Sister cities

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The City of Adelaide has a strong history of international partnerships through sister city and friendly city connections, dating back more than 40 years when we entered an agreement with Christchurch, New Zealand

Sister city or friendly city?

Sister cities, or twin towns as it is also known in other countries, is an agreement to foster strong cultural and commercial ties between two cities or regions.

These long term, formal agreements facilitate a wide range of opportunities for both cities to participate in international educational, community, cultural, technical and business exchanges.

A Friendly City is an informal partnership between two cities that are limited in scope, yet still promotes friendly relations and collaboration between the two. The City of Adelaide has two Friendly City partnerships:

  • Dalian, Liaoning, China
  • Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Today, Adelaide enjoys five sister city relationships and two friendly city relationships across three continents. From diplomat visits to educational exchanges, our sister city and friendly city partnerships are diverse, dynamic and promote social economic growth for both partners.

Adelaide's sister cities

Austin, USA

Austin, USA

For over 35 years Adelaide, South Australia and Austin, Texas have been sister cities. Discover what binds these two cities and some of the highlights of their relationship.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

For nearly 50 years Adelaide, South Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand have been sister cities. Discover what binds these two cities and some of the highlights of their relationship.

George Town, Malaysia

George Town, Malaysia

For 45 years Adelaide, South Australia and George Town, Malaysia have been sister cities. Discover what binds these two cities and some of the highlights of their relationship.

Himeji, Japan

Himeji, Japan

For over 35 years Adelaide, South Australia and Himeji, Japan have been sister cities. Discover what binds these two cities and some of the highlights of their relationship.

Qingdao, China

Qingdao, China

For over 15 years Adelaide, South Australia and Qingdao, China have been friendly cities. Discover what binds these two cities and some of the highlights of their relationship.

Frequently asked questions

The following frequently asked questions give you more information about the City of Adelaide’s sister city and friendly city policies and how you may be able to get involved.

The Sister Cities movement is a worldwide concept which originated after World War II.

A Sister City is a cooperative agreement between two cities in geographically and politically

distinct areas to promote cultural and business ties.

Adelaide has five Sister Cities and two Friendship Cities.

Sister Cities:

  • Austin, Texas, United States of America (since 1983)
  • Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand (since 1972)
  • George Town, Penang, Malaysia (since 1973)
  • Himeji, Hyogo, Japan (since 1982)
  • Qingdao, Shandong, People’s Republic of China (since 2013)

Friendship Cities:

  • Dalian, Liaoning, People’s Republic of China (since 2001)
  • Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China (since 2001)

A Sister City is a long-term partnership between two cities. It is a formal agreement, signed by the top elected officials of the two cities. A Sister City partnership provides the opportunity for two cities to collaborate in cultural, educational, business and technical exchange.

A Friendship City is an informal partnership between two cities that are limited in scope, however, promotes friendly relations and collaboration between two cities.

Please note: The City of Adelaide is not actively seeking to establish additional sister city relationships; however, requests are occasionally received.

Sister city requests can only be considered if they are received from another city government.

The development of meaningful, mutually beneficial international partnerships must be supported at the local level by genuine, collaborative partnerships with government, industry, media and the wider community.

Council’s role is to facilitate connections on behalf of other stakeholders rather than taking sole responsibility for management of international relations.

Before entering any further relationships with other cities, Council considers the extent to which the prospective city complies with the following criteria:

  • Significant historical, cultural, social or geographic similarities between Adelaide and the prospective city;
  • The prospective city aligns with Council’s strategic plan;
  • The prospective city aligns with the South Australian Government priorities;
  • There is support from government and other organisations and willingness to enter into partnership arrangements involving cross sectoral collaborations;
  • Significant community support for the proposed relationship;
  • There are existing connections including political or economic ties, established school/university/ business exchange programs;
  • The prospective city has a good international reputation or exhibition of global best practice, particularly in areas of interest and relevance to Adelaide;
  • The establishment of the proposed relationship will benefit the City of Adelaide;
  • There is funding available for the relationship;
  • The prospective city is willing to create a contract agreement with review times and capacity to effectively resource the proposed level of commitment.

Building new international relationships can be a lengthy process. Genuine requests are carefully considered by the City of Adelaide, which involves obtaining feedback and support from the South Australian Government and relevant stakeholders in the City of Adelaide community.

This can include a series of meetings, briefings and workshops to obtain the relevant information.

The request and support information are presented to Council in a report. Each request must be resolved by Council before an international relationship can progress further.

There are other types of partnerships that apply to international connections, these include but not limited to, memorandum of understanding, friendly cooperative agreements, alliances, partnership for a specific project or membership of international associations.

If you are interested in partnering with Adelaide, please send us an email.  

There are community groups and friendship organisations that are based in Adelaide that have a shared interest with a particular Sister City. If you would like to know more, please contact us and we will put you in contact with the relevant groups.

No, the City of Adelaide had a committee for each of the Sister Cities but these committees ended in 2002.

We highly encourage South Australians to visit our Sister Cities but unfortunately, we do not offer funding for visits by individuals or groups.

If you would like the Lord Mayor to speak at your event please send your request via email to the Executive Assistant to the Lord Mayor.

We would like to hear about your Sister City related events. If you would like your event promoted, please send your request via email to [email protected]

We would like to hear about your Sister City related events. If you would like your event promoted, please email us details of your request.

This section contains all information related on City of Adelaide's Sister Cities. If you are looking for more information on a specific Sister City relationship, select any of the cities listed on this page.