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Portsmouth is twinned with Caen in France and Duisburg in Germany, and maintains sister and friendship links with other cities around the world. Continue reading for more information on twinning, or expand the sections below for more details on our links with each city.

Twinning is the proven method of building bridges between communities from different countries. Twinning can act as a catalyst for communication links and relationships between people of differing or similar backgrounds who are geographically distant. With twinning we aim to:

  • promote our links to the people of Portsmouth, and enable them to meet people from different cultural groups and societies
  • promote participation with those groups in activities such as arts, sports and education
  • develop mutual economic benefits such as tourism and language studies, where possible

For more information on the Portsmouth-Caen Friendship Committee please visit Portsmouth and Caen Twinning Association. For more information on the Portsmouth-Caen Friendship Committee please click the Caen tab.


Click on the tabs below for more information on each city, and the nature of its link with Portsmouth.

Twinned since 1987

The Portsmouth to Caen ferry service offered the opportunity to forge links between the civic authorities and communities of both cities. On 5 June 1987 a document was signed in the Guildhall, Portsmouth (and in the Hotel de Ville, Caen the following day), formally declaring that the two cities would undertake to foster exchanges and meetings between their respective citizens in all fields of endeavour, including commerce and social pursuits.

Each year the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth visits Caen to lay wreaths at the D-Day Commemoration Ceremonies. The Mayor of Caen also pays regular visits to Portsmouth. 


Many individual links between Portsmouth and Caen have been achieved, particularly in the areas of sport, leisure, tourism and cultural activities, as well as economic issues and business. There have been many other exchanges by groups such as the Police, taxi drivers, firemen, general practitioners, the legal profession, nurses and the scouting movement. A number of Portsmouth Schools also have successful exchange programmes with Schools in Caen. 

The Portsmouth-Caen Friendship Committee

The Portsmouth-Caen Friendship Committee has been established to maintain official contacts between Portsmouth and Caen and to work in association with the Friendship Committee in Caen. The Chair is Andrew Starr. The aims of the Friendship Committee are:

  • to actively encourage organisations and individuals in Portsmouth to link with those with similar interests in Caen
  • to advise on hospitality arrangements for groups coming to Portsmouth from Caen, other than official visits organised by the Council
  • to promote a greater understanding of Caen and its customs

For more on the city of Caen, visit Caen's tourism site (English) or the Caen City Council site (in French).

Twinned since 1950

Portsmouth's link with Duisburg is the second-oldest Anglo-German twinning. Portsmouth City Council suggested the twinning as an act of reconciliation, so that the post-war reconstruction would see not only buildings, but also relations between the two nations rebuilt. In 1950 the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Sir Denis and Lady Peggy Daley, signed the Golden Book of Duisburg at the city's Town Hall.

Since then, the Lord Mayor has made annual visits to the city and it is estimated that over 70,000 people have participated in exchanges between our cities, which have included groups from colleges, adult education, musicians and artists, members of social and drama clubs, and many sports and social clubs.

The following schools are also known to have an exchange programme with their counterparts in Duisburg: City of Portsmouth Girls School, Portsmouth High School, Priory School, St Edmund's R C School and Springfield School. 

The Duisburg-Portsmouth Friendship Committee

The Committee is made up of five Councillors, three Supporting Officers from different departments of the City Council and volunteer representatives from outside bodies. The Lord Mayor is President of the Committee.

The committee encourages and supports new exchange links, such as exchanges between sports organisations which regularly take place between the two cities. Known exchanges include table tennis, hockey, tennis and youth football, with exchanges for squash, sailing and rowing being established. 

Work Placements

Students from the Albert Einstein Gymnasium have been assisted by Leisure Services and Personnel to find work placements in Portsmouth.

For more information on Duisburg, please visit the Duisburg tourism site (English translation available) or the Duisburg City site (German).

Sister link since 1963

Haifa was the second overseas city to link with Portsmouth. The link was set up at the invitation of Haifa, who realised that many Israeli Navy personnel were on courses in Naval establishments in and around Portsmouth. Haifa is also twinned with Hackney, London and Marseilles in France.

The Haifa-Portsmouth link aims to maintain official contact between the two cities, and work closely in association with Friendship Committee, individuals and organisations in Haifa. The link also aims to encourage organisations in Portsmouth to link up with those that have similar interests in Haifa, and to help entertain and arrange hospitality for groups coming to Portsmouth, as well as organise visits to Haifa. The link aims to be particular beneficial for young people.

No official annual visits between the two Cities take place. In 1994 the Deputy Mayor of Haifa took part in the Lord Mayor's Show and attended celebrations for the 800th Anniversary of the granting of the City's first Royal Charter by King Richard I. In February 1996 the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress led a civic delegation to Haifa. 


Funding of the link is based on an annual grant from Portsmouth City Council, supplemented by its own fund-raising activities and the generosity of the Portsmouth people in making donations of money and hospitality. 

The Haifa-Portsmouth Friendship Committee

The Lord Mayor is the President of the Haifa-Portsmouth Friendship link. The Committee consists of a maximum of 21 members, but currently has 18 - four of which are appointed by the Council. Meetings take place every couple of months.

Visit the official Haifa website for more information.

Sister link since 1998

Maizuru is a thriving port city situated in the North Kyoto district of Japan, north of Osaka.

The Maizuru-Portsmouth link commenced in 1993 when bricks from Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard were donated to Maizuru’s World Brick Museum. Various exchanges followed, culminating in formal sister city accords being signed in Portsmouth and Maizuru in May 1998.

The Japanese Garden in Southsea was opened in 2000 to commemorate our link.  In past years school parties and scout groups have been involved in exchanges and correspondence.

Sister link since 1982

Like our own city, Portsmouth, Virginia, has strong naval traditions, and it is on this basis (as well as our shared name) that the Sister city link was formed.

In 2001 the Mayor of Portsmouth visited our city for the International Festival of the Sea. In 2002 Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Elaine Baker, visited Portsmouth, Virginia for their 250th anniversary celebrations.

For more information visit the official government page for Portsmouth, Virginia.

Sister link since 1984

Sydney has a historic link with Portsmouth – the first colonial ships to arrive in Sydney Cove in 1788 sailed from our city. The official sister link was formed in 1984, in time for the bicentennial anniversary of the sailing of the First Fleet.

An Australian Settlers Memorial of two anchor links can be found in Sally Port - there is an identical memorial in Sydney. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Barry Maine, visited Sydney for the 2000 Olympics.

For more information visit the city of Sydney site.

Friendship link since 1982

Lakewood is a city of over 135,000 people, situated in the Denver Metropolitan area, located directly between Denver and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The city has more than 6,500 acres of parkland, giving it the highest per capita ratio of parks and recreation facilities in the USA.

A number of exchange visits have taken place between Portsmouth and Lakewood residents, most recently in in 2004 when six Portsmouth residents visited Lakewood and stayed with local families.

For more information visit the city of Lakewood site.

Friendship link

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a city with a population of 23,000 and sits near the mouth of the Piscataqua, a short, wide river that divides New Hampshire and Maine. The city is at the hub of a metropolitan region that includes several small cities and many towns.

Our friendship link with Portsmouth, N.H, was cemented in 1997 by the visit of the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Mark Hancock.

For more information visit the Portsmouth NH site.

Friendship link since 2004

Zha Lai Te Qi is situated at the northeast border of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia. The area is approximately 11,000 sq kilometres of country surrounded by the Shenshan Mountains and comprises seven towns and eight villages. The population is 400,000 and comprises various ethnic minority groups.

The Mayor of Zha Lai Te Qi made a formal proposal for a link following his many visits to the city and the Portsmouth Chinese Association. The proposal was accepted, and a formal friendship link was signed in May 2004 along with a visit to Portsmouth by the Mayor of Zha Lai Te Qi.

Zhuhai is located in the economic powerhouse area of the Pearl River delta, and its name means "pearl" and "sea". It includes 146 islands scattered in the South China Sea, hence its nickname: City of a Hundred Islands.

It borders Hong Kong by sea and Macau by land. At the end of the 1970s it began to develop as a special economic zone – one of the country's first – transforming from a poor fishing village into a prosperous modern garden city and major centre for tourism and hi-tech industry, with a population of more than 1.5 million.

The friendship link was set up between Zhuhai and Portsmouth in 2014 following official visits, with the support of the Portsmouth Chinese Association (PCA).


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