Leipzig is an ideal sister city for Houston. With a population of approx. 500,000 it is the largest city in the five new federal states of Unified Germany, excluding its capital city, Berlin. Although the official founding of the city occurred in 1165 AD, when Leipzig was awarded market and commerce privileges, vestiges of population can be traced back to Roman times, when the settlement was at the crossroads of two important trade routes.
Like Houston, Leipzig plays a leading role in world trade and as a vital link between Eastern and Western Europe. The city is world-renowned for its trade fairs, which have been held for well over 800 years.
Like Houston, Leipzig is a major center for academic and technological research. As one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Germany (founded in 1409), Leipzig University counts among its illustrious professors and alumni Gellert, Goethe, Gottsched, Hertz, Leibniz, Ostwald, Heisenberg, Teller and Lovett, known to many Houstonians as the founding President of Rice University.
Like Houston, Leipzig is a city of the arts. Bach and Mendelssohn lived and worked in Leipzig. Symphony (Gewandhausorchester), opera, ballet and theater are all well represented in the city. The Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts has one of the most significant art collections in central Germany. Leipzig is a leading publishing center of German language books and quality printed works. Its library has over 7 million volumes.
The sponsoring sister city organizations in both cities are organizing student exchanges, cultural, art, concert and choir exchanges, citizens of both cities visiting their counterparts. Support for the relationship between Houston and Leipzig is also coming from Rotary activities and exchanges as well as the programs of the Bach Society in Houston and visiting Bach experts and presenters from institutions from in and around Leipzig.
Trade, science, culture and an ever young spirit are the common thread that make the sister cities of Houston and Leipzig a perfect match.