About Us

Davenport Sister Cities

Davenport Sister Cities is part of an international network that advances the cause of citizen diplomacy through activities that advance cultural awareness, exposure and exchange.

Our work is reaching important milestones this year with the return of the Christkindlmarkt partnership with the German American Heritage Center, an active youth exchange underway, and the 60th anniversary celebration of our relationship with Kaiserslautern, Germany. Please visit our Programs page for more information on these exciting activities.

Enjoy the slideshow below of some of our recent projects or visit the Gallery page for more programs and projects. Consider the role you would like to play in this important mission and contact us with any questions or to get involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

Founded on August 1, 1994 as a private, not-for-profit organization, the German American Heritage Center (GAHC) seeks to preserve the heritage of our German speaking ancestors for present and future generations and to enrich our knowledge of the German immigrant experience.

Today GAHC, a National Historic Site, has evolved into a museum that includes a large permanent exhibit and two rotating special exhibits. Within the permanent exhibit, visitors enjoy an orientation theater, six education stations, and two restored hotel rooms. Visitors enjoy an interactive experience as you learn about immigrants' journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center.  The museum also provides educational programs, workshops and classes relating to the German American experience and culture; Assists in the coordination of festivals to foster an understanding of German American heritage; provides for cultural exchange through language classes and production of cultural presentations to the public; and partners with other heritage groups on programs, exhibits and events. 

What is a Christkindlmarkt?

A Christkindlmarkt, also known as a Christmas market, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during advent. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe where markets called Nikolausdult were held. At these markets, farmers came to town to shop and offer their wares. The oldest recorded market dates to 1310 in Munich, Germany. These early markets were usually held in front of churches and were looked at as part of a church visit.

The reformation of the church in the 16th century brought changes to the Christmas markets. Nikolaus was replaced by the Christkindl (Christchild) as the gift giver and the Nikolaus markets became Christkindl markets. Now mostly held on a town square throughout Germany and many other cities throughout the world, Christkindl markets sell food, drink and seasonal items from open-air stalls. Entertainment includes traditional singing and dancing.