City of York 20.10.23

York and Dijon celebrate 70 years as twin cities

York has welcomed visitors from our French twin city, Dijon, as the two communities joined forces to celebrate seven decades of cross-channel friendship and collaboration.

On Friday 29 September, representatives from Dijon were welcomed by the leader of City of York Council, Cllr Claire Douglas, to hear about the council’s ambitions for the years ahead. The group then headed to the University of York to tour the Institute for Safe Autonomy, where they learned about the city’s role in developing and studying cutting-edge technologies.

The packed itinerary for the visit also included a visit to York Minster, where the officials from Dijon visited the memorial plaque for French airmen stationed near York during the Second World War, and a tour of the Mansion House, accompanied by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.

Meanwhile, a team of Dijon’s most promising chefs were on hand at the York Food and Drink Festival to showcase their region’s world-famous gastronomy through live cooking demonstrations and tasting opportunities.

On Saturday 30 September, they were joined by representatives from Dijon, along with York’s civic party for a reception at the festival celebrating the relationship between the two cities.

Culinary collaboration was also on the menu on Friday evening, when representatives from both cities enjoyed a celebratory dinner at York’s Grand Hotel, which featured a menu inspired by the best of French and British cuisine, showcasing seasonal local ingredients with a Burgundian twist.

The visit comes after the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of York, Cllr Chris Cullwick and his wife Joy, travelled to Dijon earlier this month to take part in the city’s Liberation Day event, commemorating the city’s liberation from Nazi occupation on 11 September 1944.

Councillor Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“It was fantastic to welcome our guests from Dijon to West Offices and to share with them our ambitions to make York a healthier, more affordable, greener and more equal city in the years ahead.

“There is so much that unites us. York is the historic capital of the North, famous for its world-class heritage and a pioneering spirit of innovation, while Dijon is the powerhouse of Burgundy: a region recognised the world over for its culture and gastronomy. Our cities have both been shaped by a long and rich history and are both working towards a bright and sustainable future.

“I hope our friends from Dijon have enjoyed exploring our wonderful city, and I look forward to many more years of friendship.”

 Councillor Chris Cullwick, Lord Mayor of York, said:

“It’s been an honour to welcome our friends from Dijon to York and to celebrate the enduring partnership between our two great cities.

“While the world has undoubtedly changed since our partnership began in 1953, the friendship between our communities has remained steadfast and that’s something for which we are very grateful and proud.

“The last few days have highlighted the strength of our bonds, from a shared love of great food and drink to the value we place on our culture and heritage.

“I’d also like to thank the people of Dijon for the generous hospitality they showed myself and the Lady Mayoress on our recent visit to their city – I hope that our guests have found an equally warm welcome here in York.”

Lydie Pfander-Meny, Deputy Mayor of Dijon, said:

“After welcoming the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress to Dijon at the beginning of September to mark the commemoration of the liberation of Dijon, I was delighted to come to York to celebrate this partnership in person.

“Our 70-year partnership with York is particularly precious for Dijon and its inhabitants. Our longest-standing twinning relationship makes it easier for Dijon teachers to organise school exchanges for their students, and many Dijon inhabitants have started or improved their English language skills in York.

“The friendship between our two cities is also reflected in cultural, educational and gastronomic exchanges, and I would like to congratulate and thank the associations, partners and public and private institutions in York and Dijon for their involvement in this anniversary.

“Many thanks to the City of York for its warm welcome – Long live the friendship between York and Dijon!”