Sister Cities, originally known in Europe as “town twinning,” is a concept whereby towns or cities in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired with the goal of forging relationships and cultural links. In Europe, these pairs have also been called friendship towns, partner towns or twin towns. In Russia, they’re called brother cities. In Asia and North America, the term Sister Cities has become the accepted term to describe these town links. Following the second World War, “twinning charters” between cities formerly on opposite sides fostered a closer understanding of each other, promoting acts of peace and reconciliation.  In North America, the official American “Sister Cities” program was launched in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. The Kettering City Council established the Kettering Sister City Committee more than 50 years ago on March 28, 1967.

The city of Kettering has two sister city affiliations. Our relationship with Steyr, Austria was established by City ordinance in March, 1970, and our relationship with the Borough of Kettering, England, in February, 1978.

Sister Cities often have similar demographic and other shared characteristics. Steyr, Austria was formed at the confluence of two rivers, the Enns and the Steyr; Dayton had its beginnings at the joining of five rivers. Both Steyr and Kettering share a history of auto and tool manufacturing. Both cities benefited by visionary industrialists who advanced modern industrial techniques, while at the same time improving conditions for workers.

The Kettering Sister City program is award winning, receiving international recognition for Best Overall Youth Exchange in 1987 and as a five time winner of Best Overall Program.  A particular point of pride for the Kettering Sister Cities Association is the continuous history of youth exchanges.  Every year since 1976 Steyr and Kettering youth groups have alternated visits to each other’s countries. This was interrupted in 2020 due to travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19. We hope to restart this wonderful program in 2023 with Kettering students traveling to Steyr, Austria. Because of these student interactions, many long-term friendships have been established. The proceeds from the annual Spass Nacht event benefit the Kettering Sister Cities Association’s successful cultural exchange programs.

Kettering Sister Cities Committee is an entirely volunteer organization which relies on the support of their dedicated members to make events like Spass Nacht and the annual Youth Enrichment Exchange possible.  To learn more about how you can support the work of Kettering Sister Cities, please visit our membership page..

Adult Trip to Steyr, Austria to Celebrate our 50th Anniversary with our Austrian Sister City

Originally this trip was planned for 2020 but was not able to happen due to COVID-19. We hope to renew this Adult Trip in 2023 or 2024. We are hopeful the Youth Trip will begin soon and are excited about the possibility of the Kettering Band and/or the Kettering Youth Choir participating in the Youth Trip as well. Generally, these trips happen in late June into early July and last about 12 days, which 3 to 4 of those days are spent in Steyr. The reason for this is to take advantage of the break in the Austrian school year and being able to enjoy the beautiful Austrian weather.

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to and from Europe. (Assistance is available for those who wish to use a travel agent.)

The trip will be a total of 12 nights in Europe: 3 in Vienna; 4 in Steyr; 2 in Salzburg; 1 near Oberammergau; Ludwig’s Castle Neuschwanstein; and 2 in Munich.  Participants may extend their stays in Europe both before and after by adjusting their travel and hotel arrangements.  Participants will have the option of staying with a Steyr family during their time in Steyr or in a hotel.

We will be traveling by the same private charter bus from Vienna to Steyr, Steyr to Salzburg, Salzburg to Munich and visiting sites between these cities that can only be visited easily by private charter bus.  We expect to stay in older historic hotels in Vienna, Salzburg and Munich as was done during the trip in 2016.  In addition to enjoying the sites of Vienna, Steyr, Salzburg and Munich we will be visiting, among other sites, the Abby of Melk, Oberammergau. Ludwig’s Castles of Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Linderhof, and the Wieskirche.

Estimated costs in addition to travel to and from Europe:

  •             Accommodations—8-12 nights (depending upon whether one stays with a family or in a hotel in Steyr; Single rooms around $150 per night, double is about $100 per person per night.
  •             Meals: Breakfast is included in the price of a room in all hotels; lunch and dinner are the responsibility of each participant.
  •             Admissions:  Admissions are optional and will be at the participants cost.
  •             Travel by Private Charter Bus:  Cost will be shared by the participants and depends upon the number of participants.  We hope to keep this cost at $300 or less per participant.
  •             Travel to and from airports will be at the participants cost.
  •             The possibility of participating in this program as well as attending the Oberammergau Passion Play is the responsibility of each participant.

Participants are required to be members of the Kettering Sister Cities Association.  Annual membership fees are $10 per individual, $15 per Family: or $30 to be a Patron.

For additional information please call Ed Hatch at 937-298-6124 or contact by email: Edward.hatch@gmail.com.