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Background Information

Strasbourg is the regional capital of Alsace. It is the eleventh largest city in France with a population of around 450,000. Strasbourg is situated on the border with Germany in the Rhine valley (a natural corridor) between the Vosges Mountains (West) and the Black Forest (East) : A central situation in western Europe.

The city of Strasbourg is an old historic city. The origins lie in a roman garrison called "Argentoratum" built around 12 BC. Strasbourg's historic medieval city centre around the Cathedral (achieved in 1439) was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Strasbourg, which was a humanism centre, has a long history of higher-education excellence (50 000 students now). Strasbourg still remained connected to the German-speaking intellectual world and Goethe, Metternich and Montgelas, who studied law in Strasbourg in 18th century.

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 Rhine after Duisburg, Germany.

Strasbourg is also the seat of several European institutions such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) or the European Parliament.

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