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International Relations

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    Historically the City of Aarhus has collaborated with a wide range of international partners, and as the second-largest and fastest growing city in Denmark, Aarhus is home to a vast number of companies that both operate and recruit internationally. Additionally, students and expats from all over the world, come to Aarhus to study and work, while simultaneously contributing to the city’s openness, through insight into foreign cultures and knowledge.

    Furthermore, the massive challenges presented by global warming and climate change can only be solved by means of international cooperation and through the exchange of knowledge. Accordingly, the water supply utility Aarhus Vand A/S, supplies state-of-the-art technical solutions to partner municipalities across the world.

    Aarhus is continuously working on developing new bonds and international partnerships, while at the same time further strengthening already existing ties with partner cities abroad.

    Among these are six distinct sister city partnerships, the oldest dating all the way back to 1946, with the Nordic cities of Bergen, Gothenburg, and Turku. Since then, Aarhus has developed sister city partnerships with the Municipality of Kujalleq Greenland, Rostock Germany and Harbin, China.

    Aarhus also plays an active role in international city networks, is a committed member of several international knowledge communities, and is represented in the EU-system through The Central Denmark EU Office. 

    In recent years, Aarhus has expanded its work with international relations to also include strategic sector cooperation with different cities and municipalities across the world.

    Results of the partnerships

    The different partnerships have, for example, resulted in business-related activities such as the sale of know-how, commercial cooperation and business deals, with international partners placing their orders in Aarhus or vice versa. The collaboration between Aarhus and its sister cities has also stimulated learning and boosted competencies and knowledge sharing, marketing and branding, as well as resulting in the establishment of useful international networks and partnerships between the City of Aarhus and its sister cities.

    Sister cities of Aarhus

    Nordic sister cities
    The close cooperation between the Nordic sister cities and Aarhus is due to their historical and cultural ties and their position as the second-largest cities in their respective countries, as well as a mutual interest in exchanging experiences with cities in countries whose political and welfare systems are similar to those of Denmark.

    Read about Bergen, Norway 
    Read about Gothenburg, Sweden 
    Read about Turku, Finland 

    Harbin, China
    The cooperation between Harbin and the City of Aarhus is mainly business-related but also includes cooperation and the exchange of knowledge in the fields of culture and education.

    Read about Harbin

    Rostock, Germany
    The City of Aarhus and Rostock maintain a friendly dialogue with knowledge and cultural exchanges providing considerable insights into what the cities have in common.

    Read about Rostock, Germany 

    Kujalleq, Greenland
    The collaboration between the City of Aarhus and the Municipality of Kujalleq is based on historical and cultural ties. For example, the cities have worked together within the social and cultural areas and gained new knowledge and insights through an exchange of employees.

    Read about Kujalleq, Greenland 

    Moreover, the City of Aarhus is engaged in ongoing collaboration and friendly dialogue with, for example, Nova Sad, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Brussels and Hamburg and Lviv. The City of Aarhus is also involved in a number of ad hoc collaboration projects, involving for example the exchange of experience with cities and regions all over the world.

    A sister city relationship with St Petersburg, Russia was terminated by the Aarhus City Council on he 9th of march 2022.

    Through the strategic sector cooperation, Aarhus promotes local, sustainable growth and development in other parts of the world, while simultaneously benefiting Danish businesses – through promotion of Danish sustainable solutions and green technologies. The strategic sector cooperation is hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the participation of the municipality of Aarhus is fully financed by the Ministry.

    In 2017 Aarhus launched two international collaborative projects with municipalities in India and South Africa, and in 2019 a third collaborative project was initiated between Aarhus and a municipality in Ghana. The water supply utility Aarhus Vand A/S, which is wholly-owned by the municipality of Aarhus, participates in all projects with state-of-the-art technical solutions.

    A dedicated sector advisor, employed at the Danish embassies in the three partner countries, is attached to each project, and functions as a link between the local authorities and Aarhus.

    In India, Aarhus is partnered with the municipality of Udaipur. This collaboration primarily focuses on developing Udaipur’s water sector, using clean, sustainable water technologies.

    In South Africa, Aarhus is partnered with the municipality of Tshwane (Pretoria). This collaboration centers on holistic city planning, sustainable urban development and livability in the first phase of the collaboration.

    A second phase, centered around non-revenue water, operation and maintenance at the wastewater treatment works and stormwater management in order to adapt to climate change, will commence in April 2022.

    In Ghana, Aarhus is partnered with the municipality of Tema and Ghana Water, the national water supply utility. By way of knowledge sharing, this partnership focuses on drafting a new wastewater management plan for Tema that tackles the challenges of increased urbanization and climate change. Together with Ghana Water, the main topic is reduction of nonrevenue water by improving detection and repairment of leakages on waterpipes.

    When possible, Danish companies with special competencies, expertise, and technical know-how in the water sector, such as Grundfoss, AVK and Kamstrup, will be involved in projects related to the strategic sector cooperation.Espe in the areas of

    You can read more about the strategic sector cooperation here: Strategic Sector Cooperation (um.dk) (opens in new window)

    Knowledge sharing is key to the development of trust-based development projects, and the City of Aarhus is a committed member of a number of knowledge communities.

    Here, you can find more information on some of the network activities in which the City of Aarhus is involved:
    Strong Cities Network
    Smart Cities Network

    The Central Denmark EU Office is the European regional office for the Central Denmark Region – and thus for Aarhus – in Brussels. The overall aim of the office is to ensure that people, businesses and organisations in the region make the most of the EU.

    Visit the Central Denmark EU Office website

    The office’s day-to-day activities include:

    • Advice, guidance and information on EU affairs
    • Assistance on EU funding opportunities and proposals
    • Creating links to other European regions through networking and partner searches
    • Providing information and early warning of EU policy and developments
    • Providing in-depth specialist briefings on selected policy areas
    • Organising and facilitating delegation visits from the region to Brussels
    • Advising on international strategies and facilitating international contacts
    • Assisting with the promotion of the Central Denmark Region

    As a result, the Central Denmark EU Office facilitates the connection between the Central Denmark Region at local level and the European level in Brussels.


    Central Denmark EU Office
    House of Central & North Denmark
    Avenue de Tervuren 35
    B-1040 Brussels.

    Phone: +32 2 230 87 32
    E-mail: info@centraldenmark.eu
    Sidst opdateret: 12. oktober 2023