The Full Wiki

Strasbourg: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Strasbourg ( ; Alsatian: Strossburi, ; , ) is the capital and principal city of the Alsacemarker region in north-eastern Francemarker. Located close to the border with Germanymarker, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2006, the city proper had 272,975 inhabitants and its urban community 467,375 inhabitants. With 638,670 inhabitants in 2006, Strasbourg's metropolitan area (only the part of the metropolitan area on French territory) is the ninth largest in France. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau has a population of 884,988 inhabitants.

Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rightsmarker, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps as well as the European Parliamentmarker and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as of road, rail, and river communications. The port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhinemarker after Duisburgmarker, Germanymarker. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Îlemarker ("Grand Island"), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCOmarker in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is fused into the Franco-German culture, and although violently disputed throughout history has been a bridge of unity between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the largest in France, and the co-existence of Catholic and Protestant culture.


The city's Gallicized name is of Germanic origin and means "Town (at the crossing) of roads". The modern Stras- is cognate to the German Straße / Strasse which itself is derived from Latin strata ("street"), while -bourg (French for "village") is cognate to the German -burg ("fortress, town, citadel") and English borough.

Geography and climate

Climate diagram of Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is situated on the Ill Rivermarker, where it flows into the Rhine on the border with Germanymarker, across from the German town Kehlmarker. The city is situated in the Rhine valley, approximately east of the Vosges Mountainsmarker and west of the Black Forestmarker. Winds coming from either direction being often deflected by these natural barriers, the average annual precipitation is low and the perceived summer temperatures can be inordinately high. The defective natural ventilation also makes Strasbourg one of the most atmospherically polluted cities of France, although the progressive disappearance of heavy industry on both banks of the Rhine, as well as effective measures of traffic regulation in and around the city are showing encouraging results.



The first traces of human occupation in the environs of Strasbourg go back 600 000 years. and neolithic, bronze age and iron age artifacts have been uncovered by archeological excavations. But it was permanently settled by proto-Celts around 1300 BCE. Towards the end of the 3rd century BCE it developed into a Celtish township with a market called Argentorate. Drainage works converted the stilthouses to house built on dry land.

From Romans to Renaissance

Strasbourg seen from Spot Satellite


The Romans under Nero Claudius Drusus established a military outpost belonging to the Germania Superior Roman province at current Strasbourg's location, and named it Argentoratum. (Hence the town is commonly called Argentina in medieval Latin.) The name "Argentoratum" was first mentioned in 12 BC and the city celebrated its 2,000th birthday in 1988; however, "Argentorate" as the toponym of the Gaulish settlement had preceded it before being latinized but it is not known by how many years (or centuries). The Roman camp was destroyed by fire and rebuilt six times between the first and the fifth century AD: in 70, 97, 235, 355, in the last quarter of the 4th century and in the early years of the 5th century. It was under Trajan and after the fire of 97 that Argentoratum received its most extended and fortified shape. From the year 90 on, the Legio VIII Augusta was permanently stationed in Argentoratum. The Roman camp of Argentoratum then included a cavalry section and covered an area of approximately 20 hectares. Other Roman legions temporarily stationed in Argentoratum were the Legio XIV Gemina and the Legio XXI Rapax, the latter during the reign of Nero.

While the centre of Argentoratum proper was situated on the Grande Îlemarker (Cardo : current Rue du Dôme, Decumanus : current Rue des Hallebardes) many Roman artifacts have also been found along the current Route des Romains in the suburb of Kœnigshoffen, on the road that lead to it. This was were the largest burial places were situated as well as the densest concentration of civilian dwelling places and commerces next to the camp.Among the most outstanding finds in Kœnigshoffen were (found in 1911–12) the fragments of a grand Mithraeum that had been shattered by early Christians in the fourth century. As it were, from the fourth century, Strasbourg was the seat of the Bishopric of Strasbourg (made an Archbishopric in 1988). Archeological diggings below the current Église Saint-Étienne in 1948 and 1956 have unearthed the apse of a church dating back to the late 4th century or early 5th century, and considered the oldest church in Alsace. It is supposed that this was the first seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Strasbourg.

The Alemanni fought a Battle of Argentoratum against Rome in 357. They were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chonodomarius was taken prisoner. On 2 January 366 the Alemanni crossed the frozen Rhinemarker in large numbers, to invade the Roman Empire. Early in the fifth century the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine, conquered, and then settled what is today Alsace and a large part of Switzerlandmarker.

Imperial city

The town was occupied successively in the 5th century by Alemanni, Huns, and Franks. In the ninth century it was commonly known as Strazburg in the local language, as documented in 842 by the Oaths of Strasbourg. This trilingual text is considered to contain, besides Latin and Old High German (teudisca lingua), also the oldest written variety of Gallo-Romance (lingua romana) clearly distinct from Latin, the ancestor of Old French. The town was also called Stratisburgum or Strateburgus in Latin, Strossburi in Alsatian and Straßburg in Standard German, and then Strasbourg by the French. The Oaths for Strasbourg is considered as marking the birth of the two countries of Francemarker and Germanymarker with the division of the Carolingian Empire.

A major commercial centre, the town came under control of the Holy Roman Empire in 923, through the homage paid by the Duke of Lorraine to German King Henry I. The early history of Strasbourg consists of a long conflict between its bishop and its citizens. The citizens emerged victorious after the Battle of Oberhausbergen in 1262, when King Philip of Swabia granted the city the status of an Imperial Free City.

Around 1200, Gottfried von Straßburg wrote the Middle High German courtly romance Tristan, which is regarded, alongside Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival and the Nibelungenlied, as one of great narrative masterpieces of the German Middle Ages.

A revolution in 1332 resulted in a broad-based city government with participation of the guilds, and Strasbourg declared itself a free republic. The deadly bubonic plague of 1348 was followed on 14 February 1349 by one of the first and worst pogroms in pre-modern history: several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city. Until the end of the 18th century, Jews were forbidden to remain in town after 10 pm. The time to leave the city was signaled by a municipal herald blowing the Grüselhorn (see below, Museums, Musée historique); a high-pitched Cathedral bell still rings today. A special tax, the Pflastergeld (pavement money) was furthermore to be paid for any horse that a Jew would ride or bring into the city while allowed to.

Strasbourg Cathedralmarker which began undergoing construction in the twelfth century, was completed in 1439 (though only the north tower was built) and became the World's Tallest Building, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Gizamarker. A few years later, Johannes Gutenberg created the first European moveable type printing press in Strasbourg.

In July 1518, an incident known as the Dancing Plague of 1518 struck residents of Strasbourg. Around 400 people were afflicted with dancing mania and danced constantly for weeks, most of them eventually dying from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

In the 1520s during the Protestant Reformation, the city, under the political guidance of Jacob Sturm von Sturmeck and the spiritual guidance of Martin Bucer embraced the religious teachings of Martin Luther, whose adherents established a Gymnasium, headed by Johannes Sturm, made into a University in the following century. The city first followed the Tetrapolitan Confession, and then the Augsburg Confession. Protestant iconoclasm caused much destruction to churches and cloisters. Strasbourg was a centre of humanist scholarship and early book-printing in the Holy Roman Empire and its intellectual and political influence contributed much to the establishment of Protestantism as an accepted denomination in the southwest of Germany (John Calvin had spent several years as a political refugee in the city). Together with four other free cities, Strasbourg presented the confessio tetrapolitana as its Protestant book of faith at the Imperial Diet of Augsburg in 1530, where the slightly different Augsburg Confession was also handed over to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

After the reform of the Imperial constitution in the early sixteenth century and the establishment of Imperial Circles, Strasbourg was part of the Upper Rhenish Circle, a corporation of Imperial estates in the southwest of Holy Roman Empire, mainly responsible for maintaining troops, supervising coining, and ensuring public security.

After the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, the first printing offices outside the inventor's hometown Mainzmarker were established around 1460 in the Alsatian capital by pioneers Johannes Mentelin and Heinrich Eggestein. Subsequently, the first modern newspaper was published in Strasbourg in 1605, when Johann Carolus received the permission by the City of Strasbourg to print and distribute a weekly journal written in German by reporters from several central European cities.

From Thirty Years' War to First World War

The Free City of Strasbourg remained neutral during the Thirty Years' War. In September 1681 it was annexed by King Louis XIV of France, whose unprovoked annexation was recognized by the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). The official policy of religious intolerance which drove many Protestants from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1598) by the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) was not applied in Strasbourg and in Alsace. Strasbourg Cathedral, however, was restored from the Lutherans to the Catholics. The German Lutheran university persisted until the French Revolution. Famous students were Goethe and Herder.

During a dinner in Strasbourg organized by Mayor Frédéric de Dietrich on 25 April 1792, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle composed "La Marseillaise". However, Strasbourg's status as a free city was revoked by the French Revolution. Enragés, most notoriously Eulogius Schneider, ruled the city with an increasingly iron hand. During this time, many churches and cloisters were either destroyed or severely damaged. The cathedral lost hundreds of its statues (later replaced by copies in the 19th century) and in April 1794, there was talk of tearing its spire down, on the grounds that it hurt the principle of equality. The tower was saved, however, when in May of the same year citizens of Strasbourg crowned it with a giant tin Phrygian cap. This artifact was later kept in the historical collections of the city until they were all destroyed in 1870.

In 1805, 1806 and 1809, Napoléon Bonaparte and his first wife, Joséphine stayed in Strasbourg. In 1810, his second wife Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma spent her first night on French soil in the palace. Another royal guest was king Charles X of France in 1828. In 1836, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte unsuccessfully tried to lead his first Bonapartist coup in Strasbourg.

With the growth of industry and commerce, the city's population tripled in the 19th century to 150,000. During the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Strasbourg, the city was heavily bombarded by the Prussian army. On 24 August 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts was destroyed by fire, as was the Municipal Library housed in the Gothic former Dominican Church, with its unique collection of medieval manuscripts (most famously the Hortus deliciarum), rare Renaissance books, archeological finds and historical artifacts. In 1871 after the war's end, the city was annexed to the newly-established German Empiremarker as part of the Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringenmarker (via the Treaty of Frankfurt) without a plebiscite. As part of Imperial Germany, Strasbourg was rebuilt and developed on a grand and representative scale (the Neue Stadt, or "new city"). Historian Rodolphe Reuss and Art historian Wilhelm von Bode were in charge of rebuilding the municipal archives, libraries and museums. The University, founded in 1567 and suppressed during the French Revolution as a stronghold of German sentiment, was reopened in 1872 under the name Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität. A belt of massive fortifications was established around the city, most of which still stand today : Fort Roon (now Desaix) and Podbielski (now Ducrot) in Mundolsheimmarker, Fort von Moltke (now Rapp) in Reichstettmarker, Fort Bismarck (now Kléber) in Wolfisheimmarker, Fort Kronprinz (now Foch) in Niederhausbergenmarker, and Fort Grossherzog von Baden (now Frère) in Oberhausbergenmarker. Those forts subsequently served the French army, and were used as POW-camps in 1918 and 1945.

1918 to the present

After World War I and the abdication of the German Emperor, Alsace-Lorrainemarker declared itself an independent Republic, but was occupied by French troops within a few days. On 11 November 1918 , communist insurgents proclaimed a "soviet government" in Strasbourg, following the example of Kurt Eisner in Munichmarker as well as other German towns. The insurgency was brutally repressed on 22 November; a major street of the city now bears the name of that date (Rue du 22 Novembre) In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles reattributed the city to France. In accordance with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" the return of the city to France was carried out without a referendum. The date of the assignment was retroactively established on Armistice Day. It is doubtful whether a referendum among the citizens of Strasbourg would have been in France's favor, because the political parties, that strove for an autonomy of Alsace, or a connection to France had achieved only small numbers of votes in the last Reichstag elections.

In 1920, Strasbourg became the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, previously located in Mannheimmarker, one of the oldest European institutions. It moved into the former Imperial Palacemarker.

Between the German invasion of Polandmarker on 1 September 1939 and the Anglo-French declaration of War against the German Reich on 3 September 1939, the entire city (a total of 120 000 people) was evacuated, like other border towns as well. Until the arrival of the Wehrmacht troops mid-June 1940, the city, was, for ten months, completely empty, with the exception of the garrisoned soldiers. The Jews of Strasbourg had been evacuated to Périgueuxmarker and Limogesmarker, the University had been evacuated to Clermont-Ferrandmarker.After the ceasefire following the Fall of France in June 1940, Alsace was annexed to Germany and a rigorous policy of Germanization was imposed upon it by the Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner. When, in July 1940, the first evacuees were allowed to return, only residents of Alsatian origin were let in. The last Jews were expulsed on 15 July 1940 and the main synagogue that had been a major architectural landmark and one of the largest in Europe since its completion in 1897, was set on fire, then razed.. From 1943 the city was bombarded by Allied aircraft. While the First World War had not notably damaged the city, Anglo-American bombing caused extensive destruction in raids of which at least one was allegedly carried out by mistake. In August 1944, several buildings in the Old Town were damaged by bombs, particularly the Palais Rohanmarker, the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) and the Cathedral. On 23 November 1944, the city was officially liberated by the 2nd French Armored Division under General Leclerc. In 1947, a fire broke out in the Musée des Beaux-Artsmarker and devastated a significant part of the collections. This fire was a direct consequence of the bombing raids of 1944: because of the destructions inflicted on the Palais Rohan, humidity had infiltrated the building, and moisture had to be fought. This was done with welding torches, and a bad handling of these caused the fire.

In the 1950s and 1960s the city was enriched by new residential areas meant to solve both the problem of housing shortage due to war damage, as well as the strong growth of population due to baby boom and immigration from North Africa: Cité Rotterdam in the North-East, Quartier de l'Esplanade in the South-East, Hautepierre in the North-West. Since 1995 and until 2010, in the South of Hautepierre, a new district is being built in the same vein, the Quartier des Poteries.

In 1949, the city was chosen to be the seat of the Council of Europe with its European Court of Human Rightsmarker and European Pharmacopoeia. Since 1952, the European Parliamentmarker has met in Strasbourg, which was formally designated its official 'seat' at the Edinburgh meeting of the European Council of EU heads of state and government in December 1992. (This position was reconfirmed and given treaty status in the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam). However, only the (four-day) plenary sessions of the Parliament are held in Strasbourg each month, with all other business being conducted in Brusselsmarker and Luxembourgmarker. Those sessions take place in the Immeuble Louise Weiss, inaugurated in 1999, which houses the largest parliamentary assembly room in Europe and of any democratic institution in the world. Before that, the EP sessions had to take place in the main Council of Europe building, the Palace of Europemarker, whose unusual inner architecture had become a familiar sight to European TV audiences. In 1992, Strasbourg became the seat of the Franco-German TV channel and movie-production society Arte.

In 2000, an Islamist plot to blow up the cathedral was prevented by German authorities.

On 6 July 2001, during an open-air concert in the Parc de Pourtalès, a single falling Platanus tree killed thirteen people and injured 97. On 27 March 2007, the city was found guilty of neglect over the accident and fined € 150,000.

In 2006, after a long and careful restoration, the inner decoration of the Aubette, made in the 1920s by Hans Arp, Theo van Doesburg, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp and destroyed in the 1930s, was made accessible to the public again. The work of the three artists had been called "the Sistine Chapelmarker of abstract art".

Main sights


The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedralmarker with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-Francemarker district alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral, where the renowned Maison Kammerzellmarker stands out.

Notable medieval streets include Rue Mercière, Rue des Dentelles, Rue du Bain aux Plantes, Rue des Juifs, Rue des Frères, Rue des Tonneliers, Rue du Maroquin, Rue des Charpentiers, Rue des Serruriers, Grand' Rue, Quai des Bateliers, Quai Saint-Nicolas and Quai Saint-Thomas.Notable medieval squares include Place de la Cathédrale, Place du Marché Gayot, Place Saint-Etienne, Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait and Place Benjamin Zix.

Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait.
Maison des tanneurs.

In addition to the cathedral, Strasbourg houses several other medieval churches that have survived the many wars and destructions that have plagued the city: the Romanesque Église Saint-Etienne, partly destroyed in 1944 by Anglo-American bombing raids, the part Romanesque, part Gothic, very large Église Saint-Thomasmarker with its Silbermann organ on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Albert Schweitzer played, the Gothic Eglise Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Protestantmarker with its crypt dating back to the seventh century and its cloister partly from the eleventh century, the Gothic Église Saint-Guillaume with its fine early-Renaissance stained glass and furniture, the Gothic Église Saint-Jean, the part Gothic, part Art Nouveau Église Sainte-Madeleinemarker, etcThe Neo-Gothic church Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Catholique (there is also an adjacent church Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Protestant) serves as a shrine for several 15th-century wood worked and painted altars coming from other, now destroyed churches and installed there for public display.Among the numerous secular medieval buildings, the monumental Ancienne Douane (old custom-house) stands out.

The German Renaissance has bequeathed the city some noteworthy buildings (especially the current Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie, former town hall, on Place Gutenberg), as did the French Baroque and Classicism with several hôtels particuliers (i.e. palaces), among which the Palais Rohanmarker (now housing three museums) is the most spectacular. Other buildings of its kind are the Hôtel du Préfet, the Hôtel des Deux-Ponts and the city-hall Hôtel de Ville etc. The largest baroque building of Strasbourg though is the 1720s main building of the Hôpital civil.As for French Neo-classicism, it is the Opera House on Place Broglie that most prestigiously represents this style.

Strasbourg also offers high-class eclecticist buildings in its very extended German district, being the main memory of Wilhelmian architecture since most of the major cities in Germany proper suffered intensive damage during World War II. Streets, boulevards and avenues are homogeneous, surprisingly high (up to seven stories) and broad examples of German urban lay-out and of this architectural style that summons and mixes up five centuries of European architecture as well as Neo-Egyptian, Neo-Greek and Neo-Babylonian styles. The former imperial palace Palais du Rhinmarker, the most political and thus heavily criticized of all German Strasbourg buildings epitomizes the grand scale and stylistic sturdiness of this period. But the two most handsome and ornate buildings of these times are the École internationale des Pontonniers (the former Höhere Mädchenschule, girls college) with its towers, turrets and multiple round and square angles and the École des Arts décoratifs with its lavishly ornate façade of painted bricks, woodwork and majolica.

Notable streets of the German district include: Avenue de la Forêt Noire, Avenue des Vosges, Avenue d'Alsace, Avenue de la Marseillaise, Avenue de la Liberté, Boulevard de la Victoire, Rue Sellénick, Rue du Général de Castelnau, Rue du Maréchal Foch, and Rue du Maréchal Joffre. Notable squares of the German district include: Place de la République, Place de l'Université, Place Brant, and Place Arnold

Impressive examples of Prussianmarker military architecture of the 1880s can be found along the newly reopened Rue du Rempart, displaying large scale fortifications among which the aptly named Kriegstor (war gate).

As for modern and contemporary architecture, Strasbourg possesses some fine Art Nouveau buildings (the huge Palais des Fêtes, some houses and villas on Avenue de la Robertsau and Rue Sleidan), good examples of post-World War II functional architecture (the Cité Rotterdam, for which Le Corbusier did not succeed in the architectural contest) and, in the very extended Quartier Européen, some spectacular administrative buildings of sometimes utterly large size, among which the European Court of Human Rights buildingmarker by Richard Rogers is arguably the finest. Other noticeable contemporary buildings are the new Music school Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, the Musée d'Art moderne et contemporainmarker and the Hôtel du Département facing it, as well as, in the outskirts, the tramway-station Hoenheimmarker-Nord designed by Zaha Hadid.

The city has many bridges, including the medieval, four-towered Ponts Couverts.

Next to it is a part of the 17th-century Vauban fortifications, the Barrage Vaubanmarker. Other bridges are the ornate 19th-century Pont de la Fonderie (1893, stone) and Pont d'Auvergne (1892, iron), as well as architect Marc Mimram's futuristic Passerelle over the Rhine, opened in 2004.

The largest square at the centre of the city of Strasbourg is the Place Klébermarker. Located in the heart of the city’s commercial area, it was named after general Jean-Baptiste Kléber, born in Strasbourg in 1753 and slaughtered in 1800 in Cairomarker. In the square is a statue of Kléber, under which is a vault containing his remains. On the north side of the square is the Aubette (Orderly Room), built by Jacques François Blondel, architect of the king, in 1765-1772.


The Pavillon Joséphine (rear side) in the Parc de l'Orangerie
The Château de Pourtalès (front side) in the park of the same name

Strasbourg features a number of prominent parks, of which several are of cultural and historical interest: the Parc de l'Orangerie, laid out as a French garden by André le Nôtre and remodeled as an English garden on behalf of Joséphine de Beauharnais, now displaying noteworthy French gardens, a neo-classical castle and a small zoo; the Parc de la Citadelle, built around impressive remains of the 17th-century fortress erected close to the Rhinemarker by Vauban; the Parc de Pourtalès, laid out in English style around a baroque castle (heavily restored in the 19th century) that now houses the Schiller International University, and featuring an open-air museum of international contemporary sculpture.The Jardin botanique de l'Université de Strasbourgmarker (botanical garden) was created under the German administration next to the Observatory of Strasbourgmarker, built in 1881, and still owns some greenhouses of those times. The Parc des Contades, although the oldest park of the city, was completely remodeled after World War II. The futuristic Parc des Poteries is an example of European park-conception in the late 1990s. The Jardin des deux Rives, spread over Strasbourg and Kehlmarker on both sides of the Rhine, is the most recent (2004) and most extended (60 hectare) park of the agglomeration.


For a city of comparatively small size, Strasbourg displays a large quantity and variety of museums:

Art museums

Unlike most other cities, Strasbourg's collections of European art are divided into several museums according not only to type and area, but also to epoch. Old master paintings from the Germanic Rhenishmarker territories and until 1681 are displayed in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, old master paintings from all the rest of Europe (including the Dutch Rhenish territories) and until 1871 as well as old master paintings from the Germanic Rhenish territories between 1681 and 1871 are displayed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Old master graphic arts until 1871 is displayed in the Cabinet des estampes et dessins. Decorative arts until 1681 ("German period") are displayed in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, decorative arts from 1681 to 1871 ("French period") are displayed in the Musée des Arts décoratifs. International art (painting, sculpture, graphic arts) and decorative art since 1871 is displayed in the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain. The latter museum also displays the city's photographic library.

Other museums

  • The Musée archéologique presents a vast display of regional findings from the first ages of man to the sixth century, focussing especially on the Roman and Celtic period.
  • The very large Musée alsacienmarker is dedicated to every aspects of traditional Alsatian daily life.
  • The Musée zoologiquemarker is one of the oldest in France and is especially famous for its gigantic collection of birds.
  • Le Vaisseaumarker ("The vessel") is a science and technology centre, especially designed for children.
  • The Musée historiquemarker (historical museum) is dedicated to the tumultuous history of the city and displays many artifacts of the times. It previously displayed the Grüselhorn, the medieval horn that was blown every evening at 10 to order the Jews out of the city, but this item was accidentally dropped and shattered into many small fragments and thus is no longer displayed.
  • The Musée de la Navigation sur le Rhin, also going by the name of Naviscope, located in an old ship, is dedicated to the history of commercial navigation on the Rhinemarker.
  • The Musée de Sismologie et Magnétisme terrestre,
  • the Musée Pasteur,
  • the Musée de minéralogiemarker and
  • The Musée d'Égyptologie are all three part of the University and only open to public some hours a week.


Growth of the city's population

The metropolitan area of Strasbourg includes 638,670 inhabitants (2006), while the Eurodistrict has a population of 884,988 inhabitants.

1684 1789 1851 1871 1910 1921 1936 1946 1954 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006
22 000 49 943 75 565 85 654 178 891 166 767 193 119 175 515 200 921 228 971 249 396 253 384 248 712 252 338 263 941 272 975


Strasbourg is the seat of some internationally reputed institutions in the musical and dramatic domain: Other theatres are the Théâtre jeune public, the TAPS Scala, the Kafteur...



Universities and schools

Strasbourg, which was a humanism centre, has a long history of higher-education excellence, merging French and German intellectual traditions. Although Strasbourg had been annexed by the Kingdom of France in 1683, it still remained connected to the German-speaking intellectual world throughout the 18th century and the university attracted numerous students from the Holy Roman Empire, including Goethe, Metternich and Montgelas, who studied law in Strasbourg, among the most prominent. Nowadays, Strasbourg is known to offer among the best university courses in France, after Paris.

Until January 2009 there were three universities in Strasbourg, with an approximate total of 48,500 students as of 2007 (another 4,500 students are being taught at one of the diverse post-graduate schools):

Since 1 January 2009, those three universities have merged and constitute now the Université de Strasbourg.

The prestigious Institut d'études politiques de Strasbourg (Sciences Po Strasbourg) is part of the University of Strasbourg.

The campus of the École nationale d'administrationmarker (ENA) is located in Strasbourg (the former one being in Parismarker). The location of the "new" ENA - which trains most of the nation's high-ranking civil servants - was meant to give a European vocation to the school.

The École supérieure des Arts décoratifs (ESAD) is an art school of Europe-wide reputation.

The permanent campus of the International Space Universitymarker (ISU) is located in the south of Strasbourg (Illkirch-Graffenstadenmarker)

Other important schools include the INSA (Institut national des sciences appliquées), the ECPM (École européenne de chimie, polymères et matériaux), the INET (Institut national des études territoriales), the ENGEES (École nationale du génie de l'eau et de l'environnement de Strasbourg), and the CUEJ (Centre universitaire d'enseignement du journalisme).


The Bibliothèque nationale et universitairemarker (BNU) is, with its collection of more than 3,000,000 titles, the second largest library in France after the Bibliothèque nationale de Francemarker. It was founded by the German administration after the complete destruction of the previous municipal library in 1871 and holds the unique status of being simultaneously a student's and a national library.

The municipal library Bibliothèque municipale de Strasbourg (BMS) administrates a network of ten medium-sized librairies in different areas of the town. A six stories high "Grande bibliothèque", the Médiathèque André Malraux, was inaugurated on 19 September 2008 and is considered the largest in Eastern France.


As one of the earliest centers of book-printing in Europe (see above: History), Strasbourg for a long time held a large number of incunabula in her library as one of her most precious heritages. After the total destruction of this institution in 1870, however, a new collection had to be reassembled from scratch. Today, Strasbourg's different public and institutional libraries again display a sizeable total number of incunabula, distributed as follows: Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire, 2 000  Médiathèque de la ville et de la communauté urbaine de Strasbourg, 349  Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire, 237  Médiathèque protestante, 66  and Bibliothèque alsatique du Crédit Mutuel, 5. 


A street-level tram in Strasbourg
Strasbourg has its own airportmarker, serving major domestic destinations as well as international destinations in Europe and northern Africa.

Train services operate from Gare de Strasbourgmarker eastward to Offenburgmarker and Karlsruhemarker in Germanymarker, westward to Metzmarker and Parismarker, and southward to Baselmarker. Since 10 June 2007, Strasbourg has benefited from the opening of the first phase of TGV Est (Parismarker–Strasbourg). The TGV Rhin-Rhône (Strasbourg-Lyonmarker) is currently under construction and due to open in 2012.

City transportation in Strasbourg is served by a modern-looking tram systemmarker that has been operated since 1994 by the regional transit company Compagnie des transports strasbourgeois. A former tram system, partly following different routes, had been operating since 1878 but was ultimately dismantled in 1960.

Being a city next to the Rhinemarker and along some of its most important canals (Marne-Rhine Canalmarker, Grand Canal d'Alsace), while crossed by the Illmarker, Strasbourg has always been an important centre of fluvial navigation, as is attested by archeological findings as well as the important activity of the Port autonome de Strasbourg. Water tourism inside the city proper attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists yearly.

European role


Strasbourg is the seat of over twenty international institutions, most famously of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliamentmarker, of which it is the official seatmarker. Strasbourg is considered the legislative and democratic capital of the European Union, while Brusselsmarker is considered the executive and administrative capital and Luxembourgmarker the judiciary and financial capital.

Strasbourg is:


France and Germany have created a Eurodistrict straddling the Rhine, combining the Greater Strasbourg and the Ortenaumarker district of Baden-Württembergmarker, with some common administration. The combined population of this district is 884,988 according to the latest official national statistics.


Internationally-renowned teams from Strasbourg are the "Racing Club de Strasbourg" (football), the "SIG" (basketball) and the "Étoile Noire" (ice hockey). The women's tennis tournament "Internationaux de Strasbourgmarker" is one of the most important French tournaments of its kind outside Roland-Garrosmarker.

Notable people

In chronological order, notable people born in Strasbourg include: Johannes Tauler, Sebastian Brant, Jean Baptiste Kléber, Louis Ramond de Carbonnières, Marie Tussaudmarker, Ludwig I of Bavaria, Charles Frédéric Gerhardt, Gustave Doré, Émile Waldteufel, Jean/Hans Arp, Charles Münch, Hans Bethe, Marcel Marceau, Tomi Ungerer, Arsène Wenger and Petit.

In chronological order, notable residents of Strasbourg include: Johannes Gutenberg, Hans Baldung, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, Joachim Meyer, Johann Carolus, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, Georg Büchner, Louis Pasteur, Ferdinand Braun, Albrecht Kossel, Georg Simmel, Albert Schweitzer, Otto Klemperer, Marc Bloch, Alberto Fujimori, Paul Ricoeur and Jean-Marie Lehn.

International relations

Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Strasbourg is twinned with:

Strasbourg in popular culture

  • One of the longest chapters of Laurence Sterne's novel Tristram Shandy ("Slawkenbergius's tale") takes place in Strasbourg.
  • An episode of Matthew Gregory Lewis's novel The Monk takes place in the forests then surrounding Strasbourg.
  • British art-punk band The Rakes had a minor hit in 2005 with, their song "Strasbourg". This song features witty lyrics with themes of espionage and vodka and includes a cleverly-placed count of 'eins, zwei, drei, vier!!', even though Strasbourg's spoken language is French.
  • On their 1974 album Hamburger Concerto, Dutch progressive band Focus included a track called "La Cathédrale de Strasbourg", which included chimes from a cathedral-like bell.
  • The 2008 film In the city of Sylvia is set in Strasbourg.



  • Connaître Strasbourg by Roland Recht, Georges Foessel and Jean-Pierre Klein, 1988, ISBN 2-7032-0185-0
  • Histoire de Strasbourg des origines à nos jours, four volumes (ca. 2000 pages) by a collective of historians under the guidance of Georges Livet and Francis Rapp, 1982, ISBN 2-7165-0041-X

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address