European institutions and international organisations

Set as bookmark

European institutions and international organisations

The symbol of Franco German reconciliation, Strasbourg was chosen in 1949 as the host city of the Council of Europe and is now the seat of several European institutions and organisations.

The large number of European institutions makes Strasbourg a key city for Europe

Strasbourg is the seat of many European institutions, including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. It is also the city with the second largest diplomatic presence in France, after Paris.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament is the Parliamentary body of the European Union and has been elected by its citizens through direct universal suffrage every five years since 1979. With the Council of Ministers, it constitutes the legislative branch of the European institutions.

The Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 both confirmed Strasbourg as the official seat of the European Parliament.

The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 and is an intergovernmental political organisation with 47 Member States. It seeks to defend human rights and pluralist democracy, to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity and to find common solutions to the challenges facing European society.

The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in 1959 and is based in Strasbourg, in the Human Rights Building. The Court is the judicial organ of the Council of Europe (and not of the European Union). Its mission is to ensure respect of the "Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms", commonly referred to as the European Convention on Human Rights.

Strasbourg is also the host city of:

  • The European Ombudsman, who investigates complaints about maladministration in EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.
  • The secretariat of the Assembly of European Regions
  • The headquarters of the Eurocorps

Strasbourg shares with New York and Geneva the privilege of being the seat of international organisations, without itself being a national capital. As the city with the second largest diplomatic presence in France, it is home to some 75 diplomatic representations and consulates.

The city's special status has been recognised since 1980 by the French State, Région Alsace and the General Council of the Bas-Rhin through a three-year contract for "Strasbourg, European capital", which sets out to maintain and reinforce Strasbourg's position as a European capital.

A city with an international reputation for scientific and cultural excellence

Major International organisations for scientific cooperation have established their seat in Strasbourg, including:

  • The European Science Foundation
  • The International Space University (ISU)
  • The European Pharmacopoeia
  • The Human Frontier Science Program.

These organisations boost the international audience built up by the University of Strasbourg and the research activities of major public laboratories, which include the Institute of Supramolecular Science and Engineering (ISIS), the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics (IGBMC) and the privately-run Roche, Synthélabo Biomoléculaire, Transgène and General Motors laboratories.

The University of Strasbourg in figures:

22 % of the 52,000 students come from outside France and include over 100 nationalities.

The university also has 4 Nobel Prizes, which is quite exceptional:

  • Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1987
  • Jules Hoffmann, 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine
  • Martin Karplus, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2013
  • Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2016

Strasbourg is also renowned for its cultural excellence, which has gained the city an international reputation.

Several international audiovisual companies and organisations are based in the city:

  • ARTE, the Franco-German television channel
  • The European Audiovisual Observatory
  • The Council of Europe EURIMAGES Programme.

Where can you find information on Europe in Strasbourg?

Apart from the European institutions themselves, there are a number of associations in the city which provide information on Europe and cross-border cooperation.

Centre for Information on European institutions (CIIE)

The CIIE is located located on the first floor of the Lieu d’Europe:

8 rue Boecklin
67000 Strasbourg
Tram E - Robertsau Boecklin station

The Centre for Information on European institutions (Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes – CIIE) is an association created in 1995 by the Strasbourg Urban Community, the General Council of the Bas-Rhin and the Regional Council of Alsace with the backing of the European Commission and the French Foreign Ministry. The Centre seeks to promote a better understanding of Europe and its institutions. The centre is open to the general public, carries out research, gives presentations in schools and organises conferences. It has an extensive network of volunteers who visit schools to teach our future European citizens about the European Union's organisations. The CIIE is part of the "Europe Direct" network which has over 500 information centres throughout the European Union.

Lieu d’Europe

8 rue Boecklin
67000 Strasbourg
Tram E - Robertsau Boecklin station

Located at the heart of the European quarter of Strasbourg, Lieu d’Europe is a place of education in European citizenship. Amoung a variety of missions, it aims at informing the public on European institutions and the history of Europe, stimulating exchanges of ideas and share values of democracy, peace and human rights.

Lieu d’Europe regularly organises activities on European topics such as debates, meetings with personalities, film-shows, cultural events, etc.

European Consumer Centre

Bahnhofsplatz 3
77694 KEHL Germany

The European Consumer Centre was created in 1993, and is staffed by trilingual legal experts, who provide information on community and national law and mediation procedures in Europe, and help bring cross-border disputes to an amicable settlement.


INFOBEST Kehl/Strasbourg
Rehfusplatz 11
77694 KEHL Germany

Infobest is an organisation set up to provide information for private citizens, administrations, elected officials, businesses and associations on all routine aspects of cross-border life in France, Germany and Switzerland, especially as regards residential and professional mobility, as well as living and working conditions in the three countries.