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From educational links to trade missions, our city partnerships, each one unique, have focused on a diverse range of activities that have developed and evolved over time. Today, we attach importance to ensuring these city-to-city links have a strategic focus and help Leeds to deliver its key strategic objectives around health, climate and inclusive growth.

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Czech Republic

Leeds and Brno first began to develop a partnership in the early 1990s when countries in Eastern Europe looked to strengthen relations with the EU following the fall of the Eastern Bloc. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the partnership was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

While there have been exchanges between cultural organisations and the universities of both cities, the partnership with Brno is strongly focused on the exchange of best practice between the local governments which has included exchanges on Covid-19, children & young people, city promotion and inward investment, promoting e-mobility in our city centres, and tree-planting strategies.




Leeds and Dortmund have been partners for over 50 years. The twinning partnership dates back to the period after the Second World War when cities across Europe started twinning to promote peace and understanding between communities across Europe.

In 2021, following the end of the Brexit transition period, the two cities reaffirmed their commitment to the partnership with the resigning of an updated Memorandum of Understanding. 

Recent areas of cooperation include education, culture, digital technology and economic development.


A community led Leeds-Dortmund twinning group was created in 2021. If you would like to join the group please contact More information on the different partnerships between the two cities can be found on community run blog here



South Africa

During the 1980s and 1990s, Leeds became home to a strong anti-apartheid movement which led to Leeds City Council forging close ties with the City of Durban.


In 1998 the two cities signed an official agreement as an expression of solidarity with South Africa and Durban during its liberation following decades of anti-apartheid struggles.

Over the past 20 years Leeds and Durban have worked on a range of different projects including community safety, youth exchanges in sport and university exchanges.

Leeds’ strong relationship with South Africa was further enhanced in 2001 when Nelson Mandela was made an honorary freeman of the city during a visit to Leeds.




The partnership between Leeds and Hangzhou began in 1988 when city twinnings with China were encouraged by the British government in an effort to strengthen ties with China.

The partnership has seen a strong focus on economic development with several trade and investment missions to Hangzhou led by the Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in recent years. This has resulted in tech security giant Dahua Technology opening their UK head-office in Leeds.

In 2018 the two cities celebrated their 30th anniversary of partnership by signing a new MOU.

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In July 2022, Leeds was approached by the city of Kharkiv in June 2022 with a view to develop closer links. This led to a unanimous resolution by Leeds’s Full Council in July 2022 to develop closer ties of friendship with the Ukrainian city.

In December 2023. Lord Mayor of Leeds and the Deputy Mayor of Kharkiv signed a formal friendship oath in Prague with the support of the British Embassies in Czech Republic and Ukraine.




In the same nature as Leeds’ partnership with Dortmund, Leeds and Lille became official partners in 1968 as part of post-war efforts to encourage peace between the people of Europe.

Educational links, which date back to the 1930s, have always played an important part of the partnership which has seen several EU projects and the development of student exchanges between schools in both cities.

Leeds and Lille, a former European Capital of Culture, have increasingly been working together in the field of culture. This has included the development of partnerships between several cultural organisations and the sharing of best practice around international cultural festivals, as Leeds prepares to host Leeds 2023. 




Siegen’s relationship with Leeds dates back to 1966, when the former County Borough of Morley signed a twinning agreement as part of the post-war twinning programme. When Morley became part of the Leeds local authority in 1972, Leeds City Council committed to honouring this Sister City partnership.

The partnership with Siegen is strongly community-led, with voluntary groups the Morley Circle in Siegen and the Siegen Circle in Morley, promoting grass root links between the towns.

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