Cardiff has a special relationship with communities in different countries including France, Germany and China. The relationship enables Cardiff to exchange knowledge on a wide range of matters including cultural activities, environmental action and the improvement of language skills. It also opens possibilities for the creation of trade links and the sharing of expertise. Twinning enriches the life of the community and promotes racial and religious tolerance, international understanding and respect for others.
Nantes shares Celtic roots and a rich cultural heritage with Cardiff, its twin since 1963. Over the last decade or so Nantes and Cardiff have become major tourist destinations for their respective countries. Cardiff Castle is matched by Chateau des Ducs in Nantes. In Cardiff, the Wales Millennium Centre attracts opera and musical theatre. The Cité des Congrès in Nantes also hosts the best in European artistic shows. Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium towers over the city, while Nantes has the very fine Stade de la Beaujoire. Both cities have shown great imagination in regenerating run-down dockland areas ( Cardiff Bay and Saint-Nazaire) and staging major events.
Cardiff has been twinned with Stuttgart since 1955. Stuttgart is the capital of Baden-Württemberg in south- west Germany, has a population of 588,617 and is at the heart of one of Germany's major industrial regions. Stuttgart is well known for car manufacturers such as Mercedes and Porsche. As in Cardiff, locals and tourists can appreciate architectural gems and visit museums such as the National Gallery of Art in Stuttgart or the National Museum Cardiff. Both cities are recognised as sporting and cultural centres with a wide range of annual events, such as the Mardi Gras celebrating gay and lesbian lifestyle in Cardiff and Christopher Street Day in Germany.
Cardiff has been twinned with Hordaland County in Norway since 1996. The population of the area is 422,000 and the main town is historic Bergen (221,000), which is Norway's second largest city. Bergen can offer stunning landscapes where numerous tourists come in order to relax. Moreover, this city is the maritime capital of Norway, which has a very long history in the fish trade and in aquiculture. The prosperity of these two cities is based on their ports with the coal the focus for Cardiff and fishing at the heart of the Hordaland County economy. The St Fagans National Museum of History and The Aquarium of Brugen relate the history of both cities.
Cardiff has been twinned with Xiamen since 1983, and was the first in the United Kingdom to undertake such a partnership with China. Xiamen is situated on the south east coast of China and is a popular tourist destination, known as "The garden on the sea". It is one of China's five Special Economic Zones, with an area of 1,516 square kilometres, and a population of 1.31 million. The aim of this partnership is also to learn more about another culture, to understand how their society operates and to show that our population is cosmopolitan and open-minded.
Cardiff's link with Lugansk dates back to 1959. Lugansk is a major rail and road hub, and is situated on the eastern border of Ukraine, on the northern slopes of the Donetsk range of mountains. The city has a population of 522,000 and an area of 28,610 hectares. Lugansk was near the Donetsk coalfield, and is in the throes of economic regeneration, finding a life after coal – a process Cardiff has undergone during the last 30 years.