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The Beginning:
Representatives 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.

Blazing New Trails:
The sister 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.

For 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.


 
Did you know?
St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French explorers, Pierre Laclede Liguest and Auguste Chouteau.
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.
 
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