This exhibition tells a story, or rather stories: the story of Europe of course, the story of Strasbourg as well, closely linked to Europe and the story of the numerous personalities who have worked on building this common destiny.
The exhibition takes you off to discover the major moments in the common history of Strasbourg and Europe, its geography and its outstanding individual and collective commitments.
A historic timeline accompanied by historic pictures relates Strasbourg’s development since its emancipation in the Holy Roman Empire during the Middles Ages, its central role in Rhineland humanism up to the successive wars that defied it. From being the symbol of Franco-German conflict, Strasbourg has become the symbol of reconciliation and European construction.
The exhibition also presents the missions of the different European institutions and the way they operate, it highlights their achievements: Amongst others, abolition of the death penalty, protection of minorities, equality between men and women or even defence of freedom of expression. The values embodied by these institutions, i.e. human rights, peace and democracy are especially honoured and illustrated by concrete decisions.
The exhibition in detail
A former land of conflict, Europe has been ravaged for hundreds of years by wars between its peoples. How has this continent become a symbol of peace and human rights and has continued to be so for more than half a century? These are the questions to be answered by the exhibition at Lieu d'Europe. It shows us the work of great events and great people, having helped to make European nations an economic, social, democratic union.
The exhibition at Lieu d'Europe is mainly intended to present the Europe of Strasbourg. If this city, symbol of confrontation, still keeps the traces of the conflicts of which it was victim, it knew during the last century allying and melting with the European continent in the heart of which it is located, on behalf of humanistic and democratic values.
Separated into three independent segments, the presentation highlights the architecture of Europe of yesterday and today, as well as its place and relationship with Strasbourg.
In the yellow section, you will be able to learn more about the history of Strasbourg and identify the key dates of the European construction.
The blue section refers to the European institutions. Here you will find detailed information on the actions of European institutions such as the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights or the European Parliament.
The orange section of the exhibition illustrates the human dimensions of Europe: the engagements and the struggles of its citizens, as well as the different means of representing its values like peace, equality and the fight against oppression.
The history of Strasbourg, the key dates
- 1525: Strasbourg, cradle of humanism and religious freedom
- 1789: Revolutionary Strasbourg
- 1871: Strasbourg, symbol of freedom oppressed by force
- 1945: Strasbourg released
From war to peace: the European construction
1945: Europe rebuilds itself on its ruins (source: archives of the city of Strasbourg)
1961: construction of the Berlin Wall (source: AFP)
1968: repression of the Prague Spring by Russian tanks (source: AFP)
2012: the European Union receives the Nobel Peace Prize (source: European parliament )
In less than seventy years, the European continent has gone from a world war to an unprecedented peace, crowned by the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in 2012. In the early 1960s, against the background of the Cold War, Europe is divided by the Berlin Wall (1961) and becomes the object of greed of the two great rivals: the USSR and the United States. In the East, revolts are suppressed as it is the case in Prague in 1968, while Western European countries join the Marshall Plan of the United States. Despite this context, which is not conducive to the construction of a lasting peace, the European Union is gradually being established as an economic union (the European Coal and Steel Community) and then as a political one (1979: first elections to the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage). Above all, major advances in human rights are being made, contributing to the establishment of peace on the continent, largely thanks to the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949.
The European construction in Strasbourg
The city of Strasbourg is an integral part of the European construction: first welcoming the assembly of the ECSC, then the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights also establishes its seat in Strasbourg, making it a city with European renown in respect of fundamental freedoms and rights.
Do you know the difference between the European Union and the Council of Europe?
- The European Union is an association of 28 states of the European continent. These states delegate economic and political powers to joint institutions such as the European Parliament. All the member states of the European Union are also part of the Council of Europe.
- The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organization comprising 47 states. The European Court of Human Rights, which applies the European Convention on Human Rights, is its linchpin. All individuals may bring applications to this Court, if they believe that a State party to the Convention has violated their rights.
The European Parliament
The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union. Elected by direct universal suffrage, it shares the legislative power of the European Union with the Council of the EU. The Parliament is made up of 751 deputies who represent 380 million voters from 28 states: it is the largest transnational electorate in the world.
The Council of Europe and its achievements
The Council of Europe's main goals are to defend human rights, to seek solutions to social problems and to promote awareness of European cultural identity and its diversity.
Examples of actions of the Council of Europe:
- Gender Equality: The Council strives to combat stereotypes, prevent and combat violence against women and ensure balanced participation in political decision-making.
- Freedom of expression: to guarantee the role of the media in the democratic process, the media Committee has adapted to a changing media environment (internet, social networks etc ...)
From individual to collective commitments
Thanks to personal commitments, Europe today allows collective actions, committed to human rights, to exist and develop.
For example, the Indignados Movement was born in Spain but quickly spread to the rest of Europe. It pleads for everyone's right to liberty, equality and a dignified life.
The World Forum for Democracy
The World Forum for Democracy takes place in Strasbourg every year and serves as a basis for the work of the Council of Europe.
Cartooning for Peace
Find in the exhibition the drawings of Cartooning for Peace, a UN initiative for tolerance and respect among peoples.
The collage shows traces of the visits of great personalities: Patti Smith, John Paul II, Abd Al Malik or Winston Churchill, they all came to Strasbourg!