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Celebrating 50 years of partnership with Dortmund

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of twinning between Leeds and the German city of Dortmund. And to celebrate we’ve got an exciting programme of events lined up over the coming months which includes singing, writing and a prize giveaway for football fans!

Leeds’ partnership with Dortmund dates back to 1969, when, following the end of the Second World War, cities across Europe started to twin with each other to build peace and understanding between one another.

The longstanding link between the two cities has focused on cooperation, peace and citizenship. From choir groups to football fans, the partnership has brought together people from all areas of society. Strong links between the two cities still exist today and recent areas of cooperation include an education cultural project and sharing best practice around the redevelopment of Leeds Station and the Southbank.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, and the Lord Mayor, Councillor Eileen Taylor will host an official delegation from Dortmund which will include the Lord Mayor of Dortmund, Ullrich Sierau. A programme of events will take place across two days between the 03 and 06 October.

But there’s lots of ways you can get involved in the celebrations too! More details of what’s coming up can be found below:

  • Photo exhibition – Students from Leeds City College and the UZWEI in Dortmund have been working together to produce 50 photos that reflect the true identity of their cities. The exhibition will go on show from the beginning of October in the Brodrick Exhibition Space at Leeds Town Hall – entry is free.

  • Choir performance – There has been a longstanding link between several choir groups from Dortmund and Leeds which dates back to the start of the twinning process. To celebrate this link a Dortmund choir group, the Florian Singers, will be performing alongside members of the former Leeds Girls’ Choir group at the Civic Hall on Saturday 05 October. Doors open at 19:30 with the performance kicking-off at 20:00. Tickets to the event are free, all you need to do is send an email to or to reserve your place.

  • Writing project – With the support of Leeds 2023, Leeds based writer, Peter Spafford, has been working on a writing project, called LD50, which engages professional writers, school children, creative writing students and members of language clubs in both Dortmund and Leeds. The writing exchanges will culminate in a festival at the Chapel FM Arts centre between the 30 September-05 October. This will include an open mic event in which 30 Leeds writers will read specially written work on the theme of ‘Neighbourhood’ in a Live broadcast with Dortmund writers. For more information visit the LD50 website –

  • Signed Borrussia Dortmund and Leeds United Football shirt competition – Leeds and Dortmund both have a rich footballing history so as part of our Golden Anniversary celebrations we are giving someone in Leeds the opportunity to win a signed Borussia Dortmund football shirt AND a signed Leeds United football shirt. To win the signed shirts all you need to do is tell us how many major trophies have Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund won combined? Send your answers to Competition closes on Monday 16 September 2019 at 4pm and one winner will be drawn at random. Winners must be based in Leeds – for the full terms and conditions click here.

Want to find out more about Dortmund? Building up to the official celebration in October we’ll also be sharing a weekly Did You Know Fact from the Leeds International Relations Twitter account.

And finally, if you have any experiences or memories about our partnership with Dortmund please share them with us by sending an email to Or alternatively you can share them with us on Twitter by using the hashtag #LeedsDortmund50.

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