Town twinning, has been functioning as a form of international cooperation since the end of the 40s of the 20th century. The background of the cooperation was readiness on part of cities and towns to rebuild the partnership after the Second World War. The first twinning agreement was concluded in 1947. The signatory towns were Ludwigshafen (Germany) and Montbeliard (France). Presently the town twinning has become very popular in the European Union, as it enables the towns concerned to share administrative, economic, cultural, sports and tourist experience. Through direct contacts of various professional groups or children and teenagers, such a partnership builds up new international relations. Active participation of Sosnowiec in establishing partnership with other cities has resulted in signing twinning agreements with Suceava in Romania (2003), Les Mureaux in France (2004), Komárom in Hungary (2005) Roubaix in France (2006) and the Casablanca Maârif Municipal Community in Morocco (2008). Furthermore, within the scope of various EU projects, Sosnowiec collaborates with the following cities: Nonantola (Italy), Idar-Oberstein (Germany), Olesa de Montserrat (Spain) and Příbram (Czech). A twinning agreement is concluded on a basis of a previous cooperation of two relevant cities. As far as Sosnowiec is concerned, it has actively collaborated with other twin cities in the implementation of many European projects.
The aim of cooperation between twin towns is to benefit the Sosnowiec community in the first place. Establishment of partnership relations on a formal level always translates into cooperation in the field of culture, art, sports, economy or education.
An example of cultural exchange might be a performance given by the „Kiepurki” vocal and music group, functioning at the Sosnowiec Jan Kiepura Club, on the Polish Culture Day organized in Roubaix or on the Komárom Days. A performance by the Sosnowiec „Skandal” dance group also added splendour to the Komárom Day event. Yet another example of an interesting form of cooperation, preceded by six-month preparations, can be a mini circus spectacle, organized by a group of young French pupils and students.
During the group's stay in Sosnowiec, the spectacle was performed to the children - the patients of the John Paul II Pediatric Centre departments and to the participants of the summer play centre organized by the Sosnowiec Municipal Social Assistance Centre.
An active cooperation was also undertaken by schools from Sosnowiec, which resulted in an educational and pedagogical exchange and joint concerts of students and teachers from the Complex of Music Schools in Sosnowiec and the Conservatory in Roubaix in the years 2007 and 2008. Next examples are educational projects implemented within the scope of the Comenius European Programme, such as «Entering the European labour market by young people» with the participation of the Vaucanson Secondary School of General Education in Les Mureaux and the Styling School in Sosnowiec as well as „A city which is changing", coordinated by the François Villon Secondary School of General Education in Les Mureaux, with the participation of J. Korczak 7th Secondary School of General Education in Sosnowiec.
The international cooperation abounds with many amusing and touching moments. The cultural differences or accidental events are a source of unforgettable entertainment for the project participants.
Sosnowiec and Poland arouse a wide interest of foreign visitors, which sometimes leads to unexpected and moving situations, which might be illustrated on the example of Auschwitz – Birkenau visit, organized within the framework of „The Third Forum of Secondary School Students”. The originators of the visit to the museum were German teenagers, who wished to acquaint themselves with this part of the history. The history of that place made a tremendous impression on the visitors. Descriptions of dr Mengele's experiments, atrocities of war or executions carried out in front of the death wall made the students realize the danger of the war. Many of the visitors, particularly the German students, were crying while experiencing that unusual history lesson.
Sosnowiec is also a source of inspiration for its foreign partners. One of the French councillors participating in the „Twin Towns Meeting” in 2006 was intrigued by the allotment gardens. He considered this kind of municipal area development and recreation excellent, and wanted to transfer this idea to the French ground, which is why a short trip to the nearby allotment gardens was organized at his request.
Sosnowiec as a very popular city stirs up positive emotions of the visitors, which is unanimously agreed by everyone. Professionalism as well as conscientiousness put into the organization of foreign visits are also appreciated by the visitors. The inventiveness and activity in acquiring the EU funds and preparing numerous international projects also win high recognition. The most interesting aspects of Sosnowiec, according to the foreign visitors, are the architecture and green areas within the city. Such opinions develop a positive image of our city and country, which is the reason why many of the foreign guests revisit Sosnowiec with their families.