Bandung is situated on a plateau, some 700 metres above sea level, surrounded by mountains. Hence the name Bandung, which used to indicate "dam". Bandung is now the capital of the province of West Java and, with a population of two million, the cultural centre of the Sund region.
The history of Bandung since 1596 was much influenced by the country's status till 1948 as a colony of the Netherlands. During this time urban development was actively encouraged and Bandung early on enjoyed a European standard of living.
At the beginning of the 20th century Bandung was known as "the Paris of Java", because rich Europeans living there demanded the comforts of modern life and influenced the appearance of the city. This was the origin of the splendid "Braga Street", Indonesia's largest shopping thoroughfare.
Bandung continues to offer its population excellent opportunities for shopping in modern centres and in traditional markets. The first contacts to Bandung were initiated by Professor Georg Eckert, the then director of Brunswick's International School Book Institute, on the occasion of the first German-Indonesian Historians' Conference of the German UNESCO Commission. The cities signed a twinning agreement on 24 May 1960, the first such agreement between a German and a south-east Asian city. Since 1965 young civil servants from Bandung have been coming regularly to Brunswick to familiarize themselves with the way administration functions in Germany.
The first youth exchange took place in 1985. In the same year the Institute of Technology in Bandung and the Technical University in Brunswick set up an official partnership, followed two years later by the cities' art colleges. There have for many years been contacts between the German Centre for Aeronautics and Space Travel in Brunswick and Bandung's aeronautical industry. Nowadays youth- and sports exchanges take pride of place. Every five years official delegations take it in turns to visit each others' twin city. In Brunswick the German-Indonesian Society Lower Saxony e.V. offers events such as slide lectures and concerts.
University and art college exchanges Youth, sports and cultural exchanges