Meet Richmond’s sister cities

From our English namesake to cities in Japan, Namibia, and Poland, these are the cities Richmond shares long-term cultural partnerships with.


Richmond is a borough of London on the Thames River.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

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Here’s a pop quiz for you. What do Ségou, Mali and Olsztyn, Poland have in command? What about Saitama, Japan and Windhoek, Namibia? They might seem completely unrelated, but they’re all actually Richmond’s sister cities.

The Richmond Sister Cities Commission coordinates these special international relationships, which are mainly focused on sharing cultural activities and encouraging future generations to be engaged global citizens.

Richmond upon Thames, England

We’re not the only Richmond in the world. In fact, our city gets its name from our first sister city, Richmond upon Thames. We officially established the partnership in 1938.

Richmond upon Thames is known for its quaint, appealing outdoor spaces as well as an array of history and arts attractions. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew may even rival Lewis Ginter — it has one of the largest and most diverse botanical collections in the world. The gothic revival Strawberry Hill House is also a timeless tourist attraction.

A picture of the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan

The Saitama Super Arena has hosted Olympic events.

Photo by Kakidai

Saitama, Japan

Saitama became one of our sister cities in 1993. We are both capital cities with several universities and lots of history.

Saitama is part of the Greater Tokyo Area. Omiya Station is the largest railway hub in the city, used by passengers and freight train lines. The city is comprised of lowlands and plateaus and has a subtropical climate — so humidity is another thing we have in common.


The Fish Market in Olsztyn had grand ice sculptures during the Christmas Fair.

Photo by Mazaki

Olsztyn, Poland

Located on the Łyna River in northeastern Poland, Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Its medieval history begins with the construction of a watchtower in 1334.

The city’s main industries are food processing, furniture manufacturing, and the Michelin Polska tyre company, which is the largest employer in the region.

Highlights include the architecture-rich Old Town and the St. James’ Cathedral, which dates back to the end of the 14th century.


Trains pass on the Zhengzhou Metro transit line.

Photo by Windmemories

Zhengzhou, China

The capital and largest city of Henan Province, Zhengzhou is a major transportation hub by rail and air. Our sister city relationship began in 1994.

During the Shang Dynasty — around 1600-1050 BCE — Zhengzhou was the capital of China. Remnants from that era can still be found downtown. There’s also the Zhengzhou Confucious Temple, one of the oldest of its kind in China.


Windhoek from above.

Photo by Brian McMorrow

Windhoek, Namibia

Our partnership with Windhoek, the capital of the Republic of Namibia, began in 1998. The city is a cultural and commercial hub partially surrounded by scenic mountain ranges.

Considered the art capital of Namibia, Windhoek is home to the National Art Gallery, National Theatre, and National Museum, and several other cultural institutions.

GMason copy RICtoday Segou Mali Sister Cities Richmond VA 6AM City

Ségou is located on the Niger River.

Photo by GMason

Ségou, Mali

Ségou is our newest Sister City relationship. The partnership began in July 2009 and was finalized when a visiting delegation of dignitaries came to Richmond in October of that year.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before — this sister city is a history-rich, mid-size capital located on a river. Ségou is on the Niger River.

Ségou is known for its active waterfront as well as its prominence in the arts, specifically handcrafts. The city is the epicenter of Malian pottery. It is also home to the Institute Kôrè of Arts and Metiers, a resource center for promoting arts, culture, and entrepreneurship in the region.

Want to get involved with RSCC? The commission hosts programs available for young artists, community engagement, and trade missions. You can also join the email list to receive updates and information about upcoming events.

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