Boston currently has ten Sister Cities from Hangzhou to Praia, and continues to foster international exchanges. The purpose of these exchanges is to create international understanding and goodwill.
A Sister City agreement is formalized when two communities from different nations join together to develop a friendly and meaningful relationship. The two cities exchange people, ideas, culture, education, and technology. Citizens from both communities learn about each other's culture and become directly involved in developing unique solutions to common problems.
The Sister Cities Program promotes world peace in an individual level and encourages citizens to better understand community, by contrasting their way of life with another culture. Find out more about the Sister Cities program.
Sister City ties established: 1959
Kyoto became Boston's first Sister City in 1959. The two cities have in common a great wealth of history, education, culture, commerce, and strong neighborhood identities. As a tangible gesture of friendship toward the people of Boston, the City of Kyoto has donated a "Japan House" to the Boston Children's Museum. To date, this is believed to be the most generous gift from a foreign Sister City to an American community.
Kyoto and Boston host several events throughout the year, including an annual high school exchange where ten students from each city visit in alternate years. In recent years Mayor Walsh has hosted students from Horikawa High School in Kyoto who make an annual visit to Boston on a school trip.
Sister City ties established: 1960
Strasbourg, like Boston, is a center of government, economy, culture, education, and medicine. Already host to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and the European Parliament, Strasbourg is striving to become Europe's new capital. Strasbourg and Boston are known for their majestic churches and beautiful historic landmarks. Both cities place a great emphasis on historic preservation. Since the first official visit to Strasbourg in 1960, many events and exchanges between artists, government officials and students have taken place between the two cities.
Recently Mayor Walsh welcomed Roland Reis Mayor of Strasbourg and a delegation of city officials for a two day program that included attendance at the Boston Marathon, and a visit to the Roxbury Innovation Center.
Sister City ties established: 1980
Barcelona is, in many respects, a striking twin of Boston, with its port, where Columbus began his historical journey, the modern office tower of its commercial district, and the narrow, winding streets of its Barrio Gotico.
Like Boston, Barcelona has a thriving innovation economy rooted in high tech, fintech, and bio tech. In 2016 due to the City of Boston’s work with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the existing sister city connection with Barcelona Catalonia Trade and Investment agency organized a visit of 10 digital health startups from Spain to Boston.
Sister City ties established: 1982
Hangzhou, generally regarded as China's most scenic city, was described by Marco Polo as "Paradise on Earth". From this perspective, it is easy to see why Boston and Hangzhou have so much in common. Designated a special trade zone by the Chinese government, the City of Hangzhou is now seeking to strengthen economic ties with Boston.
In August, the Hangzhou Tourism Commission sponsored a global promotional tour to Boston. A Hangzhou family and US family traveled around the world to 10 cities. The Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment hosted the group during their trip Boston. The meeting and the delegation’s visits to Boston tourist attractions were filmed and posted on the City of Boston and City of Hangzhou websites.
Sister City ties established: 1983
The City of Padua's commitment to excellence in education, as evidence in its fine universities, creates an important bond with Boston. Student exchanges at both high school and university level have reflected this shared dedication. A high point in the Sister City relationship to date has been "Padua Week," an eight-day cultural event featuring fashions, art exhibits, culinary demonstrations, music by Padua Chamber Orchestra, and the gala event, "Serata Veneta."
The sister city relationship has also led to a formal business agreement between the Boston based Italy New England Chamber of Commerce, and their counterparts from the Padua/Veneto region.
Sister City ties established: 1985
Melbourne is Boston's most distant Sister City. This relationship has produced many interesting programs, including: a joint exhibit of children's art and literature; a teacher's exchange; lectures on the Australian American Alliance; and exchanges of artists and performers. Melbourne has established successful programs with area institutions including Beth Israel and Bentley College. The Melbourne Sister City Association helped to sponsor the Melbourne Trade Fair, held in Boston in October of 1989, marking the first such event held in connection with the Sister Cities Program.
As Boston and Melbourne are both members of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, in November 2015 a Melbourne City Councilor visited Boston as a first step to refocusing the sister city relationship lead to an exchange of best practices around energy efficiency.
Throughout the years, Boston has welcomed many official visitors from the city of Melbourne. Melbourne, like Boston, is a city of parks and gardens, ethnic neighborhoods, museums and universities.
Sister City ties established: 1996
Taipei is the political, economic and cultural capital of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Sister city relations were established with Boston on September 3, 1996 when a delegation led by Taipei City Council Speaker James Chen visited that city to sign an Agreement on the Sister-City Relationship.
Over the years many exchanges have taken place such as a visit by Taipei Mayor Ying-jeou Ma, student exchanges, and a visit and performance by the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Delegation. Ongoing exchanges in the fields of business, culture and education promote mutual understanding to the benefit of citizens in both cities.
Sister City ties established: 2001
Sekondi-Takoradi is Boston's 8th international sister city, Boston's first sister city in Africa, and the second of Mayor Menino's administration. A delegation of 12 city officials, led by Executive Mayor Philip Kwesi Nkrumah is in Boston for six days to kick-off this new relationship.
Sekondi-Takoradi population approximately 100,000, the capital of the Western Region of Ghana, on the Gulf of Fuinea, is an important seaport and commercial city, developed around Dutch and English forts built in the 17th century. Sekondi, the older and larger of the two, prospered after the construction (1903) of a railroad to the mineral and timber resources of the hinterland. A deepwater harbor was constructed at Takoradi in 1928. The two parts merged in 1946.
Sister City ties established: 2014
Belfast is Boston’s 9th international Sister City relationship and the first of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration. At a ceremony sponsored by the Irish American Partnership Mayor Walsh together with Belfast’s Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir signed the agreement that will continue to build stronger economic development, trade and investment, tourism, youth, cultural, and educational linkages between the two cities.
The Irish community has deep roots in the Boston that continue to expand each day. Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir proclaimed that Boston is the "Irish-American capital of America’’ while also mentioning Belfast is the "fastest growing knowledge economy of Europe, birthplace of the Titantic, home of [television series] ‘Game of Thrones,’ and a world-leader in peace building". Boston is excited about this new partnership that commits both cities to identifying activities that can generate new initiatives to further nurture economic, social, cultural and faith based exchange.
Sister City ties established: 2015
The City of Boston and Cape Verde have a long-standing relationship. Cape Verdeans began settling in the Boston area by late 19th and early 20th centuries, moving from seaports and rural areas into the city, looking for employment in the economically crucial whaling and cranberry industries. Mayor Walsh and Praia’s Mayor Ulisses Correia e Silva signed a Sister City agreement to reinforce the cities’ strong academic and social ties. These cover a wide array of sectors, including public safety, education, arts and culture, trade, tourism, and health.
Boston and Praia have committed to working closely to design and develop strategies to expand commercial activities between the two cities, grow the volume of imports and exports, create jobs to boost the economies and enhance collaboration between the respective police departments.