Freiburg im Breisgau and the
To connect people despite all borders and to establish and maintain connections with many cities - this is one of Freiburg's longstanding traditions which goes back to the founding of the city by the Dukes of Zähringen. It has not lost its significance until the present day.
In the two hundred years of their rule, the Dukes of Zähringen, whose place of residence was Freiburg im Breisgau, founded numerous other cities in the adjoining areas: Bern, Thun, Burgdorf, Freiburg im Uechtland (Fribourg), Rheinfelden and Murten in Switzerland as well as St. Peter, Villingen, Bräunlingen, Neuenburg and Weilheim an der Teck in south-western Germany.
The places for these foundations were carefully chosen for political and economical reasons. This network of cities created and dominated by the Dukes of Zähringen was put under uniform law and a central administration. It was one of the principles of ruling to grant cities and citizens as much freedom as possible.
More than 800 years after the death of the last Duke of Zähringen, the memory of the city's founding fathers is still very much alive. It is only in the present times of the unification of Europe that the European dimension of the politics of the Zähringer has become evident.
Today's friendship between the German and Swiss Zähringer Cities is rooted in their common history. Not unlike the British constitution it is based not so much on a written document but on traditions grown over the centuries.