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Poland and Japan – an update from the City Chambers

Posted: 1st January 2018


In addition to another busy year of international meetings held in the City Chambers in Edinburgh, the Council was able to build on its partnerships with both Krakow and Kyoto in recent months.

At the end of September, the Lord Provost was invited to present the Mayor of Krakow with an official ‘City of Krakow’ tartan.

Beginning in the early 1990’s with an award winning EU funded project to support the regeneration of Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter of Krakow, the cities of Edinburgh and Krakow signed a Cooperation Agreement in 1995 encompassing architecture, design, culture and education. Activities have multiplied through the years as a result of strong UNESCO World Heritage and City of Literature connections and the interest of the Polish community in Edinburgh.

In 2017 the Scottish Polish Cultural Association and the Polish Scottish Festival Association staged a competition for the design of a tartan for Krakow City Council. The competition was open to Edinburgh residents, with the winning design selected by residents of Krakow.

Community and cultural associations in both cities worked together to stage a weekend long series of events promoting the links between Edinburgh and Krakow and to mark the official inclusion of the tartan in the Scottish Register of Tartans.

Events included an Edinburgh and Scottish themed family picnic in the green ring surrounding Krakow’s historic city centre, a concert of music, literature and dance in the main square, and a procession of the new tartan around the historic centre.  All events were very well attended and supported by the British Embassy in Warsaw, the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh and former Consuls General to Edinburgh, along with many community organisations and interests.


During the visit, connections were made to the British Polish Chamber of Commerce Krakow office, which now has an MOU with the Edinburgh Chamber. As the cities have enjoyed direct flight routes for many years, and with events and organisations such as the Scottish Polish Business Forum and Polish Business Link, there are many opportunities to explore the cities’ connections to support trade and business.

And then in November, the Depute Lord Provost was invited by the Governor of the Kyoto Prefecture, to attend Kyoto’s Tea Expo.  Edinburgh has had a friendship link with the Kyoto region for 20 years and Kyoto was keen to offer new international business opportunities for speciality tea companies.   ‘Tea Gardens of Scotland’ and ‘e-teaket’, both exhibited, and an associated programme has opened up new opportunities in the arts and culture, and in medical and life sciences.  Kyoto Prefecture invested heavily in Edinburgh during the 1990’s through the creation of the Japanese Garden at Lauriston Castle (insert link).

Companies wishing to learn more about city to city linking opportunities should contact Elaine Ballantyne ( at the City Council

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