Twinning co-operation aims to make it easier for municipalities and their residents to work together, exchange experience, visit one another and discuss common interests. The Federation of the Norden Associations (FNF) and their local departments are an important driving force and reason to make twinning become a living part of Nordic co-operation.
A large part of twinning was established and carried out in co-operation between municipalities and the Federation of the Norden Associations' (FNF)'s local departments. The municipalities usually contribute with financial resources and the associations with voluntary commitment.
Twinning is a special relationship between two municipalities which have chosen to meet, interact and exchange information with each other. The areas covered by the co-operation are decided by the parties themselves, but often the youth, school and cultural sectors play a prominent role in the co-operation.
Town twinning offers residents and associations, municipal officials and elected representatives an opportunity, without too much difficulty or personal expense, to take part in Nordic co-operation and establish personal and professional contacts across national borders.
The municipal sector today has extensive town twinning, linking towns and cities with each other throughout the Nordic region and offering close contact between both authorities and local residents.
According to a report on town twinning (in Swedish), compiled by the Federation of the Norden Associations, town twinning between municipalities today is justified by the value created in terms of experience, knowledge sharing, contact and community building.
The Nordic countries national websites for the Federation of Norden Associations provide a detailed presentation of twinning in the Nordic countries. Here you can see what is happening locally in the over 600 friendship towns that exist in the Nordic region and can participate in this co-operation by becoming a member.
Twinning, an EU project which has gathered information for municipalities which want to initiate a twinning collaboration. Municipalities and associations can also apply for funding for projects within the framework of town twinning.
The individual municipalities are often included in larger Nordic and international networks of town twinnings and chains. The Federation of Norden Associations in Sweden has made a list of Nordic twin towns (2009) and twin chains.
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) has a , including the twin towns in the Nordic region. Local Government Denmark (KL) has also an overview sorted by the Danish twin towns.
The town twinning idea was introduced in 1924 when Helge Bruhn, Secretary General in the Danish Norden Association, wanted to set up local committees with the task of co-operating with similar committees in the other Nordic countries.
The first twinning connection was set up in 1939 between the Nordic municipalities of Uddevalla in Sweden and Thisted in Denmark. Later several other Nordic towns entered into this twinning chain.
Twinning grew in earnest in conjunction with the Nordic countries' desire to help Finland during the Finnish Winter War in the late 30s and early 40s.
The Nordic twinning movement can therefore be said to have originated partly in spontaneous popular initiatives, and partly in the tangible willingness to help which arose after the Second World War.
And even though today the idea of twinning is not unique for the Nordic region, it is more of a widespread, active and living reality here than other parts of the world.