Universities, theatres, companies and organisations in both cities had enjoyed cooperative relations prior to the first meeting of the official delegations of Tartu and Tampere in October 1990. The official cooperation agreement between the cities was signed on 22 September 1992. During recent years the creative industry and the development of public services have been the focus of cooperation. Special attention is also being given to the development of startup ecosystem and smart-city projects. The University of Tartu and Tampere University of Technology are good partners.
There is a Tampere-Tartu Society in Tampere, which has been active for over 25 years. An information centre about Tartu and Tampere works under the same roof as the society. Together with Tartu, Tampere also belongs to the Union of Baltic Cities (UBC).
The City of Tartu has acknowledged a number of persons developing and maintaining relations between the two cities by presenting them with decorations of honour of Tartu.
The recipients of the Star of Tartu from Tampere are:
- Lassi Saressalo, who has coordinated cultural cooperation between the two cities. As an expert on Estonian culture and a friend he has contributed to compiling and publishing a number of joint books (Book of Tampere and Miksi Tartto on?'). Tampere house in Tartu was Lassi’s idea.
- Pertti Paltila, who was one of the initiators of friendly and cooperative relations between Tampere and Tartu, culminating in the cooperation agreement of 1992. His support for the development of Estonia and Tartu in difficult times produced a remarkable number of public busses as well as supplies for fire fighters, which were of critical significance during the years in question.
- Liisa Löyttyniemi, who is the chairman of the Tampere-Tartu Society. She initiated and supported communication between the city governments of Tampere and Tartu, which was formalised as a cooperation agreement in 1992. On the initiative of the Tampere-Tartu Society and in collaboration with Tampere City Government and Finnish-Estonian associations, the Estonian Days are held in Tampere every autumn, during which Estonia and Estonians – but first and foremost Tartu, its people and its cultural life – are showcased.
The recipient of the Medal of Tartu from Tampere is:
- Timo P. Nieminen, who is a former mayor of Tampere.