The little German town that's been twinned with Derby for almost half a century

We have also discovered three things that Derby has in common with Osnabrück
Osnabrück Square is named after a pretty German city | Image Derby City CouncilOsnabrück Square is named after a pretty German city | Image Derby City Council
Osnabrück Square is named after a pretty German city | Image Derby City Council

You have probably glanced at landmarks when passing through the city countless times, but never batted an eyelid at quaint names.

Osnabrück Square is a busy thoroughfare that people cross either on their way to Derby Bus Station, to QUAD Cinema, or when visiting Derbion shopping centre.

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It is named after the German city of Osnabrück which is a little smaller than its East Midlands’ counterpart, with a population of approximately 164,000 (in comparison to Derby’s 268,000).

A tale of two cities - Derby and Osnabrück

The two cities have been twinned since 1976 which makes 2024 the year they celebrate 48 years of a happy partnership!

Although Osnabrück Square will get even busier in spring 2025 when the long-awaited Market Hall reopens, its current offering of several shops and Artcore café and gallery makes this a bustling quarter.

What is a twin town?

Town twinning was a post-war effort to foster life-long friendships through cross-country links.

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Its ethos was to build common ground, empathy, understanding and boost multiculturalism as two nations swapped tales of identity.

A special emphasis was placed on the involvement of the younger generation, especially students who would be encouraged to take a trip to their twinned city and learn more about different cultures. 

These past few years Derby has played host to visitors from Osnabrück including a 2023 visit to Artcore on Osnabrück Square.

There is even a Derby Ambassador in Osnabrück who champions both beautiful cities on social media. 

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It may not be obvious straight away, but Derby and Germany share some very cool similarities.

Three things Derby and Osnabrück have in common

1 Peace

There is a real celebration of peace in both cities.

Osnabrück is known as the City of Peace, whilst Derby’s Peace Week has been promoting peace and social justice since 2018.

2 Industrial Revolution

Derby is widely considered to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution which saw the creation of the Silk Mill in 1721, thought to be the first factory in the world.

Osnabrück is also an industrial city and is home to several iron foundries and brickworks too.

3 Nod to nature

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It could be said animals play an important part in the names of these two cities. 

Derby’s name which is thought to have Norse origins translates to ‘village of the deer’ whilst Osnabrück is widely considered to be based on the German word ‘ossen’ meaning ox.

For more information about Derby and Osnabrück town twinning visit the council’s website by clicking here.