Dresden (Germany) and Hangzhou (Zhejiang)

Source : Department of European and International Affairs City of Dresden


Character, start and duration of the partnership

In November 2007 a delegation of representatives from Dresden Administration, from City Council, from the University of Dresden and business representatives travelled to Hangzhou in order to meet for the first time with the authorities of the Chinese city. The Mayor of Dresden, Dr. Lutz Vogel, together with Hangzhou’s Mayor, Cai Qi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on friendship and cooperation. After a return visit of a Hangzhou delegation to Dresden in April 2009, the twinning between Dresden and Hangzhou began officially by signing the Agreement on 16[h]th of October 2009.

Funding comes from both cities’ administrations and from external actors - depending on the project.

Main topics addressed and activities undertaken under the partnership

An important topic for both cities is the connection between history and the demands of modernity. Another common issue is how to address the consequences of water flooding - of the Elbe River in Dresden and the annual spring flood in Hangzhou. Culture, education and science are also common fields of interest within the cooperation between both cities.

Key achievements within the partnership

In a few months Dresden and Hangzhou scheduled several activities mostly related to education and research. In January 2010 scientists from both cities’ universities and institutes of research got together to set the basis for their future cooperation on cancer research. During the same month five Chinese experts came to Dresden to help the German colleagues to refurbish the Chinese Pavilion, an original Chinese building from the International Hygiene Exhibition in 1911. During the month of February artists from the Chinese partner city collaborated with the organizing of the Chinese New Year cultural program. Choirs of children from both cities participated in the 3rd International Children’s Choir Festival in May. Exchanges between experts are also common, such as those of the Economic Development Office and the Environment Centre of Dresden. Students from the Engineering Institute of the University of Dresden travelled to Hangzhou and visited the city’s university.

Next October the Conference of Mayors of Twin Cities will be held in Hangzhou.

Future expectations and expected development of the partnership

The partnership has only been formally running for a few months, but the number of activities undertaken in this short period is a clear sign of the positive outcomes of this partnership. It is Dresden’s aim to build a partnership with an active involvement of citizens, associations and institutions of both cities in all fields of daily life.

Key obstacles and weaknesses in the partnership and consequent needs

There are no main communication difficulties within this partnership, seeing as the topics addressed are often related to very specific themes, such as architecture and engineering. At the moment there aren’t any special needs and wishes for this partnership.

City of Dresden

Dresden is one of the 16 political centers of Germany and the capital of Saxony. The city has a population of 513,000 inhabitants (2008), while the agglomeration counts about 780,000, nearly the entire population of Region Dresden which population is 1,150,000. Dresden used to be a major industrial eastern bloc in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) but after its collapse had to face the development gap with Germany’s western cities. After the reunification a completely new law and market system was introduced in order to awake the ex-GDR social and economic brake down. Alongside Leipzig, Dresden is one of the fastest growing cities in Germany, but today is still facing many social and economic problems, first of all the high unemployment rate that here reaches up level 15 %. Dresden is the first German city able to write off its loans and to become debt-free.

City of Hangzhou

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province. Being a sub-provincial city, Hangzhou is ranked as a prefecture level city run by the province but it acts independently in the fields of economy and law. The sub provincial area counts more than 8 million people and is divided into 8 districts within the metropolitan area, 3 metropolitan counties and 2 ordinary counties. Thanks to its strategic position, Hangzhou is considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China. Since the early Nineties the city has strongly developed his industrial and economic sectors especially regarding medicine, information technology, automotive components, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals and food processing. Thanks to its historical relics and natural beauty, tourism plays an important role for the city’s economy.


This case study belongs to the file « Europe - China Exchange Platform Survey »

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