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International Relations

Internationalization has become an important issue for many cities: a city can no longer act alone, or only within national borders, if it wants to be competitive and fit for the future. It must rethink and consciously shape its external relations in order to meet the challenges of globalization and actively exploit its opportunities.

The City of Hannover cooperates with other cities and partners within the framework of town-twinning arrangements, thematic city partnerships, networks and international collaborative projects financed by the EU.

Town Twinning

Hannover is twinned with six international cities – Blantyre (Malawi), Bristol (Great Britain), Hiroshima (Japan), Perpignan (France), Poznań (Poland) and Rouen (France) – and with a German city, Leipzig. These arrangements were entered into between 1947 and 1987. They are founded on the idea of reconciliation in the post-war period and are therefore primarily based on exchanges between civil societies. As a rule, they are characterized by a broad spectrum of themes. Exchanges and cooperative ventures take place within the realms of culture, education and sport, as well as in the field of communal politics. Further information on the individual towns Hannover is twinned with can be found here.

International City Partnerships

The International Unit is responsible for the strategic development and orientation of international city partnerships. In contrast to the broad-based and long-term connections with Hannover’s twinned towns, city partnerships are thematic and/or project-oriented in nature.

For example, relations with the Chinese cities of Changde and Shenzhen focus on economic cooperation (especially involving the water, creative and health industries). Hannover and the Russian city of Ivanovo are, in particular, linked by a long-standing youth exchange programme, and there are projects with Ekaterinburg, Russia aimed at promoting cultural and educational exchange as well as economic relations. In 2014, Hannover City Council initiated a partnership (involving ‘friendship’ status) with the two cities of Diyarbakir and Konya in Turkey and for some years now Hannover and Kansas City, USA, have been intensifying their exchange activities, especially in the field of music.

European and International Networks

For many years now, Lower Saxony’s state capital Hannover has been involved in various European and international city networks as well as in specialist networks within which not only cities, but also other organizations and institutions are represented. These networks serve as a platform for networking and for sharing information and experience in order to gain new insights, to find and give inspiration, and to initiate specific cooperative arrangements. In this way, Hannover takes advantage of opportunities offered by the networks and exchanges ideas with other cities on topics such as sustainable development, climate protection, the fight against racism, integration and the future of the European Union.

The International Unit exchanges views on European issues with other cities, in particular within the ‘Council of European Municipalities and Regions’, and is actively involved in “Die Hanse” (The Hanseatic League)’. It is also the office and lead city of the international city network Mayors for Peace in Germany.