The town-twinning system was set up after the Second World War and twinnings have helped Strasbourg drive its European and international development through cultural, sport, school and university exchanges set up by local partners and associations and supported by the City. The system also allows Strasbourg to demonstrate its expertise in key issues such as transport, childcare and sustainable development.
Strasbourg has been twinned with Boston (USA) and Leicester (United Kingdom) since 1960, Stuttgart (Germany) since 1962, Dresden (Germany) since 1990 and Ramat-Gan (Israel) since 1991.
Boston: universities and research
The twinning with the capital of Massachusetts was first promoted by Charles Munch, the Strasbourg-born conductor of Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1949 to 1962. The twinning arrangement highlights three main areas:
- University and research exchanges, with a number of high-level partnerships between the universities of Strasbourg and Boston (which has some of the most dynamic universities and research centres in the world, including Harvard, MIT, Boston College and Tufts);
- Cultural exchanges;
- Student exchanges.
Exchanges on the Boston side are run by a twinning committee, the Boston Strasbourg Sister City Association
The new twinning agreement was signed on 16 July 2010, by Mayors Roland Ries of Strasbourg and Thomas Menino of Boston.
Leicester: exchanges between citizens
The twinning with Leicester has produced a rich variety of exchanges between citizens of the two cities (sports, school and university exchanges and exchanges between associations) and experience sharing in a number of areas. The Strasbourg-based Entraide - Le Relais Association has had a double-decker bus since 1982, offered by the Leicester bus company, which it uses as a mobile contact centre in its work among disaffected and destitute young people.
Leicester has a twinning committee, the City of Leicester European Twinning Association.
Stuttgart: numerous exchanges, with a focus on youth
The twinning charter signed in May 1962 between the two cities, recognised the reconciliation of Strasbourg with Germany, even before the signature of the Treaty of the Elysée in 1963. The partnership with Stuttgart is based on the strong involvement of local partners in either city, in a large number of cultural, sports, school and university exchanges. The two cities also regularly organise exchanges of technical experience in areas of common interest.
The main focus of the twinning is young people. A European Forum for young people to promote active citizenship within the younger population was held in Strasbourg from 3 to 5 November 2008, as part of the "Participation Now!" project undertaken in partnership with Stuttgart and Lodz, and was co-financed by the European Union. The City of Strasbourg also plays an active role within the Cities for Children European network, set up and coordinated by Stuttgart to promote the well-being of children, young persons and parents in the urban environment (http://www.citiesforchildren.eu/).
Dresden: culture and heritage
The twinning arrangement with the "Florence of the Elba" was signed in 1990 following German reunification, with the main focus on culture and heritage. The two cities were jointly awarded the European Cultural Foundation's Prize for Culture for European Regions, in recognition of the quality of their cultural exchanges. In 2009, the two cities also set up a joint artist-residency system.
The City of Strasbourg also provides support for school and university exchanges with Dresden. The CEFPPA (Centre Européen de Formation et de Promotion Professionnelle par Alternance pour l’Industrie Hôtelière) training centre for the hotel industry has enjoyed a fruitful 20-year relationship for training apprentices with Dresden's Industrie- und Handelskammer.
Bilateral exchanges of good practices are regularly organised between the two cities in a variety of fields. In 2010, for example, Strasbourg and Dresden shared experience on urban transport and tram systems.
Ramat Gan: sharing experience on care for the elderly
The twinning with Ramat-Gan was signed in 1991, following contacts initiated by the Alliance France-Israël organisation and a solidarity motion adopted by Strasbourg City Council to help rebuild housing destroyed in Ramat-Gan during the Gulf War. The Israeli community of Strasbourg plays a substantial role in the relations between the two cities.
Apart from cultural and artistic exchanges, in 2006 the two cities also set up a cooperation program on care for the elderly. A number of study trips have been organised with geriatric care and other sector professionals, in association with the Fonds Social Juif Unifié. These exchanges have been given a long-term foundation with the signature of the 2009 partnership convention between the ABRAPA Association for the care of the elderly in the Bas Rhin, the Fonds Social Juif Unifié and the Israeli Association JDC Eschel.
Boston and twin town student grants
The City of Strasbourg offers grants to students in a Strasbourg university who are seeking to study for a certain period in a higher education establishment or research laboratory in one of its five twinned cities. The grants come in 2 forms:
- Boston grants for Masters graduates for an amount of €3800 for a stay of over three months. Limited grants amounting to €1900 are also given to certain applicants staying under three months.
- Twin-town grants for students with a degree, amounting to €600 for Stuttgart, €900 for Dresden and Leicester and €1200 for a stay in Ramat Gan.
€61,000 is earmarked each year for these grants, which are given to some 60 Strasbourg students.
Associations: call for "Twin Town" projects
The city of Strasbourg provides financial support for initiatives and projects put forward by Strasbourg associations, schools and universities, which are either already in a partnership arrangement or which are seeking to establish exchanges with one of the twinned cities.
A call for projects is made three times a year