Geschichte der Städtepartnerschaft Dortmund-Leeds – Teil 3: Seit 2019

Leeds strengthens ties with Dortmund

February 12, 2021

Leeds and Dortmund are committing to strengthening relations with the re-signing of their Memorandum of Understanding today, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Stadt Dortmund (Germany) has been twinned with Leeds for over 50 years with 2019 being the 50th year anniversary of the partnership. With the UK now out of the EU, the two cities wanted to reaffirm their ongoing and successful partnership by pledging to continue to work together across social, educational, cultural and economic exchange and to increase the prosperity of the city of Leeds and the city of Dortmund and their residents.

After World War II, cities all over Europe, particularly in Germany, France and the UK, started twinnings to nurture international understanding on a people to people level and to build peace between the nations of Europe. The friendship between Leeds and Dortmund dates back to 1969 and has developed into a strategic partnership which encourages cooperation around key city challenges, such as climate change, economic development and health and well-being. Recently, the partnership has seen the two cities sharing best practice around responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the early 2000s Leeds United helped the BVB Borussia Dortmund to develop a community hub for children and young people to learn about the dangers of radicalism and excluding others.  Outside the world of football, there are also regular exchanges between Leeds and Dortmund that revisit the core themes of the city twinning.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“In renewing this Memorandum of Understanding during our most challenging times with the departure of the UK from the European Union and the unprecedented impacts of the pandemic goes to show how committed we are as a city to uphold these important connections and collaborate with cities outside of our own for mutual benefit.

“We are very proud to be able to continue our partnership with the City of Dortmund which plays a crucial role in sharing experience and learnings to support the local economy and create jobs, to assist social and community cohesion, to nurture cultural diversity and to embrace internationalism.”

In 2019 the two cities celebrated 50 years of partnership with a host of activities taking place in Leeds as well as a visiting delegation from Dortmund which included the Mayor, Manfred Sauer. The celebrations concluded last year with Dortmund hosting an online exhibition called 50 Years Dortmund Leeds. What Connects Us which aimed to celebrate and strengthen connections based on cultural similarities. Led by the Dortmund’s City Council and the artist association, Dortmunder Gruppe, the exhibition features a virtual collage made up of photographs from various artists and cultural professionals from Dortmund and Leeds. These images document visits, activities, projects, friendships and partnerships involving residents, institutions or associations from both cities. You can view the Dortmund 50th year exhibition online by visiting 

The Mayor of Dortmund, Thomas Westphal said:

“I am very pleased that through this Memorandum of Understanding the City of Dortmund can renew and reinforce its commitment to a town twinning which dates back to 1969, after more than 50 years of successful cooperation.

“In light of Brexit and the worldwide pandemic, the signing of this new agreement is a strong symbol for the basic idea of a united Europe. This Memorandum of Understanding promotes the bilateral cooperation between Leeds and Dortmund as big cities with closely linked communities. I would like to thank my colleague Councillor Judith Blake for initiating the signing of this new agreement.”

Calling all start-ups – exciting opportunity to access German market and develop collaborations with companies from Dortmund

June 24, 2021

Leeds’partner city Dortmund has launched an exciting opportunity for start-ups to access the German market and develop new collaborations with companies based in Dortmund.

The programme launched by Dortmund’s Economic Development agency and known as DOaccelerate, invites international start-ups to respond to several key challenges that have been set by 5 major businesses in Dortmund and are linked to the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT and Data Analytics.  Full details of the 5 challenges and businesses can be found here.

If you think you have what it takes to respond to the challenge then you can apply by completing this short application form. The deadline for applications is 15 August 2021. Successful applicants will be invited to work on the solution in collaboration with the relevant business. More details about the process can be found here.

Meine Welt Auf Corona – An Exhibition connecting Leeds & Dortmund

This guest blog piece is from Bruce Davies from, Leeds based BasementArtsProject, who travelled to Dortmund this Autumn to take part in an exhibition called, Meine Welt Auf Corona’ (My World on Corona).

My connection to the recent ‘Meine Welt Auf Corona’ exhibition in Dortmund goes back to mid-2014, when I was asked by East Street Arts to sit on a selection panel for the Artist House 45 project. This is a residency project located in South Leeds less than five minutes from BasementArtsProject. Whilst I was in part responsible for the initial selection of artist duo LloydWilson for the inaugural residency, it continues to this day placing artists at the heart of the South Leeds community. As the closest art relative nearby in South Leeds, we have always enjoyed a good working relationship with both ESA and the residents of Artist House 45.

For more information: