Do sister cities really serve a purpose?
While wandering around your city, you might’ve noticed a few plaques informing passersby of the city’s twins or sisters. Perhaps it made you wonder for a moment. Perhaps you just shrugged it off and went on with your day, forgetting it almost immediately.
But sister cities and their relationships mean more than just placing a plaque in each other's cities?
The concept of sister cities began right after World War II with the intention to promote peace and understanding between different cultures and former foes.
Have you ever gone travelling to a new place and thought to yourself, “Man, my town could learn a lot from this place?” That’s precisely what twin cities are about—communities partnering with each other to foster collaboration and understanding.
Jakarta is twinned with Berlin, Casablanca, Los Angeles, Moscow and Seoul (South Korea). And that’s just some of them; according to The Jakarta Post, the city is twinned with 21 cities. (St. Petersburg is reported to have the most partner cities—over 50!)
One of the benefits that Jakarta gets from this partnership is human resources development. Jakarta sends vocational student graduates and Indonesian administration officials to Seoul for training in manufacturing industries and public administration, respectively.
Not all sister city relationships are alike, but many sister cities focus on strengthening business relations. For instance, in 2013, Manila and San Francisco set up a business mission to invite US companies and businesses to invest in the Philippines.
At the very least, sister city relationships is a great avenue to promote cultural exchange. Some common ways of doing this are student exchange programs and observing international celebrations.
Promoting tourism is one reason why cities choose to pair up. One instance that stands out is the hilarious twinning of the municipalities of the Scottish village Dull and the US town Boring, Oregon.