Holland Announces Friendship-City Relationship with Nagahama, Japan

Press release date: Thu Dec 26th, 2013

Holland International Friendship Association HIFA announces Friendship-City Relationship with Nagahama, Japan

Contact: Christopher Stevens            
Tel: 616-566-2893      
Email: holland.nagahama@gmail.com

HOLLAND, MICH.-- The Holland International Friendship Association is proud to announce the creation of a Friendship-City relationship between Holland and Nagahama, Japan.

In an exchange of letters, Mayor Kurt Dykstra of Holland and Mayor Yuji Fujii of Nagahama have agreed to support a Friendship-City relationship between their respective cities which will be led by volunteer groups in both cities.

“Both of our cities will benefit from stronger cultural, educational and economic development ties that will come from this relationship.  I cannot think of a better group to lead those efforts than residents from both cities who have been working for years to make this agreement possible,” said Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra.

Friendship efforts will be led by the Holland International Friendship Association (HIFA) and its counterpart in Japan, the Nagahama International Friendship Association.

“There will be opportunities for cultural exchanges, participation in annual goodwill missions, art /music exchange programs, as well as student and teacher exchanges between the cities,” said HIFA Executive Director Christopher Stevens, adding HIFA will also look for opportunities for economic development between the cities.

Nagahama is located in the Shiga Prefecture in Japan, on the northeastern shore of Lake Biwa. Rich in historical and cultural assets, city has a population of about 122,000. Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, supplies drinking water for the 1.4 million inhabitants of Shiga Prefecture, lifestyles of 14 million people, as well as the cultural and industrial development in Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and other areas in the region.

The Holland – Nagahama Friendship-City relationship will also be connected to the Sister-State Program between the State of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture. The Sister-State relationship was established in 1968 and since then thousands of citizens from Michigan and Shiga have participated in cross-cultural exchange activities.

Funding for this program will come from private contributions and fundraising activities to be led by HIFA.

HIFA was established in 2012 to expand the relationship between West Michigan and Japan. Current members of the group include a diverse group of citizens representing academia, local business, retired missionaries to Japan and people interested in learning more about Japan.

HIFA is currently looking for additional members to support the Friendship-City activities. If you are interested in becoming a member of HIFA or possible future participation in exchange programs, please contact Christopher Stevens at (616) 566-2893 or holland.nagahama@gmail.com

For more information about Nagahama visit:

For more information about the Michigan-Shiga Sister-State program visit: