Europe’s capital Strasbourg

Friday, 22 May 2015 - 01:11 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, EU blog post series, European Union, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Palais Universitaire © Jonathan M

Palais Universitaire © Jonathan M

As a European capital at the crossroads of Latin and Germanic world and seventh largest city in France, Strasbourg has a unique architectural heritage. Located on the banks of the Rhine, the city, whose center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, look back on 2000 years of history. Strasbourg combine tradition and modernity, and can be explored by foot, by one of the many excursion boats, by tram or by bike. The food, wines and beers are also among the highlights of the Alsatian capital. Strasbourg is an art metropolis, whose past, carved in stone, is still present for the most parts. Every quarter, every building has made a harmonious witness to a remarkable city history, which celebrated its 2000 year anniversary in 1988.

Institutions Europeennes © Rama

Institutions Europeennes © Rama

New York, Geneva and Strasbourg: the world’s only cities that are home to the headquarters of international institutions, without being the capital of the State, whereby Strasbourg is by far the dreamy representative of the three cities. The choice of Strasbourg as European capital just after the Second World War is not based on chance, but is a symbol of reconciliation between people and for the future of Europe.

Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie - Ji-Elle

Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie – Ji-Elle

Whether European Bridge, European Exhibition, European Beer Festival or European Literature Festival, everything is combined with the magic word and the yellow stars. Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed “Capitale de l’Europe”, the European capital, seat of the European Council and the European Parliament. In the square-bulky “European Palace” the Secretariat, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Ministers of the Europe of the 46 are housed. The European Court of Human Rights is part of this institution. On the other side of the river Ill, which surrounded the entire city, is the new black European parliament building located, part of the European Union with its 25 member countries. Once a month the members of the European Parliament visit Strasbourg with stacks of files and their assistants for a week for their assemblies. The rest of the month work and assemblies take place in Brussels.

Bibliotheque Nationale © Jonathan M

Bibliotheque Nationale © Jonathan M

Because of the seat of many international institutions, the administrative center of the Bas-Rhin and the Alsace region likes to be compared with New York, Brussels and Geneva. After all, there are 79 consulates and permanent missions of other countries in the city. The advocates of Strasbourg, as the seat of the European Parliament, stressed repeatedly that the city is located at the “crossroads of Europe”. The Romans called it then “Strataburgum – the city where the roads intersects”.

Public French-German TV Broadcaster ARTE © Wladyslaw

Public French-German TV Broadcaster ARTE © Wladyslaw

Strasbourg is European, no doubt. But not only because of its political institutions. It is more the people who ensure that the provincial city is quite cosmopolitan. In the melting pot of the 451,000 citizens (and growing) counting community, thousands of Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians and Turks are living. Muslim women with headscarves can be found on the weekly markets where they sell Arabic sweets, herbs and bird cages between Alsatian farmers. The North Africans also operate grocers which are open on Sundays and late evenings. Among the European residents in addition to the Germans, the Portuguese and Spanish are most numerous. And more than 15,000 Jews live here – one of the largest Jewish communities in France. E.g. on saturdays black-clad believers with long braids characterize the street life around the Contades Park or at the Peace Synagogue.

Place du marché aux cochons de lait © Jonathan M

Place du marché aux cochons de lait © Jonathan M

Strasbourg is Alsatian, but above all, unite in a miraculous way elements of German and French culture. This is especially evident in the cuisine. Pork with sauerkraut, onion and flame cake, Baeckeoffe and Cervela salad: this hodgepodge of Baden and French culinary art is offered by cozy wine bars to their guests. The German dishes are refined with French accents in some restaurants. Sauerkraut combined with salmon, the Matelotte – a fish dish – with pasta. On Christmas customers buy kilos of Foie Gras in the specialty shops at Goldschmiedgass.

Palais Rohan © Rama

Palais Rohan © Rama

Two cultures even when it comes to architecture. At the Place Broglie, this French precisely calibrated prominent passage, in the building of today’s Banque de France officer Rouget de Lisle composed a war song for the Rhine Army in 1792. It later became known as the Marseillaise, the French national anthem. Next to it the rotary traffic wind around the once political power center of the Wilhelmine Strasbourg: along the magnificent buildings at the former imperial court, now the Place de la République.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Strasbourg.eu, OT Strasbourg.fr, Wikivoyage
and Wikipedia Strasbourg. Learn more about the use of photos.




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