Partnership strengthened: partnership agreement between Dortmund and Leeds renewed

(Foto: Roland Gorecki)

Dortmund. Dortmund and the British Leeds and have been twinned for over 50 years. Great Britain’s exit from the EU was an occasion for the city leaders to reaffirm this longstanding partnership.

Thomas Westphal, Lord Mayor of Dortmund and Judith Blake, City Council Chairwoman of the City of Leeds, exchanged views on February 12th via video conference. The result is the renewal of the new Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum of Understanding is to be understood as a partnership agreement that sets out common city points and is intended to strengthen further cooperation. Both city leaders agreed to continue to build up the long-standing friendship and to further promote it with a view to the difficult circumstances.

Thomas Westphal: “That is a strong and important statement for us. Especially in today’s times – with a view to Brexit and the corona pandemic – we are responsible for maintaining and strengthening this partnership. “

The reason for the exchange is the UK’s exit from the EU, which came into force in January, as well as the imminent change at the top in Leeds: Judith Blake will take up her seat in the House of Lords in London from March 25, as the representative of her city. Her successor James Lewis will take her place in Leeds.

Blake said: “This is a perfect opportunity to look back on our successful partnership, despite all the changes. Our cities are linked by a strong partnership and that is what we both continue to stand for. We will show and confirm this by signing the memorandum. “

This was followed by a greeting from BVB striker Erling Haaland, who was born in Leeds and whose father played in the Leeds football club. He wished that the friendship would last a long time.

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In this sense, Thomas Westphal and Judith Blake agreed: The partnership is an important sign in today’s world. Therefore, both continue to work for the cultural, economic and above all partnership-based exchange between Dortmund and Leeds.


The city of Dortmund has a total of eight international twin cities: In addition to Leeds, there are the cities of Amiens (France), Netanya (Israel), Buffalo (USA), Novi Sad (Serbia), Rostov-on-Don (Russia), Trabzon (Turkey) and Xi’an (China) about it. The history of the partnership between Dortmund and Leeds began in 1957. The then Lord Mayor of Dortmund, Dietrich Keuning, traveled to Leeds, the largest city of Yorkshire, at the invitation of the British Foreign Office. Several years of initial approaches followed through mutual visits by representatives and youth exchange initiatives. At the International Culture Days, which Dortmund again held with Great Britain in 1969, the decision was made to strengthen the friendship through an official town twinning. On June 2, 1969, Dortmund’s Lord Mayor Heinrich Sondermann presented this declaration to his colleague Lord Mayor Bretherick at a public council meeting.

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