In 2015, a climate exchange was established between cities in North-Rhine Westphalia and Minnesota (USA). The project “Climate Smart Municipalities” (CSM) is organised by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis as well as by the states of North-Rhine Westphalia and Minnesota. In the context of this project, the City of Münster and Rochester became committed climate partnership municipalities. Rochester is a city with about 135,000 inhabitants and home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic. Common topics in the CSM project include climate neutral living & building and modern infrastructure. The project aims to make it clear that climate protection and the energy transition are tasks for society as a whole and that something can only be achieved through integrative approaches at the municipal level.
Since 2018, an annual delegation visit of students from the university of Minnesota/USA has taken place as part of the project "Climate Smart Municipalities" (CSM). In January, the next group of 28 students visited Münster. They informed themselves on the topics of climate neutrality, mobility concepts, and green start-up companies. The programme for the delegation contained a bicycle tour through the city guided by the office for bicycles, a reception in the Hall of Peace, a viewing of the e-bus charging depot as well as a visit to the Digital Hub münsterLAND.
Exchange of expertise in images
Exchange of expertise on the topic of hospitality culture
In December 2022, the City of Münster in cooperation with the town of Senden received guests from the USA together. As part of a delegation of experts, representatives from the political, administrational, and economical field travelled to Münster, Saerbeck, and Düsseldorf under the guise of the project “Climate Smart Municipalities” which is funded by the state of North Rhine Westphalia and the state of Minnesota. For years, there has been an intensive exchange of expertise regarding topics such as energy efficiency, e-mobility, and the energy transition. Additionally, for the first time, there was an exchange on the topic of migration and integration policies. The delegation of experts was especially interested in structures aimed at the integration of migrants in rural areas. Münster and Senden provided extensive information on legal frameworks and municipal processes to ensure basic services such as housing, social benefits, and access to education are met. The small community of St. James served as an example to highlight the importance of intercultural participation and the challenges this entails.
Despite considerable differences between the historically developed German culture ad the comparatively young multicultural country of immigration, the USA, municipalities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are dealing with similar questions concerning the topics of migration and integration. “We can learn a lot from each other,” sums up Lea Sammerl from the Office for Migration and Integration of the City of Münster.