Meetings of artists from both cities as well as joint exhibitions, music and theater events, promoted and accompanied by the cultural affairs offices in both cities, already took place at the beginning of the 1990s. In 2003, the first official agreement between the two municipalities was concluded. Well over 1000 artists from Bonn and Minsk have participated in exchange projects to date. With more than 30 encounters, there has also been a lively exchange of youth and young professionals.
But in other areas, too, both cities are working together to share their experience and best practice. In May 2018, for example, a Bonn delegation took part in the Conference on Sustainable Development "Strategies and Partnerships to Achieve the Sustainability Goals" in Minsk. In one of the numerous workshops, the City of Bonn had the opportunity to present the newly developed sustainability strategy of the City of Bonn. On the occasion of the conference, talks were held with the Minsk city administration to discuss further cooperation and topics for future collaboration.
Together with official representatives of the City of Minsk, Bonn celebrated the 25th anniversary of the partnership in the Old Town Hall of the City of Bonn on 28 September 2018.
Since 1995, the Minsk-Club Bonn e.V. has been promoting friendly relations on a civic level, supporting the project partnership and offering its own programmes.
CEMR Statement on Democracy in Belarus
Europe’s towns and regions stand up for democracy in Belarus
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions condemns the violence against Belarusian protestors following allegedly fraudulent presidential elections. We appeal for peaceful, open and inclusive dialogue between all parties. The elections, which took place in Belarus on 9 August 2020, did not comply with any international standards of democracy and the rule of law. These elections were neither free nor fair.
We urge the Belarusian authorities to stop the persecution of political opponents, to immediately release all those who are unfairly detained and to respect human rights and freedoms. We call upon the Belarusian government to immediately engage in a genuine political dialogue with the opposition to avoid further bloodshed and organise new elections under the scrutiny of international observers.
We call on the European Union and Member States to support dialogue and mediation processes in coordination with neighbouring countries and all parties concerned to engage Belarus in a transition process leading to democracy with fair elections.
We furthermore urge the EU institutions and national governments to strengthen assistance to Belarusian civil society, including to organisations promoting local democracy and municipal autonomy, which are a genuine training ground for democratic citizenship and the rule of law.
Europe’s municipalities and regions will support Belarus’ democratic development and the growth of city-to-city and region-to-region ties. We are confident that only nonviolence and dialogue can produce a positive solution for all concerned.