A Tale of Two Cities. City Diplomacy in Utrecht and Portland, Oregon from 2012 to 2015
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City diplomacy emerged from different shifts within diplomacy. First of all, traditional state to state diplomacy, with professional diplomats as the most important actors, shifted to a multi leveled diplomacy in which regions and cities also play a role. Public diplomacy, in which regular citizens are the most important actors, also became increasingly popular, especially in times of war. City diplomacy is defined as the processes by which cities engage in international relations and how they represent themselves and their interests. This research focused on the friendship between the municipality of Utrecht, the Netherlands and the city of Portland Oregon, USA. There are two important dimensions within this friendship. These two dimensions are culture and economy. Cultural diplomacy is the communication between governments and foreign people. It connects people across the borders to exchange ideas and interests. Utrecht and Portland are very similar cities and both have citizens who are alternative, green and like bicycling and drinking beer. This is one of the reasons why these two cities connected. Economy and diplomacy always heavily intertwined. Both Utrecht and Portland have growing economies and benefit from trading with one another. There are many initiatives to exchange knowledge increase trade, especially within microbreweries and the ‘made movement’. What is striking about this case about Utrecht and Portland is that it shows how city diplomacy evolved from being mostly about development and supporting cities in conflict areas to connecting culturally and economically benefit from the other city. The Utrecht-Portland connection officially started in 2012 and is still developing, but already shows that city connections are very important for the city as a whole. Not only the municipality benefits from it, but also the citizens profit from the friendship.