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Oxford's International Twin Towns

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:



Reflections on Humanity - Poetry readings and art installation

Christ Church Cathedral, Saturday 7 November 2015, 3-4pm

To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War Christ Church Cathedral is hosting two art installations from a German and a Polish artist from 7 - 22 November 2015.

There will be an opening event on Saturday 7 November with poetry readings from some of the countries involved in the hostilities.  The poems will be read in their own language by native speakers and English translations will be available.

Reflections on Humanity explores our friendship and common humanity. The poems are not war poems, but poems which look at connections between nations and reflect on human nature. After the event, those who wish will be able to meet together in another room at Christ Church for an informal discussion.

This non-denominational event is organised by Diana Bell and Oxford StanzaTwo in collaboration with Christ Church Cathedral and the Oxford International Links. Everyone is welcome - of all faith traditions or none.

PDF icon Reflections on Humanity Poster (PDF)


Oxford Week in Bonn 2015

Have a look at some images from Oxford Week in Oxford's twin city of Bonn in Germany.

Oxford Week 2015

Oxford-based Twinning Groups

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:

Oxford International 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.

Get in touch on our Facebook page.

If you are interested in volunteering for twinning activities and events please download and complete the form below and email it to internationallinks@oxford.gov.uk:

Word icon Twinning Volunteer Application Form (13kB PDF)


Oxford, Bonn, Leiden Linked Cities Concert December 2011

Bonn, Germany

Bonn, Germany

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.

Oxford Bonn Link

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.

For more infromation contact Alan Pope Alan.Pope@web.de or Voirrey Carr voirreyc@aol.com.

PDF icon Bonn Link Newsletter - February 2015 (PDF)
PDF icon Bonn Link Newsletter - January 2014 (PDF)
PDF icon Bonn Link Newsletter - July 2012 (548kB PDF)

Grenoble, France

Grenoble, France

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. 

Oxford Grenoble Association

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: jean.burrell@ntlworld.com.

Word icon Oxford-Grenoble Association Membership Form (22kB PDF)

PDF icon Oxford-Grenoble Association Newsletter - Autumn 2015 (PDF
PDF icon Oxford-Grenoble Association Newsletter - Autumn 2014 (PDF)

Leiden, Netherlands

Leiden, Netherlands

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.

Oxford Leiden Link

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.

Leon, Nicaragua

Leon, Nicaragua

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.

Oxford León Association

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.


Perm, Russia

Perm, Russia

Perm is the most easterly city in Europe, situated nine hundred miles east of Moscow, between the mighty Kama River and the Urals Mountains. It has an internationally famous ballet school, a unique collection of religious wooden sculptures, and industries that cover everything from fine paper to aircraft engines.
Perm has been linked to Oxford since 1990, and was officially twinned in 1995.  The link is wide ranging:  exchanges have included politicians and journalists, school children, dancers, hospice workers, teachers, disabled people, artists and photographers, lawyers, student actors, environmentalists, folk singers, and people who are simply curious to explore a Russian city (or an English one.)

The city twinning is buttressed by strong University links (both Oxford and Brookes) and the twinning of Oxfordshire with Perm Region, which is about the size of England.

See the Perm website for more information about the city and the Perm Twinning website.

Oxford Perm Association

For more information on membership, activities and newsletters please visit the Oxford Perm Association website.

PDF icon Oxford Perm Association Newsletter - June 2015 (PDF)
PDF icon Oxford Perm Association Newsletter - October 2014 (PDF)
PDF icon Oxford Perm Association Newsletter - October 2012 (736kB PDF)

International Exchange Exhibitions - Gallery Package

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.

PDF icon International Exchange Exhibitions - Gallery Package (225kB PDF)


Page last updated 10 November 2015



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