Q&A: What to know about Dayton’s relationship with one of Germany’s oldest cities

In the state of Bavaria, one of Germany’s oldest cities boasts cobblestone streets, varying architecture and deep roots to one of the most famous composers in history.

Augsburg, Germany — one of Dayton’s Sister Cities — has a multitude of similarities to the Gem City. Known as an industrial hub, several manufacturers of machinery and electrical equipment have a significant presence in Augsburg. It is also home to the University of Augsburg, founded in 1970.

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Like Dayton, several talented artists and esteemed thinkers were born in Augsburg. The city is the hometown of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The house of his father Leopold Mozart is now a Mozart museum. German poet Bertolt Brecht was also born in the city.

While much of Augsburg was destroyed during World War II, some historic sights survived, and the city rebuilt its infrastructure. Now, visitors can eat authentic German food at street-side cafés or visit quirky spots like the Augsburger Puppenkiste, a marionette theater and museum.

Augsburg is also a short train ride to Munich, and a day’s trip away from Vienna, Austria — making it a convenient stop during a week of a travel.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley answered five questions about Dayton’s Sister City Program.

1. What is the importance of the Sister City Program?

Whaley: In these challenging times, intercultural understanding is particularly important. The City of Dayton is fortunate that it has five international cities, including Augsburg, Germany, with which it has a sister city relationship. The importance that Dayton attributes to these relationships is spelled out in the founding documents creating the committee.

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The committee promotes Dayton’s international image and serves as its chief source of international protocol with its sister cities, as approved by the Dayton City Commission. It does this through special exchange programs of friendship and goodwill involving its community citizenry and students here in Dayton and abroad. The committee is run by dedicated group of volunteers from the Dayton area community.

2. What is the relationship like between Augsburg and Dayton?

Whaley: The relationship between Augsburg and Dayton is longstanding, (and) in fact it was our first sister city. Dayton and Augsburg have been sister cities for more than 50 years. While the formal sister city arrangement began in 1964, interest in establishing an exchange of educational, cultural, and commercial information began even earlier, in 1957.

3. What are the cultural and economic benefits of the partnership between the two cities?

Whaley: A variety of benefits have been gained from this relationship. Representatives of the city governments and their delegations have exchanged visits and ideas. Students from Chaminade Julienne have both traveled to Augsburg and received students from there.

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UD business students regularly study for a semester in Augsburg, and University of Augsburg students study at UD. In addition, the youth orchestras from both communities have played together, and business exchanges have occurred. Representatives from Dayton Human Rights Council, water and wastewater, police and area institutions of higher education all have shared information.

4. What similarities do the cities have?

Whaley: Both cities have a strong history of industrial activity, and both are now transitioning their economies. Both are centers of science, art and culture. Both have an intense desire to promote international understanding and cooperation in an ever-changing world.

5. What impressions do you have from your travels to Augsburg?

Whaley: While the city of Augsburg has ancient roots and has lovely architecture, it is the people of the city who make the relationship so meaningful. From the mayor on down, our delegations there have been warmly received by all. It has been a pleasure to visit historic sites as well as examples of ways the city is reinventing itself. Sharing ideas on improving city services with our counterparts in Augsburg both strengthens our relationships and leads to improvements on ways we can serve our own citizens here in Dayton.


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