Strasbourg-Ortenau EurodistrictCountries: Germany , France
Regions concerned: Bas-Rhin Department, Grand Est Region (France); Land of Baden-Württemberg (Germany)
Local authorities concerned: Urban Community of Strasbourg, Ortenaukreis, Towns of Achern, Lahr, Oberkirch and Offenburg
At this point of contact between France and Germany, the neighbouring towns of Strasbourg and Kehl have been partners in cross-border cooperation for some ten years. In October 2005 the two towns established the Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau, a body for cooperation that was subsequently transformed into a European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) in February 2010. The structure has allowed the realisation of numerous joint projects between the Urban Community of Strasbourg (CUS) and the Ortenaukreis.
Equally innovative in cultural and social fields, the projects led by the Eurodistrict involve many themes, with a particular emphasis on the involvement of civil society in cross-border governance.
Population and area of the Eurodistrict: 921 000 inhabitants in a territory spanning 2393 square kilometres, comprising 112 communes
Examples of projects
- One of the flagship projects is the Ecocité project “Strasbourg-Kehl – Métropole des deux rives” (“the two riverbank Metropolis”), which aims to establish the foundations of a sustainable, attractive and inclusive cross-border metropolis. Consistent with this project, the public transport master plan includes the extension of the Strasbourg tramway to Kehl to ease mobility on both banks of the Rhine. This cross-border line is scheduled to open in early 2016.
- The redevelopment of the former customs areas, vacant spaces at the moment, which have high urban development potential. A cross-border urban development competition was held covering “La Cour des Douanes” on the French side and the “Zollhofareal” on the German side, judged by a French-German jury.
- The Cross-border nursery project meets the needs of the two cities for additional places in collective facilities for children from two and a half months to three years of age. An innovative structure in terms of both its architectural design and its teaching project, which will combine French and German approaches to early childhood, this facility will enable the two towns to face up together to the social issues of the territory, and to take action in close proximity to the local populations on both sides of the border.
- A cross-border tram between Strasbourg and Kehl : Since the 29 April 2017 the Line D of the Strasbourg tram network was extended by 2,6 km to reach Kehl railway station, serving the new neighbourhood of Deux Rives on its way. The initiative required the construction of a new bridge and many technical meetings to decide on the arrangements regarding the management of pricing, rolling stock and operating costs, and connections to existing public transport networks. One of the essential conditions for the success of the project was also the sharing of its overall cost of nearly €100 million, allocated proportionally to the length of the route in France and Germany. On the eve of the launch of the tram, there was an inaugural crossing bringing together officials from both countries, during which the name of the new bridge was unveiled – Beatus Rhenanus – as a tribute to a Franco-German humanist (1485-1547).