What is Twinning? PDF Print

Published: 11 December 2012

Region: Worldwide

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About Twinning

Town twinning is the partnering of towns; the concept of pairing cities as a way to foster links among nations and citizens. Town twinning often pairs cities that share some common characteris­tics, such as similar demographics, the same names, or similar development is­sues.

This was the definition of twinning given by Jean Bareth, one of the founders of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) after the Second World War. In this way, he identified the primary values which twinning represents: friendship, co-operation and mutual awareness between people of Europe.

The first offcial town twinning relationship was started in 1930 between the cities of Klagenfurt (Austria) and Wiesbaden (Germany).

However, the concept of town twinning was officially born after the Second World War, as first initia­tives were undertaken with the main objective of installing reconciliation and peace in Europe and to try to move on from the horrors caused by the war (CCRE, 1987).

It first began with individuals in France and Germany trying to find ways of avoiding new conflicts and of reaching a durable peace in Europe, who started forming partnerships between cities, towns and municipalities (European Union, 2003). Twinning was essentially a tool created to respond to the situation in Eu­rope after the Second World War.

Developed in Europe as a way of creating friendship ties and under­standing between the countries affected by the war, town twinning quickly spread to other continents as well. In 1944, Vancouver became the first city to be paired with a transatlantic sister city, when it was linked to Odessa, in Ukraine.

Town twinning is considered as an important concept that often leads to cultural collaborations and economic trades, as well as frequent student exchanges.