Universities, theatres, companies and organisations in both cities had enjoyed cooperative relations prior to the first meeting of the official delegations of Tartu and Tampere in October 1990. The official cooperation agreement between the cities was signed on 22 September 1992. During recent years the creative industry and the development of public services have been the focus of cooperation. Special attention is also being given to smart-city projects.
Tartu signed its first cooperation document with Turku on 21 June 1996. Villa Tammekann, situated in Tartu, was restored in cooperation between the University of Tartu and the University of Turku as well as the City of Tartu and the City of Turku. The villa mainly serves as the University of Turku’s place of representation and accommodation in Tartu.
Hämeenlinna has been Tartu’s partner city in the Nordic Chain since 1991. The Nordic Chain network consists of six cities, including Tartu. All of them come together every two years in one of the six cities.
Tapani Hellstén, the Mayor of Hämeenlinna, has participated in the Twin Towns' National Cuisine Days event in Tartu twice, lending a hand in the kitchen at Big Ben Pub. The representatives of Big Ben Pub, in turn, travelled to Hämeenlinna in January 2009 to prepare food for the celebration of the Finnish city’s birthday.
Friendly relations and cooperation between Tartu and Uppsala formally started with an agreement signed in 1988.
In the 2000s, cooperation centred on acquiring EU experience, joint projects, cooperation among Nordic sister cities and sharing Tartu’s e-Governance experiences with Uppsala.
Tartu and Veszprém were initially linked from 1969-1975.
In 1971 the two cities signed an agreement to further enhance ties between them. Communication broke off in 1975, but the two cities rekindled their relationship in 1990 in Veszprém.
On 4 May 1993, Tartu and Kaunas signed a memorandum of good intent in the Lithuanian city.
They have worked very effectively together on youth work and cultural exchanges; young artists have engaged in joint projects; and the cities have exchanged experience regarding the organisation of international Hanseatic days.
On 18 July 1996, the City of Tartu and the Municipality of Frederiksberg signed a protocol of cooperation.
The two are connected via the Nordic Chain.
The network includes six cities: Bærum in Norway, Frederiksberg in Denmark, Hafnarfjörður in Iceland, Hämeenlinna in Finland, Uppsala in Sweden and Tartu in Estonia.
Zutphen and Deventer
On 13 June 1990 the City of Tartu and the cities of Zutphen and Deventer signed a five-year cooperation agreement to enhance partnership and friendship.
In 2004 Tartu City Government and Tartu City Council reviewed the city’s cooperation with these partner cities and decided to declare Zutphen and Deventer official twin cities.
Tartu and Hafnarfjörður were brought together as members of the Nordic Chain network. Every two years, representatives from each city meet at the Nordic Chain convention.
Hafnarfjörður is part of the Hanseatic League.
Tartu and Bærum are partners in the Nordic Chain network. The two have shared valuable experience regarding voluntary work and youth work.
A cooperation agreement was signed between the cities of Tartu and Lüneburg on 22 August 1993.
Lüneburg has been funding the restoration of St John's Church in Tartu for a number of years and has also contributed funds and experience to help create the Domus Dorpantensis foundation.
The cities are both members of the Hanseatic League.
Tartu and Ferrara signed a protocol of cooperation on 17 March 1998.
Over time, the two cities have joined forces in various youth and cultural projects.
A declaration of friendship between the cities of Tartu and Salisbury was signed on 21 May 1999.
Professor Richard Hoffman from Salisbury University has taught students at the University of Tartu as a visiting scholar.
On 17 May 2000 Tartu and Pskov signed an agreement to promote cooperation and twinning.
Residents of the two cities engage in neighbourly relations. There has been a lot of communication and exchange of experience, including common projects under the Estonian-Russian cross-border cooperation programme and outstanding cooperation in such fields as culture, sports, youth work, the city economy, city assets and welfare.
Tartu and Rīga signed a declaration of cooperation on 14 March 2005.
The two cities have worked together on projects spanning culture, sports, tourism, marketing, entrepreneurship, health and welfare.