The Twinning or Sister city concept developed in Europe following the Second World War. It was seen as a way of removing old enmities which had developed in the war years and it is now grown to such an extent that it covers not just the European mainland, where it began, but also the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Asia, Africa and beyond. Cork is currently twinned with six cities.

The objective of twinning is to help develop links in: cultural, educational, social, tourist, technical, scientific and economic areas. It is hoped that the development of such links would have benefits for all communities involved.