Strasbourg-Kehl: a special relationship
Cross-border workers, consumers, residents, students and apprentices, but also simple tourists: numerous flows of people connect the cities of Strasbourg and Kehl. Despite significantly different demographic and economic profiles (Strasbourg has 272,000 inhabitants and Kehl 35,000, including close to 2,200 French residents), both cities have been fostering ambitious cross-border cooperation for many years now, to address the needs of people experiencing Europe on a daily basis.
Now linked by four crossing points (the Europe road bridge, the railway bridge, the Deux Rives pedestrian and bike bridge and the Beatus Rhenaus tram bridge), Strasbourg and Kehl are building a common future in which the border fades away through such emblematic projects as:
- The Jardin des Deux Rives, a cross-border urban park opened in 2004 centered on the pedestrian and bike bridge.
- A calendar rich in major and very popular events (the Deux Rives Symphony).
- A Franco-German early-years center for children from both countries was opened in April 2014, in the heart of the Deux-Rives area.
- The tram link was opened in April 2017 to connect Kehl station, and the town hall since December 2018, to Strasbourg.
There are very close relations between associations and between the civil societies in both cities, but working groups have also been set up with local authority representatives to discuss all subjects of mutual interest or having an impact on the other side of the border, such as the environment, security or cultural cooperation. The Deux Rives approach which changes the urban landscape between the two cities, intensifies this cooperation and foreshadows a new cross-border city center.
At the political level, cooperation is facilitated by the annual meeting of the municipal councils and the Strasbourg-Kehl commission which are places to discuss subjects and problems of mutual interest and to find solutions. The wealth of the relations between Strasbourg and Kehl have in fact made this a pilot site on a European level for the construction of a cross-border town. This approach also benefits from special attention from the Cross-border Operational Mission which is a support organization for cross-border projects and which promotes their adoption in public policy.