Heidelberg became Palo Alto’s Sister City in 2017, making it one of the newest additions to our Sister City family. However, the relationship between the two cities goes back to 2013 when Heidelberg and Palo Alto forged a “Smart Cities” agreement, designed to establish a bond centered on shared goals of commerce, sustainability, and innovation.
Located on the Neckar River in southwest Germany, about 60 miles south of Frankfurt, Heidelberg is a lively, diverse city of approximately 150,000. It is home to many young people who come to study at Germany’s oldest university. Heidelberg University, founded in the 14th century, is not just the oldest in Germany, it is one of the world’s oldest surviving universities.
Heidelberg is known for its gothic churches, picturesque castles and for being one of Germany’s scientific and artistic hubs. The city boasts several renowned research institutes, including four Max Planck Institutes, a robust biotech industry, and is a leader in terms of cancer research and renewable energy. In 2015, Heidelberg won the "Global Green City Award" from the United Nations.
Among the partnerships to have grown out of our Sister City relationship is the Heidelberg-Palo Alto Club, a complement to our Sister City relationship. The club works hand-in-hand with Neighbors Abroad to foster the relationship between the cities, offering a strong focus on building ties around commerce and innovation.
Heidelberg is an enthusiastic participant in Neighbors Abroad’s Art & Sustainability initiative, the FIT and BEAM educational programs and the Overduin Civil Courage Essay Contest.