjen that had existed since 2003 in 2011 .
The first German-American town twinning between Crailsheim and Worthington was established in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 1947 . In 1950 the first town twinning with a town in France was sealed. At that time, the city of Ludwigsburg took on a twinning with the French city of Montbéliard ( town twinning between Ludwigsburg and Montbéliard ). Montbéliard, in German Mömpelgard, was a Württemberg exclave in France for a long time . In the period that followed, more and more cities in Germany established friendly relationships with cities in other countries.
On September 29, 1977 , Wuppertal was the first major German city to seal a friendship agreement with the Israeli city of Be'er Scheva . On the German side, contacts are organized by a group of friends.
In 1951, at a time when the idea of a united Europe was not yet at the center of the political debate, 50 mayors of German and French cities founded the Council of European Municipalities in Geneva , since 1984 the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). Among other things, the Council has set itself the task of promoting reconciliation between the peoples of Europe and local cooperation across national borders. This provided an international basis for developing town twinning in Europe. The German section of the CEMR, which was founded in 1955 and whose president is expected to be the Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe , Dr. Frank Mentrup is based at the German Association of Cities in Cologne . France, Germany and Poland have the most connections in the European town twinning movement.
In 1979 the dictator Somoza in Nicaragua was driven out by a popular uprising. The solidarity movement in Europe and the USA has given political support; in the 1980s, more city partnerships were initiated to support development in Nicaragua. Numerous Nicaraguan and German cities are closely linked through city partnerships and friendships.
Opening of the iron curtain
As early as 1959 there was contact between the GDR district town of Gera and Saint-Denis (France); Karl-Marx-Stadt and Arras followed in 1967. Representatives of Wuppertal broke new ground in 1980 and signed a partnership agreement with Košice . This made Wuppertal the first West German city to establish partnership relationships with a city in what was then Czechoslovakia . In a politically divided Europe this became a model case for town twinning between East and West. The driving force behind this was the then Wuppertal city councilor Klaus Kriesche , born in Czechoslovakia. The then Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher , member of the German Bundestag for a Wuppertal constituency and political friend of Kriesche, provided support at the federal level. On the Košice side, the multiple Lord Mayor Košices (1983–1986, 1994–1999) and later President of Slovakia (1999–2004) Rudolf Schuster played a key role. As part of this town twinning, an event took place in 1987 that has never existed before: the Wuppertal-Košice friendship run over a distance of 1765 kilometers was a cross-border demonstration for the peaceful dialogue between East and West, organized by local politicians and committed citizens like Alfred Howad and the winner of the Olympic gold medal Emil Zátopek .
The Friends in the Heart of Europe association should also be mentioned in this context .
From the mid-1980s, the loosening of the Iron Curtain enabled partnership relationships between FRG and GDR communities. At the beginning it was a politically explosive matter. On April 25, 1986 in Eisenhüttenstadt of the same year and on September 19, Saarlouis sealed the first German-German twinning, mainly due to the mediation of the then Saarland Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine and born in the Saarland Chairman of the State Council Erich Honecker was due . The second German-German town twinning was agreed on November 26, 1986 in Lübben in the Spreewald and on December 12, 1986 in Neunkirchen in Saarland.
Also Wuppertal closed early partnered with an East German city, namely Schwerin . In order to make an active contribution to good neighborly relations between the two parts of Germany, the contracts were signed on February 9, 1987 in Wuppertal and on February 26, 1987 in Schwerin after sometimes tough negotiations.
Something similar happened in Aachen . Since 1985, the local council tried to establish a town partnership with a municipality in the former GDR. Through the mediation of the Aachen art collector Peter Ludwig , who brought his personal acquaintance with Erich Honecker to the exploratory process, a connection to the city of Naumburg was established. The exchange was initially limited to official meetings without the participation of citizens. The partnership certificate was signed in Aachen on May 30, 1988.
After the reunification of Germany , town twinning was concluded between East and West municipalities or East and West districts, which primarily served to support the East German municipalities / districts in the changes in politics and economy. In this respect, German-German town twinning has made indispensable contributions to the encounter and the growing together of people in all parts of Germany. For example, the city of Aachen provided Naumburg with competent and financial support in setting up a new administration. Aachen companies and groups were involved in a variety of ways in the twin city. Immediately after the contract was renewed in January 1990, the Aachen-Naumburg Citizens' Committee was founded as the “Association for the Promotion of the Aachen-Naumburg City Partnership”. V. “founded.
German-Belgian Sister City Day
Since 2009 there has been a German-Belgian Sister City Day, which is intended as a single event to celebrate the around 130 town twinning between the two neighboring countries.
Several thousand cities and municipalities in Germany maintain partnership relationships with the same in Germany or abroad. In the meantime, cities outside of Europe have also increasingly been included. The German section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions maintains an online database of the existing partnerships, friendships and contacts in German municipalities (cities, municipalities and districts).
Establishing a partnership
In the run-up to the establishment of a partnership, it is usually checked whether there are already private contacts between citizens, local municipal politicians or schools to a municipality abroad, which could possibly be intensified and then result in a town twinning. If such contacts do not exist, municipalities “willing to partner” are also mediated by supra-local organizations. Many cities wishing to enter into an international partnership are also published on the website of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions. Model contracts for partnerships are also published here.
If different criteria apply - the distance is also important - the top management, the mayor or the municipal council will visit and make a corresponding return visit. A positive response usually leads to the formal acceptance of a town twinning, which is sealed with the signing of the partnership document.
In the following years, depending on the commitment of the cities, annual visits are often organized. The initiative for this comes either from the city administration or occasionally from associations. The visitors should usually be accommodated with private hosts, which promotes the growing together of the peoples. If clubs take part in such an exchange, joint events, such as competitions (with sports clubs) or concerts (with music clubs or choirs) are often organized.
The city of Osnabrück is taking a hitherto unique way of making its city partnerships lively and alive : It exchanges so-called city ambassadors with its partner cities . These are young people who live in the respective twin city for a year and work in its administration. There they fulfill all tasks that arise in connection with the town twinning.
Municipalities that maintain intensive European partnership contacts can also apply for awards from the Council of Europe . There are the following types of honors for this European Prize : “European Diploma”, “Flag of Honor”, “European Badge” and “European Prize”. These are awarded in stages, so that an application for the European diploma must first be made. If this is granted, the municipality can later apply for the flag of honor etc.
Reasons for city and community partnerships
The sense and purpose of city and community partnerships is the voluntary coming together of people across borders. In the past, cities therefore looked around for corresponding twin cities. The size of the city or municipality, its structure (e.g. rural or industrial municipality) and, for example, the club life play a special role.
In many cases the partnership is based on common characteristics of cities and municipalities:
Identity or similarity of names
- Altdorf near Nuremberg and Altdorf UR in Switzerland
- Bergentreffen : The German towns with this name have been meeting since 1995, from Bergen auf Rügen to Bergen (Chiemgau) .
- Bocholt in Germany and Bocholt in Belgium
- Cham in Germany and Cham ZG in Switzerland
- Coburg in Germany and Cobourg in Canada
- Dresden (" Florence on the Elbe ") and Florence (1978) - the Documenta City of Kassel also refers to culture in its relationship with Florence that has existed since 1952
- Edinburgh (Dùn Èideann) in the United Kingdom and Dunedin in New Zealand
- Eppingen in Germany and Epping in the United Kingdom
- Gars am Inn in Germany and Gars am Kamp in Austria
- Frankenberg (Eder) and Frankenberg in Saxony , both Germany
- Furth im Wald in Germany and Furth near Göttweig in Lower Austria
- Hattorf am Harz and Hattorf (Wolfsburg) , both Lower Saxony
- Kilchberg , now part of Tübingen, and Kilchberg on Lake Zurich
- Cologne with the Berlin district of Neukölln
- Linz on the Rhine in Germany and Linz on the Danube in Austria
- Marburg (Germany) and Maribor in Slovenia, which formerly Marburg an der Drau was
- Melle in Germany and Melle in France and New Melle (State of Missouri ) in the USA
- Merkendorf : Association of European Merkendorfs e. V. - six Merkendorfs in Germany and Austria
- Moosburg ad Isar in Germany and Moosburg in Austria
- Münster in Germany and Monastir in Tunisia
- Münsingen (Württemberg) and Münsingen ( Canton Bern ) (friendly relations)
- Neu-Ulm in Germany and New Ulm (State of Minnesota ) in the USA
- Neustadt in Europe , cities called "Neustadt" in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia
- Olsberg in Germany and Olsberg AG in Switzerland
- Senftenberg in Germany and Senftenberg (Lower Austria)
- Soest in Germany and Soest in the Netherlands
- Spay in Germany and Spay in France
- Stratford-upon-Avon , Stratford (Connecticut) , Stratford (Ontario) , Stratford (New Zealand)
- Stone walls in Germany and Steinmaur in Switzerland
- T (h) alheimer meeting - similar to Neustadt in Europe
- Waldburg (Württemberg) and Waldburg (Upper Austria)
- Wittersheim (Mandelbachtal) in Germany and Wittersheim (Bas-Rhin) in Lower Alsace in France
- Paderborn and Belleville (Illinois) by John (actually Johannes) Janssen , who later became the first Catholic bishop of Belleville
- City partnership Verl – Delphos by the pastor Johannes Otto Bredeick, born in Verl on January 23, 1794, who founded the city of Delphos (Ohio) in 1849 .
Economic and geographic similarity
- the capitals of many countries maintain town twinning. 15 of the 17 city partnerships in Berlin and 37 of the 40 city partnerships in Madrid are with other capitals.
- the port cities of Hamburg and Marseille or Rostock and Rijeka
- the financial metropolises of Frankfurt am Main and Milan
- the chemical sites in Leverkusen and Schwedt / Oder
- the university cities of Heidelberg and Cambridge
- the Detroit and Toyota automotive centers
- the trade fair cities of Hanover and Leipzig
- 190 Hanseatic cities from 16 countries are in the New Hanse together
- the health resorts of Bad Abbach and Charbonnières-les-Bains
- the cities on the Elbe (or Vltava) Hamburg and Dresden as well as Hamburg and Prague
- Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice - Słubice (formerly Dammvorstadt) is a former district of Frankfurt
- Görlitz and Zgorzelec - Zgorzelec belonged to Görlitz until 1945
- The ring of European forging cities brings together places where the use of metal plays a role (e).
- Between France and Germany, neighboring communities of a country are often linked to those of the partner country. This is based on the economic similarity between the two districts.
Place of work / birthplace of great poets
- Pforzheim and Gernika , both of which were completely destroyed by air raids.
- Dresden and Coventry , comparable to the first example
- Chemnitz ("Saxon Manchester") and Manchester as well
- Wuppertal and Saint-Étienne , in both cases similar developments during the industrial revolution
- Square partnership Bochum - Sheffield - Oviedo - Donetsk , all cities are characterized by the coal and steel industry and have to struggle with comparable structural and urban planning problems
- the coronation cities of Aachen and Reims as well as the former Spanish residence city of Toledo
- the royal, imperial and historical trading cities of Krakow , Nuremberg and Frankfurt am Main
- The 1972 Olympic Games hosted Munich and Sapporo
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen has the winter sports centers Aspen , Chamonix and Lahti as twin towns
- Epsom and Chantilly , both famous for horse racing
- The places united in the Union of European Napoleonic Cities were shaped by the Napoleonic period
- The rather unofficial federation of the Zähringer cities is also comparable
Similar cultural festivals
Workplace of important personalities
Coming to terms with the past / reconciliation
- the 20 km apart cities of Hof (Saale) and Plauen , which had a close friendship before the Second World War, but were separated from each other by the Iron Curtain during the Cold War despite their geographical proximity
- Sonneberg and Neustadt near Coburg , comparable to the first example
- Kaufbeuren and Jablonec / Gablonz - a large part of the Sudeten Germans expelled from the former Gablonz on the Neisse settled in the Kaufbeur district of Neugablonz from 1946 and rebuilt the Gablonz fashion jewelry industry there. The twinning in 2009 went from a 1954 on the initiative of the German Association of Cities closed sponsorship forth
- Aarau and Reutlingen . After the Second World War, Aarau took on the sponsorship of Reutlingen to cope with the first post-war hardship, and a formal partnership emerged from this in 1970.
- Affing and Łobez - memorial for executed Polish slave laborers in Affing- Aulzhausen
- Paderborn and Le Mans through the common diocese patron Liborius
- Weingarten and Mantua both venerate a holy blood relic
- Ober-Ramstadt (Hesse) and Pragelato (Italy), Waldensian refugees from Pragelato, settled in districts of Ober-Ramstadt in the 17th century
- San Francisco with Assisi , the place of origin of its namesake Francis of Assisi
- Shrines of Europe , seven Marian shrines
- Municipalities have specific knowledge and skills, for example in the provision of general services for water, sewage and disposal, but also in setting up population registers and in connection with housekeeping. This expertise is used in partnership work.
In addition, there are also town partnerships in which development policy aspects or the Local Agenda 21 are in the foreground (so-called municipal development partnerships, north-south partnerships or agenda partnerships and climate partnerships):
Municipal development partnership
- Aachen and Cape Town (South Africa)
- Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district ( Berlin ) and San Rafael del Sur ( Nicaragua )
However, there are also examples where opposites apply:
- The French town of Y and the Dutch village of Ee entered into a town partnership with the Welsh community of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - the town with the longest place name in Europe.
Municipal development partnerships
Local development partnerships are an important part of German development policy . Cooperation between German municipalities and municipalities in the Global South helps to find sustainable solutions to global challenges such as climate change, migration and urbanization. Over 650 municipalities in Germany maintain relationships with cities, districts and communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Southeast Europe.
The first partnerships between municipalities in Germany and the Global South emerged in the 1960s. In the past, the reasons for a partnership were often politically motivated or shaped by the idea of providing help, but the focus is often on creating sustainable development. In line with Goal 17 of Agenda 2020 “Partnerships for the Achievement of the Goals”, projects are implemented that offer sustainable solutions in line with the United Nations' Agenda 2030 .
When working with municipalities in the Global South, German municipalities receive financial and advisory support from the Service Agency for Municipalities in One World from Engagement Global on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The BMZ also promotes development partnerships with the private sector. Such partnerships often lead to larger programs, for example the expansion of economic and social infrastructure or the improvement of drinking water supply and wastewater disposal. Research has shown that city mayors play an active role in city diplomacy.
The forms of cooperation with municipalities in the Global South are diverse: they range from international networking in the context of events to temporary projects to long-term city partnerships. All actors benefit from the cooperation and the exchange of expertise in development partnerships:
- Intercultural competence is strengthened through the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of experience.
- Citizens are made aware of the connections between global issues and local sustainability.
- Citizens also learn to better understand immigrants and their origins. The collaboration thus also supports integration.
- Cologne (D) ↔ Barcelona (E) ↔ Tel Aviv-Yafo (IL), since 1986
- Trossingen (D) - Cluses (F) - Beaverton (Oregon) (USA) since 1974/1993
- Langen (Hessen) (D) - Romorantin-Lanthenay (F) - Long Eaton (GB) since 1971
- Würselen (D) ↔ Morlaix (F) ↔ Réo (BF), since 1981
- Saarbrücken (D) ↔ Nantes (F) ↔ Tiflis (GE), since 1978
- Osnabrück (D) ↔ Angers (F) ↔ Haarlem (NL), since 1964
- Tübingen (D) ↔ Perugia (I) ↔ Aix en Provence (F)
- Witzenhausen (D) ↔ Saint-Vallier sur Rhone (F) ↔ Filton (GB), since 1979
- Leinfelden-Echterdingen (D) ↔ Manosque (F) ↔ Voghera (I), since 2001
- Leingarten (D) ↔ Lésigny (F) ↔ Asola (I), since 2004
- Markkleeberg (D) ↔ Pierre-Bénite (F) ↔ Boville Ernica (I), since 2005
- Immenstadt (D) ↔ Lillebonne (F) ↔ Wellington (Somerset) (GB)
- Paderborn (D) ↔ Le Mans (F) ↔ Bolton (GB)
- Schorndorf (D) ↔ Tulle (F) ↔ Bury (GB), since 1969
- Schorndorf (D) ↔ Tulle (F) ↔ Dueville (I), since 2009
- Hürth (D) ↔ Thetford (GB) ↔ Skawina (PL), since 1996
- Flensburg (D) ↔ Carlisle (GB) ↔ Słupsk (PL), since 1988
- Fredersdorf-Vogelsdorf (D) ↔ Marquette-lez-Lille (F) ↔ Sleaford (GB), since 2009
- Velbert (D) ↔ Corby (GB) ↔ Châtellerault (F), since 1979
- Spangenberg (D) ↔ Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron (F) ↔ Pleszew (PL), since 1997
- Spangenberg (D) ↔ Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron (F) ↔ Cariñena (E), since 2018
- Heiligenhaus (D) ↔ Meaux (F) ↔ Basildon (GB), since 1989
- Gummersbach (D) ↔ La Roche-sur-Yon (F) ↔ Burg (near Magdeburg) (D), since 2005
- Fellbach (D) ↔ Tain-l'Hermitage (F) ↔ Erba (I), since 1978
- Fellbach (D) ↔ Tournon-sur-Rhône (F) ↔ Erba (I), since 1978
- Ingelheim am Rhein (D) ↔ Autun (F) ↔ Stevenage (GB), since 1975
- Munich (D) ↔ Edinburgh (GB) ↔ Kiev (UA), since 1989
- Clausthal-Zellerfeld (D) ↔ L'Aigle (F) ↔ Spišská Nová Ves (SK), since 1972/1992/2000
- Grimma (D) ↔ Bron (F) ↔ Weingarten (D)
- Renningen (D) ↔ Mennecy (F) ↔ Occhiobello (I), since 2012
- Buseck (D) ↔ Molln (A) ↔ Tát (HU), since 1988
The city with the most city partnerships in Germany is Cologne with 24 partnerships. Behind this are Berlin (17), Darmstadt (15) and Nuremberg (14), but most major German cities have fewer than 10 town twinning. As the only major German city, Ulm has no official twin city. Town twinning is much more common among Austrian cities; Outstanding are Linz with 18 and Klagenfurt with 16; in Switzerland, however, this institution is not very widespread. France and Poland make up around fifty percent of the partner municipalities of German cities, municipalities and districts.
- Lists of German city and community partnerships
- Lists of community partnerships (international)
- List of sister cities in Germany (overview of German city partnerships in the English language Wikipedia)
- List of sister cities in Austria (overview of Austrian city partnerships in the English language Wikipedia)
- List of sister cities in Switzerland (overview of Swiss city partnerships in the English language Wikipedia)
- Europe for citizens
- European movement
- European identity
- Institute for European Partnerships and International Cooperation
- Justice partnership
- European city
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