New Bedford’s Sister Cities


What is a Sister City?

A sister city relationship fosters cultural and commercial connections between two cities from different regions, aiming to build global friendship and understanding and draw different cultures together through what they have in common.

Barrow (Utqiagvik), Alaska

Barrow, which restored its original Inupiaq name, Utqiagvik in 2016, is connected to New Bedford through the whaling industry, the first American whalers venturing there in 1854. It is the Northern most community in the United States and is largely inhabited by Alaska’s Iñupiat.

Cuxhaven, Germany

Cuxhaven has a marine terminal facility for cargo and offshore wind components similar to those being developed in New Bedford. They are known for their fisherman’s wharf and delicious seafood.

Derry, N. Ireland

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 2011, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick brought the mayor of Derry, Northern Ireland to New Bedford. Derry is famous for its intact city walls around the city.

Figueira da Foz, Portugal

The mayor of Figueira da Foz visited New Bedford in June 2018 to commemorate the fishermen lost at sea, many coming from Figueira da Foz.

Funchal, Madeira

Funchal is the capital of Madeira. The connection between Madeira and New Bedford started in the 1870s when Madeirans started immigrating to New Bedford in search of opportunities in new emerging industries.

Grimsby, England

In May 2017 New Bedford established official links with Grimsby, a key UK offshore wind energy port and the UK’s largest commercial fish processing center as New Bedford looks forward to its own bright future in offshore wind while continuing its nearly two-decade long dominance in commercial fishing as the top U.S. fishing port.

Horta, Azores

In the 19th century, Horta became an important port of call for the American whaling fleet. Whalers would offload whale oil, resupply their vessels, and pick up new crew members. This marked the beginning of the first wave of Azorean emigration to the U.S. , mostly to the East Coast and, in particular, to New Bedford. Another wave of Azorean emigration took place in 1957 when the Capelinhos volcano erupted on the island of Faial. Horta is the main port of the Azorean island Faial and a transatlantic meeting place for sailors.

Ílhavo, Portugal

Becoming sister cities in 2005, Ílhavo and New Bedford’s relationship links back to the end of the nineteenth century. The cities share both a maritime and cultural history.

Mindelo, Cape Verde

Mindelo is Cape Verde’s major port. It is also where the Ernestina left from when gifted to the United States in 1978. Cape Verdeans began arriving in New Bedford in the 1850s and also made up a significant amount of the whaling crews. Mindelo even has a New Bedford museum!

Tosashimizu, Japan

Tosashimizu became a sister city to New Bedford in 1987, having one of the longest standing friendships between the United States and Japan. Manjiro Nakahama was a fisherman born in Tosashimizu and in 1841 was rescued from a shipwreck by a whaling ship sailing out of the port of New Bedford. Manjiro choosing to move to America to study, made him the first Japanese citizen to live in the United States.

Youghal, Ireland

Youghal was chosen to portray 1860s New Bedford in the 1956 film Moby Dick. In 2011 the mayor of Youghal visited to give a lecture on the making of the movie and the positive effect that it had on their community. Youghal also has an annual Moby Dick Festival.