ST. LOUIS – Cultural influences are strong in St. Louis, not only through history and traditions, but also support from more than a dozen sister cities.

A sister city, also known to some as a twin city or friendship city, forms when two cities from different countries form a partnership with each other. For many big cities around the United States, building ties through sister cities became increasingly popular after World War II.

Oftentimes, sister cities work together to promote cultural exchange, economic benefits, tourism, and social initiatives. They open eyes to a variety of cultures and perspectives that exist globally, and partnerships ultimately aim to promote peace and learning.

According to the St. Louis Sister Cities Program and Sister Cities Of the World websites, the City of St. Louis is a sister city to 15 cities across 15 different countries. Those include the following:

  • Bogor (Indonesia)
  • Bologna (Italy)
  • Brčko (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
  • County Donegal (Ireland)
  • Galway (Ireland)
  • Georgetown (Guyana)
  • Lyon (France)
  • Nanjing (China)
  • Rosario (Argentina)
  • Saint-Louis (Senegal)
  • Samara (Russia)
  • San Luis Potosi (Mexico)
  • Stuttgart (Germany)
  • Suwa (Japan)
  • Szczecin (Poland)

There are two discrepancies between the websites that, based on interpretation, could mean additional sister cities for St. Louis.

Sister Cities of the World claims that Yokneam (Isreal) is a sister city. News outlet STL Jewish Light also states Yokneam has had a sister city relationship with St. Louis since the 1990s. This is not confirmed by the St. Louis Sister Cities Program.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Sister Cities Program confirms Wuhan (China) is a sister city. News outlet St. Louis Magazine also states Wuhan has had a sister city relationship with St. Louis since the 1970s. This is not confirmed by Sister Cities of the World.

Ireland, with two sister cities in St. Louis, has some very deep ties dating back to 19thy century. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of St. Louis residents from the 1850s were born in Ireland. Some St. Louis neighborhoods, like Dogtown, embrace the spirit with St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Saint-Louis in Senegal shares a very similar name and plays an important economic and cultural role of West Africa, and is only separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a peninsula.

Bologna is not pronounced like the common American sandwich meat, but closer to its actual spelling with a silent “g.” It is the seventh-most populated city of Italy with 400,000 people, and it’s well known for its food and churches.

As for the United States, nearly 1,000 U.S. cities share at least one sister city connection between cities in 92 different countries.