Freiburg and its partners all over the world
Freiburg im Breisgau
As one of the major towns in the Black Forest, Freiburg lies in the so-called Dreiländereck, the place where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Freiburg is both, a metropolis open to the world and a provincial town with its own rural traditions.
The historical town centre with its lanes and Bächle, small streams flowing all through the old town, is visited by millions of tourists every year. To establish contacts and seek community with others has always been one of Freiburg's characteristics. Together with its favourable location, this turn Freiburg into a truly "open city".
Freiburg is currently twinned with nine cities: Besançon in France (1959), Innsbruck in Austria (1963), Padua in Italy (1967), Guildford in Great Britain (1979), Madison in the USA (1987), Matsuyama in Japan (1988), Lviv in the Ukraine (1989), Granada in Spain (1991) and Isfahan in Iran (2001). Adding to that, Freiburg has a town friendship with Wiwilí in Nicaragua. The coats of arms of all these cities are embedded in the stone mosaics outside the historical town hall in Freiburg. The Millennium Forest close to Freiburg airfield was planted with trees from the different areas.
The town twinnings only provide an institutional frame which is filled by the people living in the respective cities. The Partnerschaftsstelle in Freiburg establishes contacts and provides organisational help. It organizes annual travels to the partner cities, offers work experience in various enterprises as well as scholarships and accommodation. The exchange on a communal level is complemented by the activities of the citizens and the work of the partnership societies, schools and the university.
A lively cultural exchange with concerts, plays and exhibitions takes place between Freiburg and all its twin partners. There is a series of concerts organized by the city's Society for the Promotion of Town Twinnings with musicians from Granada, Innsbruck, Padua and Freiburg who play at all these locations within eight successive days.
Examples for a fruitful exchange on an economic level are the co-operation between the trade fairs of Padua and Freiburg and the cities' chambers of handicraft, as well as Freiburg's participation in Matsuyama's International Fair. Furthermore, Freiburg supports Isfahan in developing its system of public transport as well as several solar energy projects.
One of the most important aspects of the town twinships is the exchange between young people. For years the city has been providing support for exchanges among schools and youth groups in different areas and often form friendships that last for many years to come.
The background for the partnerships with Wiwilí and Lviv was the humanitarian aid that was supplied in times of need by the citizens of Freiburg. Soup kitchens, donations and the transportation of goods helped to relieve people’s hardship.
The success of the town twinnings becomes evident when one looks at the commitment on the part of the citizens who thus turn them into what they were originally intended to be: a getting together of people from cities from all over the world to form friendships and learn about each other’s way of life.