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Oxford is a world class city with a rich heritage and diverse cultural offer that attracts over 9 million visitors a year. Our international reputation is reflected by our twinning relationships with five other cities across the globe, three within the European Union.
Oxford is twinned with Leiden in the Netherlands, Bonn in Germany, Grenoble in France, Perm in Russia and León in Nicaragua. Each of these links is promoted and supported by a voluntary group here in Oxford working tirelessly to develop cultural exchange and fundraising programmes across the links. All of this work makes an important contribution to Oxford's civic pride and social capital. To find out about the cities Oxford is twinned with use the following links:
Join us on Monday 7 July 2014 from 4.30-7.30pm at Hinksey Outdoor Pool, Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4RP for the annual sponsored swim.
Raising money for water projects near León, Oxford's twin town in Nicaragua.
Everyone is welcome – please come and join in: for 10 minutes or an hour, for 2 lengths or 50.
The aim is to raise money and have fun, so you don’t have to swim far or fast.
Down load our flyer below for more information:
Sponsored Swim Flyer (PDF)
We celebrated our 25th anniversary of twinning with Grenoble, France in 2014. There were a number of activities which took place from 25 April to 3 May 2014.
More information is available on our Alps and Spires page.
The different voluntary twinning groups each have a slightly different focus depending on how the links with our partner cities have developed over the years. Some are informally constituted groups and others operate more formally as Associations. The work undertaken by the groups ranges between organising international projects for young people, academic or educational initiatives, civic visits, fundraising activities and the international exchange of professional, artistic and other groups. To find out about joining the voluntary groups that drive these twinning activities use the following links:
Uniting all this work is an umbrella group called Oxford International Links (OIL) and with the commitment from a dedicated group of volunteers, OIL supports the twinning groups to transform relatively small amounts of seed funding into activities that provide an international dimension to many events and projects happening across Oxford.
If you are interested in volunteering for twinning activities and events please download and complete the form below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Twinning Volunteer Application Form (13kB PDF)
From 2014, the Museum of Oxford will offer a special Gallery package throughout May to international exchange exhibitions linked to our twin cities.
For more information about this package, download the information pack below.
One of the first official Anglo-German links to be formally established after the war, Oxford has been twinned with Bonn since 1947.
In keeping with Bonn's long musical tradition - it was Beethoven's birthplace and first home - Oxford choirs, bands and orchestras perform regularly in Bonn with their partner groups.
Apart from school and university links, art, sport, hobby, youth theatre and business contacts have also been made.
Every two years there is a week of events in either Oxford or Bonn to celebrate our longstanding friendship.
See the Bonn website for more information about the city.
The Bonn Link is established for the purposes of promoting the twinning partnership between the cities of Oxford and Bonn.
Activities include assisting in establishing partnerships between organisations in the two cities having a common or similar interest; promoting a Bonn Week in Oxford at four-yearly intervals and co-ordinating the activities and participation of local organisations participating in the corresponding Oxford Week in Bonn.
The group meet quarterly and membership comprises representatives of various organisations.
The official twinning link between Oxford City and Grenoble in south-eastern France goes back to the 1980s; right now we're planning the 25th anniversary celebrations due to take place in Oxford in 2014.
Though they have some features in common - a vibrant academic, cultural, scientific and economic life - the two cities are very different in size, geographical situation and history.
In the second half of the last century Grenoble was one of the fastest growing cities in France, swallowing up the neighbouring valley communities to form a metropolitan area of half a million people. It lies along the Isère river with Alpine ranges on all sides (on a clear day Mont Blanc can be glimpsed to the east).
A dynamic modern city that has refurbished and pedestrianised its once crumbling old town, Grenoble has hosted the winter Olympics (1968), moved its university out of the centre to a leafy campus, installed a shiny tram network and built a stunning new art museum (1994) and town hall.
With an ancient university, scientific research and modern hi-tech industry Grenoble makes a natural twin, sharing many interests - and yet it is fascinatingly different. See the Grenoble website for more information about the city.
Since 1989 there have been regular exchanges between Oxford and Grenoble including educational, sporting, professional and cultural.
The Oxford-Grenoble Association and its French counterpart Alliance Grenoble-Oxford continue to help forge links, organizing memorable visits and supporting their fellow citizens' cross-Channel interests. The voluntary associations have also provided a meeting-point for French and British people at home by putting on social events.
An annual visit to or from the lively "Capital of the French Alps" is arranged. Why not come along? See for yourself this dynamic city where the arts and sciences flourish and where one in two people practise sport.
Food and drink play a key role in this link - the twinning of an Oxford pub with a Grenoble cafe will therefore come as no surprise!
For more information on Oxford Grenoble Association contact: Jean Burrell, (01865) 249062 or email: email@example.com.
Oxford-Grenoble Association Membership Form (22kB PDF)
Oxford has been twinned with Leiden, this pretty and characteristic Dutch town with its network of canals, bridges and merchants' houses, since 1946.
Two official exchanges are held every year - in May, a party from Oxford visits Leiden to remember the victims of war on the Dutch Remembrance Day, and in November, a party from Leiden visits Oxford for our Remembrance Day.
Cultural and sporting groups exchange during the rest of the year, at times to suit themselves.
A party from Oxford often visits Leiden on October 3rd when, every year, the citizens of Leiden celebrate the end of the city's siege by the Spaniards in 1574. The traditional 'hutspot' meal is eaten and herrings and bread are distributed from Leiden Town Hall. The home of the oldest university in The Netherlands, Leiden is full of bookshops, printing works and students on bikes.
See the Leiden website for more information about the city.
The Oxford-Leiden Link was established immediately after the Second World War as part of a movement to foster friendship among nations, and has adapted and evolved over the years to reflect changing lifestyles.
It is estimated that about 10,000 people on both sides of the North Sea have been involved in our cultural, sporting and social activities since 1946, giving them a valuable insight into the cultures and customs of our two cities and countries.
One of the most satisfying developments has been the introduction of multi-twinning events, in which young people from all Oxford's twinning links have come together to perform in concerts, festivals and stage productions, widening participants' experience and giving twinning a higher profile in the community.
For more information and how to become a member please visit the Oxford Leiden Association website.
León, Nicaragua's former capital and second largest city, has been twinned with Oxford since 1986.
It has an ancient cathedral and the oldest university in Central America.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It is in a volcanic region and subject to volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and tidal waves, which have a devastating effect on the poorer sections of the population.
Since the beginning of the twinning Oxford has raised money for health and education projects, as well as responding to the natural disasters, which have afflicted León. Several delegations from Oxford have visited León, including school and university students. Also, doctors from León have have spent time in Oxford learning English
See Leon's Wikipedia page for more information about the city.
The group organises fund-raising events including salsa evenings and an annual sponsored swim, which raises money for water-based development projects such as storage tanks in rural communities or filters to remove arsenic from drinking water supplies.
Each year there is a local performance of La Misa Campesina, the Nicaraguan "Peasant Mass", consisting of vibrant folk-songs, written during the revolution in Nicaragua and still celebrated throughout the country.
New members or supporters of Oxford's only twin in the developing world are most welcome. For more information about the Oxford León Link including membership forms and newsletter please visit the Oxford Leon Association website.
For more information on membership, activities and newsletters please visit the Oxford Perm Association website.
Page last updated 20 May 2014