The City Council has adopted a resolution to establish Heidelberg, Germany as Palo Alto’s newest Sister City, signaling a new partnership focused on innovation, shared learning and best practices. The official designation as a Sister City follows the Council’s 2013 Smart City Partnership Agreement with Heidelberg that collaborated on sustainability and technology within local government. Since that time, Palo Alto has entered into several other Sister City/Smart City partnerships including with Enschede, the Netherlands and Linkoping, Sweden. Also, the Neighbors Abroad program, which was formed in the early 1960s by citizen leaders to create and manage the City’s emerging international relations strategy, has recently added capacity and approved the addition of Heidelberg to the Sister City program. Mayor Scharff and City Manager Jim Keene will travel to Heidelberg in September to officially celebrate the new affiliation with a formal signing ceremony.
The Sister City concept was inaugurated by President Eisenhower in 1956 as a way to create bonds between people from different cities and to promote cultural exchanges and educational opportunities. Over the years, the City’s partnership with Neighbors Abroad has led to sister city relations with Palo, Philippines; Oaxaca, Mexico, Enschede, the Netherlands; Linkoping, Sweden; Albi, France and Tsuchiura, Japan.