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International relations and development cooperation


Dr. Annette Lang

Head of Division
International relations

State Chancellery
Am Markt 21, 28195 Bremen

+ 49 421 361 65684

Bremen is international - and has been for centuries. The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen maintains partnerships in Europe and the world that are as rich in tradition as they are future-oriented, whether that is in business, science or culture. As a Free Hanseatic city, Bremen is shaped by the tradition of republican freedom and sovereignty, and is today a vibrant metropolis in the German northwest.
Bremen is closely linked through its international cooperations: its twin cities, its memberships in multilateral networks and through its commitment to the global south and to development cooperation.

Bremen’s Twin Cities

Bremen maintains partnerships with six twin cities. Some of these date back to the 1970s and were concluded primarily for the motivation of reconciliation and solidarity (Gdansk, Riga, Haifa, Izmir), others are based on economic interests (Dalian). The most recent partnership agreement has been signed with Durban.
Find out more about our twin cities (information in German language only):

A longstanding city friendship relates us to Windhoek in Namibia.

International networks

Both as a metropolitan region in Northwest Germany as well as through its ports and economic interests, Bremen is member of various international networks. The most important networks and multilateral partnerships are:

  • The trilateral partnership Bremen-Oldenburg-Groningen
  • The Community of Ariane Cities
  • The HANSE network
  • Mayors for Peace.

A complete list can be found at Senatskanzlei UNESCO-Welterbe Rathaus Bremen - Linkliste Referat 32.

Sustainable development and development cooperation

For more than 40 years, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen has been involved in international partnerships for sustainable development and cooperation. In doing so, we are guided by the 17 goals of the United Nations' Agenda 2030. Together with our partner cities Windhoek in Namibia and Durban in South Africa, we work on projects to improve living conditions, municipal governance and environmental protection. We are also involved in projects funded by the German government, which are jointly implemented by Bremen and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

In addition to our international commitment, numerous local civil society initiatives and associations form the basis for Bremen's commitment to sustainable development. We therefore support projects run by these partners, such as education for sustainable development and initiatives that work locally and internationally for climate protection, fair trade or the promotion of human rights. Promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals within our city is also an important part of our work. We are committed to the implementation of the global SDGs at the local level in Bremen. More information on the SDGs in Bremen can be found at: (available in German)

In addition, Bremen was one of the first federal states in Germany to introduce regulations and practices for sustainable municipal procurement. To share our experiences, we maintain exchanges at the international level and are a member of the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Network.

Every two years, the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen awards the Bremen Solidarity Prize. It is intended to encourage individuals and groups who work to overcome injustice in North-South relations and the consequences of colonialism and racism, as well as to promote democracy and human rights. The first winners were Nelson and Winnie Mandela in 1988. The prize consists of prize money and a sculpture by the Bremen artist Altenstein, which takes up the motif of the Bremen Town Musicians as a symbol of the power of solidarity action.

Further information (in German only): Senatskanzlei UNESCO-Welterbe Rathaus Bremen - Entwicklungszusammenarbeit