from St. Louis, Missouri, USA and from Stuttgart, capital of
the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, met on March 10,
1960 to sign official documents uniting the two cities in a
sister city relationship and committing each to ongoing
activities which encourage people-to-people and
government-to-government interaction. The affiliation was
formed under the guidelines of Sister Cities International,
Inc., an organization founded by former U.S. President Dwight
D. Eisenhower to promote world peace through mutual
understanding. St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cites, Inc., a
non-profit organization of volunteers, was founded in St.
Louis to maintain communication with the director of sister
programs in Stuttgart and to manage the activities that
achieve the goals set forth in the partnership agreement.
city alliance with Stuttgart was the first for St. Louis and has been
followed by a succession of ties with cities in Africa, Asia, Europe and
South America. The linking of cities is based on similarities that offer
opportunities for exchange. St. Louis and Stuttgart share corresponding
characteristics and resources: both are rich in educational and cultural
institutions. The two cities have drawn from all of these sectors for
over thirty-five years, lending and borrowing ideas, personnel and
resources to build a rich and strong association.
All Citizens of All Ages:
Student exchanges are important springboards
to reciprocal interchange on other levels; bringing together young
counterparts in the sister cities not only promotes friendships that may
last a lifetime, but also introduces youth to the concept of
international exchange as a means to cultural understanding. St. Louis
and Stuttgart have sponsored educational exchanges at high school and
university levels, as well as business internships and teacher
exchanges. Sports competitions have played a major role in bringing
German and American youth together, and the camaraderie surrounding
matches adds an additional dimension to the experience for both the
young participants and members of the community. The link between the
cities has encouraged involvement of art and cultural institutions in
both St. Louis and Stuttgart; major art collections, as well as amateur
and children’s art have been displayed by museums and galleries in
both places. Performances of adult and youth symphony orchestras have
brought appreciative audiences to concert halls; world-renowned ballet,
modern and folk dance troupes have dazzled sister city spectators.
Theater groups and a variety of music and choral groups have
participated in festivals and competitions. Mayors representing both
cities have led to official delegations to promote trade and tourism;
groups of citizens have made mutual visits, always with opportunities
for personal contact to reinforce the sister city relationship. A unique
and important factor in exchanges of visitors is the homestay
traditions, giving guests the opportunity to become a member of a family
and learn about day-to-day life in another culture.
An international and a civic
organization, St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities, Inc. functions as a
civic as well as an international organization, keeping a high profile
in the St. Louis community by participating in local ceremonies,
conventions, parades and festivals. The organization is united with St.
Louis’ other sister city groups and international associations through
the office of the St. Louis Center for International Relations.
In order to support a full calendar of
activities and to provide scholarships and grants for exchange groups
and hospitality to visitors, St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities, Inc.
organizes two major fund raising events each year. Winterball, a
Karneval/Fasching/Fastnacht season gala, launches the year’s calendar
of activities and beings together members, supporters and groups from
the surrounding metropolitan area who are also affiliated with cities in
Germany. Oktoberfest, a two-day outdoor festival with music by a
visiting brass band from Stuttgart, celebrates the music, the food and
the customs of Germany.
A sister city relationship reaches beyond the
organized exchanges of people and goods to the interest of individual
citizens the economic, political and social health of their twin city.
Elections of officials, upward and downward trends in currency and
economy, domestic and foreign affairs are followed with interest on both
sides of the Atlantic. When disastrous floods inundated the Midwest in
1993, the citizens of Stuttgart, following developments in the media,
were quick to extend financial assistance to St. Louis flood recovery
organizations. This empathy has roots in a relationship which began
decades ago and has matured into a legacy to be handed down from
generation to generation.
St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities, Inc. is
a membership organization open to anyone interested in joining
and wishing to participate in its activities.
St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French explorers, Pierre Laclede Liguest and
The area surrounding Stuttgart was inhabited by the Alemanni,
a Germanic tribe, since 1 AD. In the 950 AD, Duke
Liudorf von Schwaben established a stud farm (Stuotgarten)
from which Stuttgart took its name and coat of arms.