Strasbourg : Past and Present

Having seen the beautiful old city centre with ancient beamed buildings and a vast cathedral, it was a shock to travel by tram out to the much newer European Quarter where these important institutions are housed.

The European Convention on Human Rights was signed in Rome 70 years ago this year. However, Strasbourg is where the Convention was drafted and houses many of the buildings essential to its function alongside European parliamentary institutions. Lily visited the capital of Europe in 2013 and here she describes her impressions alongside the photos she took...

We first visited Strasbourg in 2013 when there was barely a murmur about the UK removing itself from the European Union. Having grown up with Maxwell Fyfe’s story, it has been difficult for me to understand why people want to take us out of a union that has given us 70 years of peace, prosperity and freedom for all its members. The capital of Europe, Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

Having seen the beautiful old city centre with ancient beamed buildings and a vast cathedral, it was a shock to travel by tram out to the much newer European Quarter where these important institutions are housed. Each of the buildings, though geographically close to one another, have a different character, as reflects their individual role within the European Union, and are a celebration of its rich modern architectural heritage.

Wandering amongst these imposing edifices of metal and glass in the brisk November air, symbols of openness and inclusiveness across borders, it made me wonder why they come across as impenetrable to a curious visitor anticipating a warm welcome. It seemed to me there was a lost opportunity for understanding the part these institutions play in the stability of our post-war peace.

Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg, home of the Council of Europe

When the first Europeans came together in 1949, there was a sense of shared purpose in the need to stop the horrors that happened during WWII repeating themselves. When the ties that bind us are being stretched to breaking point, it is important that we, as the next generation, remember and understand the meaning behind these buildings that house so much of what we value – if we could only see it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: