The Millennia-Long History of German Sister Cities

The earliest known city partnership in Europe was established in 836 between Paderborn, Germany and Le Mans, France. This partnership initially took the form of an “eternal brotherhood” between the dioceses of the two Catholic bishops. An official city partnership agreement was finally signed in 1967. Other pioneering German partnerships included Kiel, Germany and Sonderburg, Denmark in 1925 and Wiesbaden, Germany and Klagenfurt, Austria in 1930. However, the modern concept of “sister cities” as we know them was not launched until after WWII. To foster ...

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Find a German Sister City Partnership Near You!



Germany has the fourth most US sister cities in the world, with approximately 100 partnerships across 31 states (including marked Friendship Cities and Emeritus Cities). Looking to strengthen the transatlantic relationship through person-to-person connections, or know students who may benefit from US-German programs? Use this interactive map to find a US city with a German partner near you and then click on the German flag icon to find a link to the partnership's website. A full list of US-German sister city partnerships can also be found here. An overview of Sister ...

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Wunderbar Together: A Waterloo-Porta Westfalica Connection Formed in Heritage and Music, Sustained in Exchange

With its official biennial visits, summer student exchanges, scholarships, and a 5,000-strong “Portafest,” Waterloo’s ever-growing portfolio of programs with its sister city of Porta Westfalica, Germany has netted it “Illinois Sister City of the Year” awards in 2008 and 2017. Given the diversity of its programs now sustaining US-German ties for 38 years, it is surprising to think back to the Sister Cities of Porta Loo’s origins simply in shared heritage and music diplomacy.

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Wunderbar Together: A Norfolk-Wilhelmshaven Exchange Transcending Generations

US and German participants in Washington, DC
Jennifer Priest of the Norfolk Sister City Association and her family have personally been impacted by the lasting German-American ties formed through this program. “My daughter participated in the 2001-02 exchange. We are still close with those German ‘kids’ who are now 30-somethings with their own families. They still come to us for holidays. Because of the age of our program, we have had second generation participants.”

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SCI Chair Ron Nirenberg Meets with Mrs. Akie Abe of Japan

Mayor of San Antonio and Sister Cities International Board Chair, Ron Nirenberg, with Mrs. Akie Abe, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan
San Antonio Mayor and Chairman of Sister Cities International,  Ron Nirenberg recently met with Mrs. Akie Abe, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan. During their meeting, they discussed the importance of Sister City relationships and importance of supporting the next gen to continue to learn about each country by promoting youth exchanges.  This is the second meeting of Sister Cities International leadership with Mrs Abe who has expressed her interest in supporting the efforts to promote continued cultural and educational ties between the U.S. and Japan. Thank you ...

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Friendships Found through Pasadena Sister Cities Committee

Few Sister Cities relationships go back as far as the one shared between Pasadena-Ludwigshafen—and the friendships between residents of the two cities go back even further. As early as 1946, residents of Pasadena, California were aware that Ludwigshafen, Germany was among the neediest in all of post-war Europe thanks to their local American Friends Service Committee. Eager to help, the residents of Pasadena began sending much needed supplies to individuals in Ludwigshafen and the first friendships between the two cities residents were spawned—eventually leading to the ...

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Sister Cities Association of Sarasota Exchange Will Help Students Learn Playwriting

Sister Cities teachers, here in the U.S. on behalf of the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, pose with Sarasota Mayor Liz Albert
In July, teachers from three Sarasota Sister Cities traveled to the United States to take part in Florida Studio Theatre’s Write-A-Play Teacher Training, thanks to the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota. During their visit, they received a tour of Sarasota sites including the Ringling Museum, the University South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Ringling College of Art & Design and Mote Marine Aquarium. They also received Honorary Sarasota Citizen Certificates from Mayor Liz Alpert at City Hall. The Write-A-Play contest is an annual event where high school and ...

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Congratulations to the 2018 Young Artists and Authors Showcase Winners

Building the Bridge Between Nations by McKay Osborne, 2018 YAAS winner
We want to extend a huge congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2018 Young Artists and Authors Showcase. For decades, Sister Cities International has leveraged the power that art has to transform societies and transcend cultural boundaries through the Young Artists and Authors Showcase. The Showcase has given youth worldwide the opportunity to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world through original artwork and literature. This year's theme was the "Art of Diplomacy," which highlights the importance of citizen diplomacy and the innovative ...

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City Leaders and Citizen Diplomats Explore Entrepreneurship, Cultural Understanding, and Smart Cities at “Cities Leading the Way” August 2-4

Ron Nirenberg and Tim Quigley at the 2016 Annual Conference Flag Parade
Aurora, Colorado will be the nexus of worldwide connections as Sister Cities International hosts their 2018 Annual Conference and 2018 Youth Leadership Summit. The conference will bring together more than 300 elected and municipal officials, business leaders, and engaged citizen diplomats and over 100 high school students from across the U.S. and the globe to learn about citizen diplomacy. The theme of the conference is “Cities Leading the Way.” “This landmark gathering will demonstrate how citizen diplomacy forges mutual interests and ties of respect across ...

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Nashville, Tennessee Celebrates Another Successful Summer of Student Exchanges

In June, Sister Cities of Nashville said farewell to 35 Nashville area high school students and 4 teacher chaperones as they embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Through our Student Ambassador program, students have the opportunity to participate in two-week cultural and educational immersion programs where they stay with local families in our sister cities each summer. Both outbound and inbound exchanges take place with six of Nashville’s eight sister city partners. This year, groups traveled to Mendoza, Argentina; Caen and Paris, France; Magdeburg and Berlin, ...

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