70th anniversary with Duisburg

September 2020 marks 70 years since the signing of the twinning agreement between Portsmouth and Duisburg in Germany.

The partnership was announced in 1950 and is the second oldest Anglo-German twinning, which aimed to unite Germany with Europe after the war.

More than 70,000 people have been involved with the partnership so far. The cities have exchanged music, art and sport, and many groups have visited the cities over the years.

Discover more about the history of the twinning in this short video voiced by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Rob Wood.

“The relationship between Duisburg and Portsmouth continues to provide both our cities with a deep sense of friendship and pride, new experiences for our residents and visitors, and rich and vibrant cultures shared with our friends in Germany.  We are immensely proud of our twinning with Duisburg and look forward to continuing our relationship for many more years to come.”

Cllr Rob Wood, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth

Virtually visit Duisburg

Duisburg is a city in the Ruhr area of Western Germany, located on the Rhine river. It was a major centre of iron, steel and chemical industries in the 19th century and it was for this reason that Duisburg was heavily bombed in the Second World War with 299 raids on the city.

Today, Duisburg produces more steel than any other city in Europe and disused production facilities – such as the Landschaftspark – have been imaginatively transformed into visitor attractions and event spaces for corporate and cultural events. The former ironworks at Landschaftspark is now one of the world’s finest leisure parks and home to Europe’s largest artificial diving centre within the old gasometer. The site is among the world’s most unique monuments to industrial heritage.

Other attractions in the city include:

  • the inner harbour – the world’s largest inland port
  • the Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain
  • the Rheinorange sculpture –  a walkable steel sculpture at the end of the regional Ruhrtalradweg cycle path
  • Duisburg Zoo, which is among one the most frequently visited zoos in Germany.

Explore more of Duisburg on the Visit Duisburg website from the comfort of your own home. You can also tune in to the live cameras at Duisburg Zoo.

Online exhibition

To celebrate the anniversary with Duisburg, we are proud to share an online photography exhibition showcasing 70 years of friendship between the two cities.

From the very beginning of the partnership in the 1950s where school children went abroad for the first time, to the 1970s where many people were involved and several visits took place each year, to more recent times when the link continues to form new friendships, the twinning has impacted so many people.

Since 1950, the twinning has resulted in:

  • 70,000 taking part in the exchange
  • 65 Lord Mayors being involved
  • Over 140 official visits and over 500 personal trips
  • Commemorative friendship sculptures in both cities
  • The relationship surpassing three generations
  • And many other activities and memories.

Future plans

To continue celebrations later in the year, Portsmouth City Council will plant a tree dedicated to the 70th anniversary and the German symbol of peace, Forget-Me-Not flowers.