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Five destinations Aberdeen can connect to via its own ‘portal’

Earlier this month, the Irish capital Dublin was connected to New York City via an interactive installation called ‘the Portal’.

The cities, created by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys – who founded Portals.org – were the second cities to be connected via the Portal, with the first connecting Lublin in Poland with the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in May 2021.

In less than a week, tens of thousands of visitors visited the Irish attraction, generating almost two billion impressions online.

However, Dublin City Council said the 24-hour live streams were interrupted by acts of “inappropriate behavior by a small minority of people”.

And on May 13 – five days after they were installed – they were temporarily disabled.

Dublin portal.
The Dublin Portal was launched on May 8. Image: Portals.org.

Yesterday the installation “woke up”, with the hours for the “coming weeks” being reduced from 24 to 10 per day.

The service will now operate between 11am and 9pm in Dublin and from 6am to 4pm in the Big Apple.

To ensure no issues arise on either side of the Atlantic, Portals.org has implemented a “proximity-based solution,” which makes the live stream blurrier if individuals step on the portal and obstruct the camera.

New York will continue to have on-site security during operating hours – which it has done since installation – and fencing has also been installed.

Aberdeen giant letters.
Could Aberdeen soon beam down to cities around the world? Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

With the unique concept in mind, which cities in Aberdeen could the portal connect to? And could this be a tactic to get people back to the city center?

Here’s a list of five potential spots.

Houston

The Houston skyline.
The Grampian region has been twinned with Houston since 1979. Image: Shutterstock.

What better place for Aberdeen to be virtually connected to than Houston, Texas? Both are oil (or energy) capitals, with the Granite City claiming the title for Europe and Houston declaring itself the ‘Energy Capital of the World’.

The Texan city has also been a sister city to the Grampian region (Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray) since 1979 and many Aberdonians call the city home. For many people from the Granite City, they are more accustomed to Katy and Sugarland than Kincorth and Stoneywood.

Many people from the American city also call Aberdeen home and the Grampian-Houston Association keeps the connection going.

Perth

Perth, Australia.
Perth, Australia is a popular destination for Scottish expats. Image: Visit Perth.

Not the Scottish city 130 kilometers south of Aberdeen, but the city in Western Australia, more than 14,000 kilometers away. It is home to many Scottish expats and a portal linking the two keeps families and friends connected.

Like Houston – a sister city to Perth – it is also an energy city, described as the “resources and energy capital of the Indo-Pacific”. Many Scots emigrate because of their work in the oil and gas sector and because of the warm climate.

Located on opposite hemispheres, Aberdonians will watch with envy as Perth has its winter season from December to February. However, our July is their mid-winter.

Gothenburg

A banner commemorating the Greats of Gothenburg is unveiled in Pittodrie's Red Barn.
Aberdeen FC’s 1983 ‘Gothenburg Greats’ have ensured that the Granite City has a close bond with the Swedish city. Image: SNS.

Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, is where Aberdeen FC’s most famous moment took place on May 11, 1983, when the team from the North East took on and defeated the Spanish giants 2-1 at the Ullevi to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup to win.

Goals from Eric Black and John Hewitt brought the trophy home for the Dons in what was Real Madrid’s last defeat in a European final. And with new Aberdeen boss Jimmy Thelin hailing from the Scandinavian country, a Portal link could be the perfect fit.

If this becomes reality, Swedish children may swap their Barcelona, ​​Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid jerseys for the red of Aberdeen.

Stavanger

Aberdeen Castlegate Christmas Tree.
Stavanger gifts Aberdeen with a Christmas tree every year. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Stavanger in Norway is seen as the Granite City’s main rival due to its distinction as the oil capital of Europe. Like Houston and Perth, many Aberdon residents have crossed the North Sea to move to the city for work.

Of the five cities on this list, Stavanger is the only destination you can fly to directly from Aberdeen, with both Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Wideroe having flights from Dyce.

Since Aberdeen is closer to the Norwegian city than London, this could be the perfect city match. And don’t forget: Stavanger gifts our city with a Norwegian Christmas tree every year.

Aberdeen

Welcome to the Aberdeen Sign in Aberdeen, Washington.
The late Kurt Cobain came from Aberdeen, Washington. Image: Road unraveled

‘Come As You Are’ is what the ‘Welcome to Aberdeen’ signs say as you enter the city.

But you may not have seen these signs before, since we are talking about Aberdeen, Washington, located in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

Best known as the founding home of the world-famous rock band Nirvana, the American city was the birthplace of the band’s lead singer, Kurt Kobain, who died in 1997.

With one of their most famous songs on the welcome sign, having a portal connecting the Granite City to its namesake – one of about 30 worldwide – could bring the ‘Teen Spirit’ back to the Northeast.

Regensburg, Germany.
Aberdeen could join its sister city Regensburg in Germany. Image: BabiradPicture/Shutterstock.

Other twin cities could be options, including Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Clermont-Ferrand (France), Gomel (Belarus) and Regensburg (Germany).

Another potential is the Japanese city of Kobe, with which Aberdeen had a city link in 2022 for its ‘hydrogen work’.

Portal: ‘Feeling of joy and connection’

Regarding Dublin’s Portal, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: “The overwhelming majority of people who have visited the Portal sculptures have experienced the sense of joy and connection that these public works of art invite people to.

“As humans, we create the Portals experience together. I invite local communities to not only enjoy but also care about their portals and the way other community members approach the sculptures.”