Berlin & Los Angeles: Two of a kind

Since 1967, Los Angeles has been one of Berlin’s 17 partner cities. In the now 50-year-old city partnership with numerous connecting events, the two metropolises established a deep mutual understanding for each other. Berlin and Los Angeles are not only sister cities, they’re “sisters in mind.” What connects the metropolises so closely? Cosmopolitanism, dreams, creativity, and, above all, the feeling of freedom.

Los Angeles has always been regarded as a city of dreams, a place where world-changing ideas and boundless creativity thrive. A city where everything from Hollywood, to skateboards, and the electric guitar to the internet, the space shuttle, and the Mars Rover become a reality, according the current Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. The essential prerequisite: Freedom. The freedom to live, to act, and to create.For Los Angeles, respect for human rights and dignity, integration, and tolerance are fundamental values for a life of freedom. These values are also that Berlin and Los Angeles share, which form the foundation of the partnership and the close connection between the two Sister Cities. Because Berlin is the city of freedom. Kimberly Emerson, a lawyer with roots in Los Angeles and Berlin, sums up Berlin’s way of life in one sentence: “Anything goes in freedom.” And the governing mayor, Michael Müller, also knows that Berlin is a place of longing.

The driving impulse is the longing that everyone can be, live, and love however they want. Berlin is (like Los Angeles) a place where ideas and possibilities become realities. The cornerstone for the city partnership between the two metropolises was laid by Berlin emigrants from the film industry in 1967. And what was valid then still applies today: Berlin and Los Angeles are the cities of which dreams are made.


Los Angeles is a city of dreams, a place of boundless creativity and ideas that change the world.(Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles)

A connecting element is also the pursuit of innovative, creative output. In both cities, all forms of creative expression are not only tolerated, but also encouraged. This is due not least to the respective histories of immigration and political experimentation. While Los Angeles has always been a refuge for survivors of genocide and civil wars – the city has the largest populations of Cambodians, Armenians, and Koreans who’ve settled outside their respective countries – following the conflicts of the early 20th century, Berlin made every effort to welcome foreigners to the city. And this openness, this cosmopolitanism has made both cities into fertile creative environments. Environments in which music and technology thrive.

Los Angeles is known as the epicenter of pop culture, all over the world for its thrilling design and art movements and, of course, for Hollywood’s film industry. Berlin, in turn, attracts people with its underground club scene and deep connection to art and fashion. A possible approach to an explanation for the close connection between the two cities could also be the similarity of the urban structures. The metropolises are widely spread out, but they don’t have a center and periphery, but rather several dense centers. This promotes a very special ethos of exchange and difference and strengthens the feeling of cosmopolitanism and direct communication.

For more than half a century now, the sister cities have maintained and deepened their connections. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the partnership, numerous events are taking , with a focus on the connecting elements. In October, the vibrant film cities of Berlin and Los Angeles will be celebrating the international premiere of the hotly anticipated TV series “Babylon Berlin” from Tom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten, and Achim von Boris.

After the Berlin Art Week, the collector Axel Haubruk and the film curator Marc Glöde will present different artists from Los Angeles, including Stephen Prina, Christopher Williams, and Margeret Honda to the Berlin audience under the title la > x.

There are more events and exciting stories in celebration of the sister cities anniversary at www.berlin-losangeles.com.

Nickel Diner in L. A. © Ryan Vaarsi; Berlin Alexanderplatz © Thomas Leuthard; Universal Studios © Davide D´Amico

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