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Office for International Relations

Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): GPM Foto

Council of Europe awards Dortmund with Plaque of Honour

Dortmund has been awarded the Council of Europe’s Plaque of Honour for its commitment to Europe. A reason for Mayor Thomas Westphal to be happy: The aim is to strengthen the awareness of Europe together with the citizens.

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The European Rainbow Flag flies in front of the Dortmund U.
Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Dortmund-Agentur / Roland Gorecki

On 15 April 2021, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to award Dortmund with the Plaque of Honour. With this award, it honours Dortmund’s local European commitment, its cooperation in associations and networks as well as activities with sister cities and in project partnerships. Receiving the Plaque of Honour, Dortmund has reached the third level on its way to win the Europe Prize.

Mayor Thomas Westphal rejoiced over the recognition from Strasbourg: "One of the goals of our international commitment is to promote the European idea together with our citizens, to strengthen awareness of Europe and to make Europe a symbol of solidarity. That is why I am very happy about the award of the Council of Europe, which of course motivates us further. We want to be a great city of neighbours - externally and internally.

Contact with Leeds was maintained digitally

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Dortmund maintained close contact with its international sister cities in 2020. Various virtual formats such as the Dortmund.Live city festival or the online festivities "Leeds/Dortmund 50" have strengthened cohesion in difficult times. Cooperation in project partnerships, for example with the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca and the city of Kumasi in Ghana, was also expanded.

A variety of events also took place at local level last year in which citizens debated on Europe’s challenges and priorities. These included e.g. the Europe Project Weeks on EU climate and environmental policy. This series of events with lectures, discussions and workshops for pupils is organised annually by the Europe Direct Centre Dortmund in Auslandsgesellschaft.de e.V. together with the City of Dortmund and the DGB Dortmund-Hellweg.

International commitment has been growing for years

Dortmund had already been awarded the Council of Europe's Flag of Honour in 1979 for its twinning activities with Leeds (Great Britain) and Amiens (France). The honourary plaque now shows how much the city's international commitment has grown in recent years - both in terms of the increasing number of international contacts and partnerships as well as thematic cooperation, for example in the field of climate protection and adaptation.

The Plaque of Honour will be officially presented to the City of Dortmund by a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at a public ceremony. Due to the pandemic, this event will probably be organised in the second half of the year. In addition to Dortmund, four other municipalities are awarded the Plaque of Honour in 2021: Memmingen, Stuttgart, Edremit (Turkey) and Lviv (Ukraine). The highest award, the Europe Prize, goes to the city of Khmelnytskyi in Ukraine in 2021.