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Twin towns or sister cities are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.[1] The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War
Second World War
in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation,[2][3] and to encourage trade and tourism.[1] By the 2000s, town twinning became increasingly used to form strategic international business links between member cities.[4][5]

Contents

1 Terminology

1.1 City diplomacy

2 Europe 3 United States 4 Asia 5 Linguistic reasons 6 Political significance

6.1 Termination of Sister City Relationships as the Result of a Dispute

7 Gallery 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Terminology[edit]

An example of a 'gemellaggio' (twinning) agreement between Castellabate, Italy and Blieskastel, Germany

In the United Kingdom, the term "twin towns" is most commonly used; the term "sister cities" is generally used for agreements with towns and cities in the Americas.[1][6] In mainland Europe, the most commonly used terms are "twin towns", "partnership towns", "partner towns", and "friendship towns". The European Commission
European Commission
uses the term "twinned towns" and refers to the process as "town twinning".[1][6] Spain uses the term "ciudades hermanadas", which means "sister cities". Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic use Partnerstadt (De) / Miasto Partnerskie (Pl) / Partnerské město (Cz), which translate as "Partner Town or City". France uses Ville Jumelée (Twinned Town or City), and Italy has Gemellaggio (twinning) and Comune gemellato (twinned municipality).[7] In the Netherlands, the term is Stedenband (Cities-bond). In Greece, the word αδελφοποίηση (adelfopiisi – fraternisation) has been adopted. In Iceland, the terms vinabæir (friend towns) and vinaborgir (friend cities) are used. In the former Soviet Bloc, "twin towns" and "twin cities" are used,[8] along with города-побратимы (Ru) (sworn brother cities).[9][10] The Americas, South Asia, and Australasia use the term "sister cities" or "twin cities". In China, the term is 友好城市 (yǒuhǎo chéngshì – friendship city).[11] Sometimes, other government bodies enter into a twinning relationship, such as the agreement between the provinces of Hainan in China and Jeju-do in South Korea. The Douzelage
Douzelage
is a town twinning association with one town from each of the member states of the European Union.[1][12] Despite them often being used interchangeably, the term "friendship city" may mean a relationship with a more limited scope in comparison to a sister city relationship, and friendship city relationships are mayor-to-mayor agreements.[13] City diplomacy[edit] In recent years, the term "city diplomacy" has gained increased usage and acceptance, particularly as a strand of paradiplomacy and public diplomacy. It is formally used in the workings of the United Cities and Local Governments and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
and recognised by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. A March 2014 debate in the British House of Lords
House of Lords
acknowledged the evolution of town twinning into city diplomacy, particularly around trade and tourism, but also in culture and post-conflict reconciliation.[14] The importance of cities developing "their own foreign economic policies on trade, foreign investment, tourism and attracting foreign talent" has also been highlighted by the World Economic Forum.[15] Europe[edit] For a more comprehensive list, see List of twin towns and sister cities in Europe.

Column dedicated to Paris in Rome

The earliest known town twinning in Europe was between Paderborn, Germany, and Le Mans, France, in 836.[2][16] Starting in 1905, Keighley
Keighley
in West Yorkshire, England, had a twinning arrangement with French communities Suresnes
Suresnes
and Puteaux.[17][18] The first recorded modern twinning agreement was between Keighley
Keighley
and Poix-du-Nord
Poix-du-Nord
in Nord, France, in 1920 following the end of the First World War.[5][18][19][20] This was initially referred to as an adoption of the French town; formal twinning charters were not exchanged until 1986.[21] The practice was continued after the Second World War
Second World War
as a way to promote mutual understanding and cross-border projects of mutual benefit.[1][2][22][23][24] For example, Coventry
Coventry
twinned with Stalingrad and later with Dresden
Dresden
as an act of peace and reconciliation, all three cities having been heavily bombed during the war.[1][20][25][26][27] The City of Bath formed an " Alkmaar
Alkmaar
Adoption committee" in March 1945, when the Dutch city was still occupied by the German Army in the final months of the war, and children from each city took part in exchanges in 1945 and 1946.[28] Similarly, in 1947, Bristol
Bristol
Corporation (later Bristol
Bristol
City Council) sent five 'leading citizens' on a goodwill mission to Hanover.[5][20] Reading in 1947 was the first British town to form links with a former "enemy" city – Düsseldorf. The link still exists (Reading- Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Association: http://www.reading-dusseldorf.org.uk/). Since 9 April 1956 Rome and Paris have been exclusively and reciprocally twinned with each other, following the motto: "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris."[29][30] Within Europe, town twinning is supported by the European Union.[1][2][5] The support scheme was established in 1989. In 2003 an annual budget of about €12 million was allocated to about 1,300 projects. The Council of European Municipalities and Regions
Council of European Municipalities and Regions
also works closely with the Commission (DG Education and Culture) to promote modern, high quality twinning initiatives and exchanges that involve all sections of the community. It has launched a website dedicated to town twinning.[31] As of 1995, the European Union had more than 7,000 bilateral relationships involving almost 10,000 European municipalities, primarily French (2837 twinnings) and German (2485 twinnings).[24]

The painting of Gagny

Sutton twin towns mural

The painting of Minden

Public art
Public art
has been used to celebrate twin town links, for instance in the form of seven mural paintings in the centre of the town of Sutton, Greater London. The five main paintings show a number of the main features of the London Borough of Sutton
London Borough of Sutton
and its four twin towns, along with the heraldic shield of each above the other images. Each painting also features a plant as a visual representation of its town's environmental awareness.[32] In the case of Sutton this is in a separate smaller painting (above its main one) showing a beech tree, intended as a symbol of prosperity and from which Carshalton
Carshalton
Beeches in the borough derives its name.[33] Another example of the use of public art is the wall sculpture of the partner cities of Munich, Germany. A recent study has concluded that geographical distance has very little, if any, influence upon communities' selections of a twin town.[34] Twinned towns are often chosen because of similarities between them; thus about 15 towns in Wales are twinned with towns in Brittany, and Oxford
Oxford
is with Bonn, Leiden, Grenoble
Grenoble
and other university cities.[1] Many former West German cities are twinned with former East German cities; these twinning links were established before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Famous examples are the partnerships of Hanover
Hanover
and Leipzig, both of which have important trade fair grounds, or between Hamburg
Hamburg
and Dresden. The first US-German town twinning was in 1947 between Worthington, Minnesota
Worthington, Minnesota
and Crailsheim.[1] St Petersburg in Russia holds the record for the largest number of partnership arrangements with other communities.[34] In June 2012, the Scottish village of Dull and the US town of Boring, Oregon, agreed to twin their municipalities to promote tourism in both places, playing on their names.[35][36][37] Recently some towns have made novelty twinning arrangements with fictional or virtual locations. Wincanton, England is partnered with Ankh-Morpork
Ankh-Morpork
from Terry Pratchett's Discworld
Discworld
books.[38] Town twinning has increasingly been used to form strategic international business links. For example, in the 1990s, when the Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council
in the UK considered installing a tram network, it consulted experts from its twin city of Karlsruhe, which has one of the most extensive and efficient tram networks in Germany. With assistance from Karlsruhe's specialist engineers, Nottingham completed its second tram line in 2013.[4] More recently Bristol
Bristol
and New Orleans have announced their intention to form a 'tuning' partnership based on a shared musical heritage and culture offer, at the initiative of Bristol
Bristol
Mayor George Ferguson.[39] Annecy, France and Nerima, Tokyo have for several years shared a partnership based around their "co-existent animation industry".[40][41] United States[edit] For a more comprehensive list, see List of twin towns and sister cities in North America.

Dull, Perth and Kinross
Dull, Perth and Kinross
is twinned with Boring, Oregon

Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
twinned with Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain
in 1931 and was the first city in North America to engage in town twinning. Liberal, Kansas
Liberal, Kansas
was twinned with Olney, Buckinghamshire
Olney, Buckinghamshire
in 1950, and the cities have run a joint Pancake Day race ever since.[42][43] Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, was twinned with Seattle, Washington in 1973. Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester, Minnesota
and Knebworth, UK are both centers for primary medical research, and they twinned in 1967. Town twinning begins for a variety of reasons. Generally, partner towns share similar demographics and size. They may arise from business connections, travel, similar industries, diaspora communities, or shared history. For example, the partnership between Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
and Bologna, Italy arose from shared industries in biotechnology and education, and a "similar attitude towards food".[44] whereas Chicago's link with Warsaw, Poland began with Chicago's historic Polish community,[45] The twinning of Indianapolis with Monza, Italy is due to both cities' long association with auto racing.

Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall
with twin towns fingerpost

A twin towns program was instituted in the United States in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
proposed a citizen diplomacy initiative. Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International
(SCI) was originally a program of the National League of Cities, but it became a separate corporation in 1967 due to the growth and popularity of the program.[46]

Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
stele, in sister city Melbourne[47]

Twin town cultural events include the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. honoring Washington's twin relationship with Tokyo City. Many twinned towns developed business agreements with their partners. For example, Vermont's Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company opened a factory in the Republic of Karelia
Republic of Karelia
in Russia and offered the same profit-sharing plan to its Russian employees. Asia[edit] For a more comprehensive list, see List of twin towns and sister cities in Asia.

Isfahan
Isfahan
Street in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
(top) and Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Avenue in Isfahan
Isfahan
(bottom).

Town twinning is supported in Japan by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, a joint agency of local governments established by the Japanese government in 1988 (similar to Sister Cities International, its counterpart in the US). More recently, Tokyo has begun to actively promote 'city diplomacy' with other global cities at the initiative of its governor Yoichi Masuzoe.[48] Daman, India
India
is a twin town of the city of Coimbra, Portugal.[49] Linguistic reasons[edit] Relationships between communities can also arise because of shared names; they may be named after one community (as in the case of Córdoba), they may share names (as in the case of Santiago de Compostela), or their names may have a common etymology.

Road sign of Artieda
Artieda
de Aragón and Emiliano Zapata, an autonomous Zapatista municipality.

These similarities usually arise from sharing the same or related language, or from having been a colony or previously conquered. Political significance[edit] Twinning towns and cities is sometimes done for political purposes. The Hungarian city Gyöngyös
Gyöngyös
was twinned with the Azerbaijani city of Shusha
Shusha
in 2013, signing the twinning agreement with representatives from the Azerbaijani government; Hungary recognises Shusha
Shusha
as part of Azerbaijan, even though since the end of the Karabakh War
Karabakh War
it has been controlled by the military forces of Armenia
Armenia
and the unrecognised Artsakh (de jure part of Azerbaijan).[50] An attempt was made in 2003 by Preston city councillors in England to twin with the Palestinian town of Nablus
Nablus
in the name of solidarity.[51] Termination of Sister City Relationships as the Result of a Dispute[edit]

In 2013, the Italian cities of Milan, Venice, and Turin, formerly twinned with Saint Petersburg, suspended their links due to Russia's passage of anti-gay legislation.[52][53] Activists in California circulated petitions urging California
California
cities and countries with relationships with Russian counterparts to take similar steps.[54] In 2017, the mayor of Osaka, Hirofumi Yoshimura, ended the city's 60-year relationship with San Francisco
San Francisco
due to the erection of a memorial to comfort women in downtown San Francisco.[55][56] Similarly, the cities of Glendale, California
California
and Higashiosaka, Japan came close to terminating their twinning in 2013/14 on account of an ongoing dispute over Glendale's support for the erection of a statue dedicated to Korean comfort women in a city park.[57] In 2014, Prague
Prague
terminated its partnership with Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
and Moscow because of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Moscow had been Prague's partner city since 1995.[58]

Gallery[edit]

Louisville's twin towns

Coats of arms of the twin towns Szamotuły, Poland and Brignoles, France

Aubergenville, France Villes jumelées

Bilingual sign
Bilingual sign
in Bandırma.

Insignia of twin towns on town hall in Kralupy nad Vltavou, Czech Republic.

Sign in the United Kingdom showing the twinning of Epping, England with similarly-named Eppingen
Eppingen
in Germany.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria twin towns directions

Ottobrunn, Germany Partnerschaftsschild Partner cities

Four twinning towns of Brzeg Dolny, Poland

Twin town signs of Kemi, Finland

Sign denoting twin towns of Neckarsulm
Neckarsulm
and Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Zaventem, Belgium twin towns

Twin town monument in Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia

Linköping, Sweden
Sweden
twin towns

Yalta, Crimea and Santa Barbara, California
California
are twin towns

Coats of arms of Weinsberg's twin towns Carignan, France and Costigliole d'Asti, Italy

Twin towns sign in Osijek, Croatia

Bełchatów, Poland's twin towns

Holon, Israel, a twin towns garden

The coats of arms of the twin towns of Dundee, UK, with their countries' flags

Worms, Germany partner cities sign

Welcome to Glastonbury, UK - Twin towns Lalibela, Ethiopia and Patmos, Greece

Town twinning commemoration, Godalming, UK

Rimini, Italy's twin towns

'50 years of town twinning', German stamp from 1997

50th Anniversary celebrations twin towns Suresnes, France and Holon[59]

Kragujevac
Kragujevac
and Suresnes
Suresnes
twinning agreement

Rochester NY
Rochester NY
Sister Cities Bridge and Chamber of Commerce

Chinatown, Philadelphia. The arch built in Qing Dynasty style, using tiles from Philadelphia's twin town, Tianjin, China

Partnership shield in Ilmenau, Germany

Sign showing twin towns of Pápa, Hungary

Piazza Terracina, Exeter. Named after one of Exeter's twin towns Terracina

Twin towns garden in Holon

Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France twinnings

Melun, France twinnings

Wołów, Poland's MiG-17 twin town direction sign to Berdychiv, Ukraine

Zalaegerszeg, Hungary twinnings

Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Platz in Saarbrücken, Germany

Créteil, France twinnings

See also[edit]

Council of Local Authorities for International Relations Cross-border town naming Douzelage Global city Lists of twin towns and sister cities List of twin towns and sister cities in Europe Most Ancient European Towns Network Paradiplomacy Partnership2Gether Sister Cities International

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j Clarke, N. "Town Twinning in Britain since 1945: A Summary of findings" (PDF). School of Geography, University of Southampton, final author version post peer reviewing (2011). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.  External link in work= (help) ^ a b c d "The Origins of Town Twinning" (PDF). Inverness: The City of Inverness
Inverness
Town Twinning Committee. 8 December 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2009.  ^ "What is town twinning?". L'Association des Communes Jumelées du Limousin. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.  ^ a b Brown, Tom (31 July 2013). "Twin towns: Do we still need them?". BBC East Midlands Today. BBC News. Retrieved 7 August 2013.  ^ a b c d Handley, Susan. Judith Barton, eds. Take your partners – The local authority handbook on international partnerships. 2006 (10 ed.). Local Government International Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2013. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ a b "Action 1 – Measure 1: Town Twinning". The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Retrieved 26 August 2013.  ^ Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Firenze (BNCF) Thesaurus (in Italian) ^ "Mogilev: Twin Towns – Twin Cities". Mogilev city executive committee. Retrieved 19 October 2013.  ^ "Tbilisi, Vilnius become brother cities". Trend News Agency. Retrieved 12 October 2009.  ^ Self-Pierson, Rob (30 April 2012). "Is there a point to twin towns?". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2013.  ^ "Sister City" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-15.  ^ "Douzelage.org: Home". www.douzelage.org. Retrieved 21 October 2009.  ^ "What is the difference between a Sister City and a Friendship City? AustinTexas.gov - The Official Website of the City of Austin". austintexas.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-18.  ^ "Lords Hansard text for 26 Mar 2014 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ "Five key lessons for city competitiveness". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ Lelièvre, Jean; Balavoine, Maurice (1994). Le Mans-Paderborn, 836–1994: dans l'Europe, une amitié séculaire, un sillage de lumière (in French). Le Mans: M. Balavoine. pp. 1–42. Retrieved 9 August 2013.  ^ Frank Crane (2008). War and World Government. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-559-44381-7. Retrieved 20 September 2009.  ^ a b "France Magazine – Twin Towns". www.francemag.com. Retrieved 6 November 2009.  ^ Handley, Susan (2006). Take your partners: The local authority handbook on international partnerships. London: Local Government International Bureau. p. 4. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2009.  ^ a b c "Town twinning in the UK and Germany". East Street Arts. Retrieved 29 July 2013.  ^ " Keighley
Keighley
celebrates twin town jubilee". Telegraph & Argus. Newsquest Media Group. 2002. Retrieved 5 January 2009.  ^ "Ghajnsielem.com – Twinning". www.ghajnsielem.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2009.  ^ "Twin Towns". www.amazingdusseldorf.com. Retrieved 29 October 2009.  ^ a b Furmankiewicz, Marek (21 March 2004). "Town-twinning as a factor generating international flows of goods and people" (PDF). Institute of Geography and Regional Development, University of Wrocław, Poland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.  ^ Griffin, Mary (2 August 2011). "Coventry's twin towns". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.  ^ "Coventry—Twin towns and cities". Coventry
Coventry
City Council. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.  ^ "Disney seeks UK twin". www.ukprwire.com. Retrieved 30 October 2009.  ^ "Bath Alkmaar
Alkmaar
Twinning Association ORIGINS". www.bath-alkmaar.eu. Retrieved 2017-06-23.  ^ "Twinning with Rome". Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2010.  ^ "Les pactes d'amitié et de coopération". Mairie de Paris. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2007.  ^ "Twinnings". Twinning.org. Retrieved 16 June 2009.  ^ "Murals for Sutton twin towns to get new lease of life". Sutton Guardian. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  "Murals for Sutton twin towns to get new lease of life". London News. 12 June 2011. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  ^ "Revealing Sutton's twinning heritage 06.06.11: A set of murals celebrating Sutton's links with its continental twin towns is to be given a new lease of life" (Press release). London Borough of Sutton press office. 6 June 2011. Archived from the original on 25 August 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  ^ a b Kaltenbrunner, Andreas; Aragon, Pablo; Laniado, David; Volkovich, Yana (16 February 2013). "Not all paths lead to Rome: Analysing the network of sister cities". arXiv:1301.6900  [cs.SI].  ^ LeVeille, David. "A Tale of Dull and Boring Sister Cities". The World.org. Retrieved 15 July 2013.  ^ "Boring in Oregon votes to pair with Dull in Perthshire". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ Gambino, Lauren. "Dull and Boring? Sounds exciting". KVAL. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.  ^ unknown (6 December 2002). "Pratchett city twins with real town". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 September 2013.  ^ unknown (27 February 2014). "How Bristol
Bristol
could become the New Orleans of the UK". Bristol
Bristol
Post. Retrieved 17 August 2014.  ^ 'Stimulation Project for the Coexistent Animation Industry Cluster in Nerima', Nerima
Nerima
City, January 2009 ^ 'Using pop culture to assert distinctiveness of place', Japan Local Government Centre, London, March 2011 ^ "Liberal wins 60th Int'l Pancake race". United Press International (UPI). Retrieved 30 April 2011.  ^ "Pancake Race 2007". Archived from the original on 6 February 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ "Mission". Portland Bologna
Bologna
Sister City Association. Retrieved 16 July 2012.  ^ Leroux, Charles (31 July 2001). "Chicago has assembled a sorority of sister cities". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 July 2012.  ^ Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International
Fact Sheet Archived 24 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Greek twinnings" (PDF). Central Union of Municipalities & Communities of Greece. Retrieved 25 August 2013.  ^ Alexander Martin. "Tokyo Governor Seeks Better Ties With Seoul". WSJ. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ "Damão, Índia". coimbra.pt (in Portuguese). Coimbra, Portugual: Câmara Municipal de Coimbra. 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.  ^ "APA – Gyöngyös
Gyöngyös
city of Hungary fraternize with Azerbaijan's occupied town of Shusha
Shusha
– PHOTOSESSION". Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ " Nablus
Nablus
twinning bid rejected". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ " Milan
Milan
severs twin city ties with St Petersburg over 'homosexual propaganda' ban". The Telegraph. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.  ^ Claire Bigg, Sister Cities Ramp Up Russia Boycott Over Antigay Law, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (July 19, 2013). ^ Bajko, Matthew S. (15 August 2013). "Political Notebook: Cities asked to suspend ties with Russian counterparts". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 27 August 2013.  ^ Jacey Fortin, 'Comfort Women' Statue in San Francisco
San Francisco
Leads a Japanese City to Cut Ties, New York Times (November 25, 2017). ^ Adam Taylor, Osaka
Osaka
mayor to end sister city status with San Francisco over 'comfort women' statue, Washington Post (November 25, 2017). ^ "Japan city mayor lodges protest over "comfort women" memorial cost". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.  ^ " Prague
Prague
suspends partnership with Russian cities". Prague
Prague
Post. 2 September 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.  ^ " Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International
(SCI)". Sister-cities.org. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Town twinning.

European congress on citizenship and twinning Germany and the town twinning movement Town twinning in Europe's municipalities, towns and regions Twinning in Europe UK Town Twinning Portal "Twinnings for Tomorrow's World – A Practical Handbook" (PDF). Brussels: CEMR Council of European Municipalities and Regions. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 

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