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Five destinations Aberdeen could link to with its very own virtual ‘portal’

The unique concept connecting Dublin and New York City was "reawakened" yesterday after being switched off due to "inappropriate behaviour".

Union Street, Aberdeen and Dublin portal.
Could a virtual "portal" attract people into Aberdeen's city centre? Image: DC Thomson.

Earlier this month, Ireland’s capital Dublin was connected to New York City via an interactive installation called “the portal”.

Created by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys – who founded – the cities were the second to be connected by the portal, with the first linking Lublin in Poland with Lithuania’s capital Vilnius in May 2021.

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

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

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

Dublin portal.
The Dublin portal was launched on May 8. Image:

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

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

To ensure that no problems occur on both sides of the Atlantic, has implemented a “proximity-based solution”, which will see a blurring of the livestream if individuals step on the portal and obstruct the camera.

New York will continue to have onsite security during hours of operation – which it has done since it was installed – and fencing has also been added in front of it.

Aberdeen giant letters.
Could Aberdeen soon be beaming into cities across the world?Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

With the unique concept in mind, what cities in Aberdeen could be connected to by the portal? And could this be a tactic to get people back into the city-centre?

Here is a list of five potential spots.


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

What better place for Aberdeen to be virtually linked to than Houston in Texas? Both are oil (or energy) capitals, with the Granite City proclaiming the title for Europe and Houston self-proclaiming itself as the “Energy Capital of the World”.

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

Many people from the US city have also called Aberdeen home and the Grampian-Houston Association keeps the link going.


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

Not the Scottish city 87 miles to the south of Aberdeen, but the city in Western Australia located over 9,000 miles away. It is home to many Scottish expats and a portal linking the two would keep families and friends connected.

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

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


A banner is unveiled in the Red Shed at Pittodrie to commemorate the Gothenburg Greats.
Aberdeen FC’s “Gothenburg Greats” of 1983 has ensured the Granite City has a close affiliation with the Swedish city. Image: SNS.

Sweden’s second biggest city Gothenburg is where Aberdeen FC’s most famous moment came on May 11, 1983, when the team from the north-east took on and beat the Spanish giants 2-1 at the Ullevi to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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 nation, a portal link could be the perfect match.

If this becomes a reality, maybe Swedish kids will swap their Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid jerseys for the red of Aberdeen.


Aberdeen Castlegate Christmas tree.
Stavanger gives Aberdeen a Christmas tree each year. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

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

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

With Aberdeen located closer to the Norwegian city than London, this could be the perfect city match. And remember, Stavanger gives our city a Norwegian Christmas tree each year.


Welcome to Aberdeen sign in Aberdeen, Washington.
The late Kurt Cobain was from Aberdeen in Washington. Image: Road Unraveled

“Come As You Are” is blazoned on “Welcome to Aberdeen” signs as you enter the city.

But you may never have seen these signs, as we’re talking about Aberdeen in Washington, located in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

Most famous as being the founding place of world famous rock band Nirvana, the American city was the birthplace of the band’s lead singer and vocalist Kurt Kobain, who passed away in 1997.

With one of their most famous songs being on its welcome sign, having a portal connecting the Granite City to its namesake – one of around 30 worldwide – could bring the “Teen Spirit” back to the north-east.

Regensburg, Germany.
Aberdeen could link up with its twin city of 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, which Aberdeen was twinned with for its “hydrogen work”  in 2022.

Portal: ‘Sense of joy and connectedness’

With regards to Dublin’s portal, a spokesman for Dublin City Council said: “The overwhelming majority of people who have visited the portal sculptures have experienced the sense of joy and connectedness that these works of public art invite people to have.

Mr Gylys added: “As humans we are creating the Portals experience together. I invite local communities not only to enjoy but to care about their Portals and how other community members are approaching the sculptures.”