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Three Sisters in Germany

The connections between Wisconsin and Germany are not just based on the state-level

partnership. Two of the strongest connections are between the city of Madison and the city of Freiburg im Breisgau in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and also the one between Landkreis Kassel (the equivalent of a county) in the state of Hessen and Dane County in Wisconsin. In June of 2024 you will have the opportunity to visit all three locations and learn about their history and culture.

Freiburg im-Breisgau is located in the south-west of Germany, near the Rhine River and the border with France. The partnership between the two communities began in 1964, when the University of Wisconsin sent students over for the academic advantages at University of Freiburg, which was founded in 1460. In 1984, leaders in both cities began exploring ways to expand the relationship beyond student exchanges.

Both Madison and Freiburg im Breisgau have been recognized for their advanced environmental practices. Freiburg is recognized as a “Green City” role-model in Germany while Madison has been named one of America’s top ten "Green Cities." Freiburg im Breisgau has displayed strong interest in the use of solar energy.

In 2007, Dane County entered into a cooperative agreement with Landkreis Kassel In northern Hessen. The purpose of the agreement is to exchange ideas and build economic partnerships regarding:

  • Renewable enery

  • regional transportation ystems

  • Renewable energy

  • Workforce training and continuing education

  • Cultural exchanges

The partnership is not just about technology and workforce development. The Madison College Big Band and the Anchor String quartet have performed in Germany and the Edgar Knecht Trio has visited Wisconsin on multiple occasions.

Hessen and Wisconsin formalized their relationship in 1976. Their emphasis has been to promote and facilitate business, governmental, and educational exchanges, cultural and tourism exchanges, and encourage the development of science and technology partnerships between the two states. Prof. Dr. Kristina Sinemus, Hessian Minister for Digital Strategy and Innovation led the most recent delegation that visited Wisconsin in May of this year.

A Visit to Three Sisters in Germany

Next year, a Wisconsin delegation will travel to German cities representing partner communities at the state, county, and city level. Dates are June 16-29. Stops will include Kassel, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Freiburg im Breisgau, and Wiesbaden.

Tour cost is $7,039 with a single supplement of $896. Final payment is due on March 4, 2024.

The tour cost includes:

  • Estimated roundtrip airfare from Chicago to Frankfurt am Main

  • Ground transportation

  • Accommodations

  • Some meals

  • Services of a professional tour manager

  • Admission to all group activities

  • and taxes and tips

For more information about the Visit to Three Sisters in Germany tour,


Charles J. James, President of the Madison-Freiburg Sister City Committee

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