An old saying says that you are as rich as the list of your friends is rich, and Novi Sad, especially after the European Capital of Culture title year, has strengthened numerous friendships with artists from all over the world. The multicultural city has always fostered the wealth of diversity through international cooperation, but with these 14 cities, spread over as many as four continents, Novi Sad nurtures special relationships. We present to you cities that are the twin cities of the capital of culture. You can also find their names on the board of twin cities, which is located at the entrance to the City Hall.
Novi Sad signed the first twinning charter in 1964 with the Italian city of Modena. The city of Modena has the honour of being the first twin city, thus of one of the most famous streets in Novi Sad bears its name, and in Modena one of the beautiful parks is called Parco piazza d’armi Novi Sad. The charming city in the north of Italy, known for motoring and as the seat of the Ferrari factory, is 950 kilometres away from Novi Sad, and it has two similarities with our city. Both are large university centres, and these cities are united by successful volleyball clubs.
After signing the Twinning Charter with Modena, Novi Sad gained another ‘brother’ on 10 November 1981 – the Chinese city of Changchun. In the time of prosperity, when Novi Sad became richer for the Freedom Bridge, Spens and new building of the Serbian National Theatre, it also gained a new friend an incredible 7,700 kilometres away. The collision of the European and Asian worlds has proven over time to be one of the most valued alliances among the world’s cities. These two cities share not only the title of university centres of their countries, but also proudly bear the title of fair metropolises (agricultural fair). In addition to this, there are national research and technology centres in Changchun, while Novi Sad is an indispensable destination for scientific and technological research in Serbia. As a sign of friendship, Changchun introduced a special city line and bus named after Novi Sad. Passengers on the bus can get to know the beauties and sights of the European Capital of Culture, thanks to the photos and information displayed inside the vehicle.
The German city, which as a part of the Ruhr region was also the European Capital of Culture in 2010, in the year of our ECoC title marked 40 years since twinning with Novi Sad. The charter was signed by the two cities in 1982, and since then we have fostered exceptional relations and mutual cooperation with Dortmund. To mark this jubilee, one of Dortmund’s squares is named after the capital of Vojvodina. Platz von Novi Sad, located in the heart of one of the most beautiful European metropolises, is a symbol of fruitful cooperation between the two cities.
One of the successful collaborations with Dortmund is, let us remind you, a unique event in the world of classical music – the Beethoven Marathon, implemented at the end of June 2022 in Novi Sad, when the audience had a unique opportunity to listen to all 9 symphonies in one day, all thanks to the collaboration with Dortmund Philharmonic and conductor Gabriel Feltz.
One of the best-preserved medieval towns in England became a twin city to Novi Sad in 1989. The friendship of cities 1,500 kilometres apart, very soon after the signing was put to the most difficult test – wars in the former Yugoslavia, sanctions and isolation. However, fruitful cooperation in all fields, especially humanitarian, has developed from all this. Thanks to their generous humanitarian involvement in the nineties, the married couple from Norwich, Diane and Peter Berkley, became honorary citizens of Novi Sad in 1993.
The symbol of Norwich, a city in eastern England, is also a fortress, just like in Novi Sad. On a hill in the very centre of the city, there is a stone fortress dated back to 1100, which offers an imposing view of the entire city. The fortress originally housed lords, then in the 14thcentury it became a prison containing dungeons, and today its purpose is completely different because it has been preserved as a museum.
After the alliance with the four twin cities that Novi Sad acquired during the former SFRY, Novi Sad’s first next friend was Iliupoli, with whom the charter was signed in 1994. The Greek city, which is located on the Attica peninsula and is a suburb of Athens, is often called the City of the Sun, and in order to foster traditionally good relations between the two nations, the Charter made Novi Sad and Ilioupoli twin cities.
Two years later, in 1996, a fraternal relationship was established between Budva and Novi Sad. Thus, our city strengthened friendly relations with one of the oldest cities on the Adriatic, which was founded almost 3,000 years ago. Novi Sad, last year’s European Capital of Culture, shared experiences and knowledge with Budva in the process of applying for this prestigious title. What also connects the two cities is the summer Sea Dance Festival, which was created in cooperation with Novi Sad’s Exit Foundation.
After nine years, on 3 August 2005, our Romanian twin city became Timişoara, which took the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 along with Novi Sad and Eleusis. Timişoara is only 140 kilometres from Novi Sad, and it is the seat of the cultural and historical life of the Serbs in Romania and the seat of the Eparchy of the Timişoara Serbian Orthodox Church. Although the cooperation between Novi Sad and Timișoara was established in 2005, historical ties were established several centuries earlier. Serbs have been inhabiting this area since the 17th century, and Serbian culture, history and language are still cherished in Timişoara. One example is the programme of Radio Novi Sad, i.e. Radio Timişoara, in the language of the twin city. In addition to this, there is noticeable cooperation in the field of culture in the form of holding the Revolution Festival in Timişoara implemented by the Novi Sad Exit Foundation, as well as other projects.
Nizhny Novgorod (Russia)
The city of millions and one of the Russian industrial centres became in 2006 another twin city of Novi Sad. Although it is as much as 2,600 kilometres away, the cooperation between these two cities leads the way in the field of economy, so Nizhny Novgorod is on the list of friends of Novi Sad, which adorns the City Hall in the heart of the European Capital of Culture.
The next twin city, with which Novi Sad signed the Charter, is the Hungarian city of Pécs. The city is most recognizable for the production of the world-famous Zsolnay ceramics, and we know that the roof of the 72-metre-high Church of the Name of Mary, better known as the Novi Sad Cathedral, is covered with Zsolnay ceramics from the twin city. Apart from ceramics, the city, like its twin Novi Sad, is known as a city of rich history and culture. This is precisely what brings us to another interesting link between these two cities – the title of European Capital of Culture, which Pécs proudly carried in 2010.
The city of Gomel, one of the oldest in Belarus, which is also mentioned in Bajaga’s famous song ‘Voz’, signed the famous Twinning Charter with Novi Sad in 2013, when the relations between the two cities were strengthened. Although Gomel was affected by radiation after the Chernobyl explosion in 1986, today it is a safe city to live in, which has a lot to offer its visitors. Like Novi Sad, this twin city received the epithet of the city of culture thanks to a large number of theatres, galleries and museums that are attractive to visitors, as well as numerous cultural events that are held in the city. The quality of the strengthened relations permeates through the fact that there is also an Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Belarus in Novi Sad.
Two years later, in 2015, Novi Sad got its first overseas twin – the Mexican city of Toluca, with which it had its first contacts in the early eighties of the last century. Despite the long distance of 10,600 kilometres, the main link between these two friendly cities is the wealth of cultural and historical heritage, and Toluca, like Novi Sad, is an important university centre.
Kumanovo (North Macedonia)
The brotherhood of cities that were once under one flag was established by the Charter signed in November 2019, on the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Kumanovo. With this signing, conditions were created for economic, but also cooperation in the fields of culture, science, education, tourism, sports, etc. Kumanovo, the 12th twin city of Novi Sad, is the second largest city in North Macedonia with a significant number of Serbian residents, and has great significance for the Serbian community in North Macedonia, as well as important moments in Serbian history.
Novi Sad expanded its network of friends in the world and European frameworks in mid-February 2020, when friendship was made with the French town of Taverny. Cooperation between these two cities existed before, and is based on the foundations of friendship between Serbia and France, which has lasted for a long time, and was strongest between 1915 and 1930. This is exactly what led to the signing of the charter, thus Novi Sad became richer for another ‘brother’.
Novi Sad got its last and youngest friend, the 14th in order, last year in September, when the Agreement was signed with the Egyptian city of Alexandria, which is the second largest city in Egypt and was founded in 331 BC. Based on the agreement, cooperation was established in the field of cultural, artistic and historical heritage, environmental protection, education, health care and tourism development. What binds these two cities is multiculturalism, because several world languages are spoken in Alexandria, and it is also interesting that both twin cities represent the cultural and scientific centre of their countries, which is why cooperation was achieved in these fields.
Author: Marina Marić
Translation: Ivana Milenković
Photo: Vladimir Veličković, Unsplash, Wikimedia commons, Pexels, Pixabay