International understanding in action
As an international city with around 11.9 million guests a year and around 47,000 migrant citizens, Heidelberg maintains eight city partnerships: Hangzhou in China, Palo Alto in the USA, the French city of Montpellier, Cambridge in the UK, Rehovot in Israel, Bautzen in Germany, Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula and Kumamoto in Japan. The focus of the partnerships is on academic sciences, youth exchange and culture.
International understanding in action involves a wide range of activities from visits of official delegations and meetings of politicians and administrators to youth events and grass root activities. Since 1996 Heidelberg has also organized an annual International Summer Science School (ISH) that brings together final-year high school students from all its partner cities. Since 2010, the cooperation of the International Summer Science School (ISH) with the National Youth Science Forum allows young scientists from Heidelberg to gather practical experience in Australia.
Heidelberg also has friendly relations with Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Jelenia Góra (Poland) and Heidelberg (South Africa/Gauteng Province).
It is important to the city of Heidelberg to maintain contact with its Jewish former citizens. Meetings have already been held five times in Heidelberg, during which the former citizens and their relatives visited Germany again, in some cases for the first time since their expulsion. In order to also maintain contact with the descendants of these former Heidelberg citizens, the City of Heidelberg supports them in visiting Heidelberg within the framework of the present support program. Descendants of the first generation receive one-time financial support for a visit to Heidelberg lasting several days.