Sister City Program

Ilmenau Logo with dancing goatsBlue Ash has developed a sister city relationship with a community in Germany -- Ilmenau (pronounced “ill’ - men - ow”). Blue Ash’s first visit to Ilmenau was in February 2000, and Ilmenau’s first visit to Blue Ash occurred in late May/early June 2000. There have been several delegation visits to and from both communities since that time, with the typical schedule being that each community alternates visits each year. Typical delegations from each community are comprised of representatives from City Council, the City Administration, the universities, and business communities. The first high school (Sycamore) student visit to Ilmenau occurred in February 2001, and the first exchange at the university level, between UC/Raymond Walters College in Blue Ash and Ilmenau Technical University occurred in August 2001. Several high school and university exchange visits have occurred since. 

Ilmenau, Germany is a community 76 square miles in size with a population of 40,000. Ilmenau is located in the German state of Thuringia (in the middle of Germany) and has a 40-member Council representing nine political parties. Ilmenau is viewed very positively by Germans as it is a community rich in culture and history. One of the giants in world literature, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, did much of his writing in Ilmenau.

The Blue Ash Council and Administration believe Ilmenau makes a good sister city match for Blue Ash for many reasons. Ilmenau, like Blue Ash, is a progressive community. Since Germany’s reunification in 1990, with the help of the German national government, Ilmenau has prospered. Old world beauty and charm has been preserved, but modern development is also characteristic of Ilmenau, including a high-tech business park. Ilmenau, like Blue Ash, is a community balanced between residential and business development. The Blue Ash delegation believes Ilmenau could become a major tourist area in Germany since it is a scenic area rich in culture and history. Both communities also offer outstanding educational services, including post high school opportunities. The benefits of a sister city relationship with Ilmenau include economic development and business opportunities, instructor and student exchanges between the Ilmenau Technical University and UC Blue Ash, exchanges between local high schools (including Sycamore High and Ursuline Academy in Blue Ash), development of pen pal (or E-mail) relationships among grade school students, exchange programs among local youth sports teams/leagues, and cultural/tourist visits.

To find out more about Ilmenau, click on 

Read about the 2019 Ilmenau Delegation's visit to Blue Ash here.

Read about the 2017 Blue Ash Delegation to Ilmenau from delegate Dayna O'Brien, Operations Manager for the European American Chamber of Commerce, here.

An interesting article about Blue Ash's Sister City, Ilmenau, Germany, appeared in the April/May 2006 edition of German Life magazine. Click here to see that article (in PDF format).

Read about the 2011 Blue Ash Delegation's visit to its Sister City, Ilmenau, Germany. Click here.

(Page updated: 12/16/2021)