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Visiting Madison’s sister city, Freiburg

A view of a narrow street lined with shops in Freiburg, Germany

Tour Freiburg from the comfort of your own screen.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Madison isn’t an only child, but you already knew that — back in July, we told you about its Lithuanian sister Vilnius. Keeping to our European roots, Freiburg is 608’s sister city in Germany. And we’re bringing you the low-down on all things Freiburg that will have you feeling even more sisterly love.

What is a sister city?

Also known as twin cities or friendship cities, a sister city relationship is when two different places make an agreement to promote lasting cultural ties. The idea here is to form a fellowship that encourages trade, tourism, and even cultural exchanges + projects.

Get to know Freiburg

Freiburg is located in the south-west of Baden-Württemberg, a German state that sits east of the Rhine River and borders France. It’s well-known for theater performances as well as its old-world charm, which is particularly found in the Freiburger Münsteror cathedral — that took 300+ years to build. The cathedral square also marks the city’s center, which draws crowds for shopping at the market and is home to the oldest restaurant in Germany called Zum Roten Bären.

Freiburg has also been recognized for its advanced environmental practices, paving the way as the “Green City” role-model in Germany.

Freiburg + Madison

Turns out the two cities have a lot in common with each other. Our sisterhood began in 1964, when the University of Wisconsin sent students over for the academic advantages at University of Freiburg. We’re both environmental leaders, with Madison also being named one of America’s top ten “green” cities and Freiburg displaying a vast interest and use of solar energy.

Celebrate the sisterhood

Short of booking a plane trip to Freiburg, there are lots of ways you can feel the fellowship. We recommend you take a (much shorter) trip every Saturday during summer to the information booth at the Farmers’ Market or sip on a German beer and chow down at restaurants like Heritage Tavern and Bierock.

You can also get involved by joining the Madison-Freiburg Sister City Committee for free and participate in monthly summer gatherings at local restaurants, or donate to support its programs.