Sibling Revelry: St. Louis Celebrates 50 Years with Sister City of Stuttgart, Germany

21, April 2010
Lord Mayor Wolfgang Schuster, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, and County Executive Charlie Dooley at the Missouri History Museum on April 16, 2010.

St. Louis is celebrating its oldest sister this year, and the Missouri History Museum has been honored to be part of the festivities. In 1960, St. Louis entered into its first sister city relationship. The 50-year bond between St. Louis and Stuttgart, Germany, is being celebrated this year with a number of events and cultural exchanges.

The biggest event took place this weekend as St. Louisans welcomed Lord Mayor Wolfgang Schuster, mayor of Stuttgart since 1997. The event, held in the Grand Hall of the Missouri History Museum, included a temporary exhibit about Missouri’s German heritage, speeches by city and county leaders, and an address by Schuster, who focused on the challenges and opportunities facing cities in a globalized economy.

Schuster stressed the need to develop strategies for economic development, to cooperate on issues of environmental protection, and to create a social climate that is fair and just. “What is good for Stuttgart is good for cities in general,” he said, “and one key is education—give every child a fair chance.”

Mayor Francis Slay and Lord Mayor Wolfgang Schuster sign an environmental protection agreement on April 16, 2010.

As part of his tour of St. Louis, Schuster also visited the John Burroughs School, Boeing, and Busch Stadium, where he threw out Saturday’s first pitch.

To honor the 50-year anniversary of the sister cities, the History Museum has announced the launch of a special bilingual audio tour that explores objects in our collection with German connections. Highlighted artifacts range from the Thomas Jefferson statue to an Oser pottery spittoon in our Currents Gallery. The MP3 tour can be obtained at the Museum’s information desk.

—Jody Sowell, Oral Historian

“Missouri has many strong ties to German culture. The state was being settled in the nineteenth century, especially in St. Louis and along the Missouri River, when many people were emigrating from Germany and looking for a job and a good place to live. These people and their descendants brought possessions from Germany, practiced traditional trades and crafts, established businesses, and kept their language and culture alive. Some of the objects and stories may surprise and delight you—come join in the adventure!” — from the Missouri History Museum's audio tour of German artifacts.

To learn more about the history of the sister cities program, click here.

To learn more about the St. Louis-Stuttgart relationship, click here.