The concept of Twin Towns or Twin Cities is an interesting one. Having emerged after WW2, the concept of twinning cities was originally intended to promote a much-needed sense of alliance and understanding between people of different countries and cultures with a view to reconciliation and peace.
Twinned towns are often matched due to the similarities between them, so it’s interesting to note with who Tel Aviv (ranked as the city with the most twins) – is partnered with, and their shared characteristics.
Most of Tel Aviv’s twinned cities are financial and state capitals, which, like Tel Aviv, host financial districts, a diverse population, and a large student body. Tel Aviv’s first twin city is Toulouse in France, which joined Tel Aviv in 1962, with Philadelphia & Buenos Aires following shortly after. In 1992, Bulgaria’s capital – Sofia joined the venture, and seems to have created a flow of additional co operations.
Between 1993 and 2000, Milan, Italy; Bangkok, Thailand; Izmir, Turkey; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Yinchuan, South Korea and Kishinev, Moldova joined the Tel Aviv twin city list. Beijing, China was the last to join in 2006.
In addition to the 10 twin cities, Tel Aviv has cultural, financial and educational partnerships with many more cities around the world. The list includes Assen, Frankfurt, Cologne and Bonn in Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Belgrade, Serbia; Barcelona, Spain; Vienna in Austria which has a financial partnership with Tel Aviv; Warsaw in Poland with an education-focused partnership, Yokohoma in Japan which boasts a friendship with Tel Aviv; Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia; New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio in the US; Panama City, and Paris and Cannes in France.
An additional type of partnership is the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), which serves as a basis for financial collaborations. Chungcheong and Guangonz in China, Freiberg in Germany and Moscow in Russia have signed an MoU with Tel Aviv, meaning the cities will collaborate in financial, economic, scientific, technological and cultural venues.
It is customary for city mayors and university personnel to visit their twin cities, thus increasing the partnership aspect as well as adding to the tourism flow. Tel Aviv-Yafo, the first Hebrew city, has determined to be a leader in promoting tolerance and peace. The municipality hosts professional and civilian delegations, and sends its own delegations abroad to strengthen the ties and encourage international collaboration.
Among the partnership commemorations in Tel Aviv you will find the Toulouse Garden, Philadelphia Street, Sofia Community Street, Milan Square and Kishinev Community Street. Around the world, you will find mentions of Tel Aviv in her twin cities, such as the Tel Aviv beach in Vienna, and the Tel Aviv Square in Bulgaria.
A reminder that any initiative that has the intention of collaboration and union at its core are key to creating a more unified, progressive world.