A natural candidacy

Strasbourg and books: a great love story!

Une lectrice au bord de l'eau dans le quartier de la Petite France

Historically linked to books, Strasbourg is the first French city to be named UNESCO’s World Book Capital. And it's no coincidence!

Since 2001, the title of “World Book Capital” has been conferred by UNESCO, on a city committed to promoting books and reading in all forms and at all ages of life.


In keeping with UNESCO’s commitment to fight climate change, the rise in social inequality and the decline of democracy, Strasbourg would like to contribute to the reflections and debates of our time, and get as many people as possible thinking about these crucial issues. Through this process, Strasbourg aims to restore books to their rightful place, as vectors of knowledge and tools for increasing self-awareness and awareness of others, and shaping the world.

A long-standing tradition

When he lived in Strasbourg from 1434 to 1444, Gutenberg developed a method of movable type that would bring about the printing revolution. A century later, in 1605, the Relation newspaper, considered to be the first modern medium of information dissemination, came off the presses of Strasbourg printer Johann Carolus. Several important figures involved in books and ideas marked Strasbourg with their presence, including Sébastien Brant, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, Jean Arp and Tomi Ungerer.


Thanks to the city’s rich tangible and intangible heritage, abundant and renowned cultural scene and vibrant artists, creators and professionals of books and culture, Strasbourg was awarded the title of World Book Capital.

A vibrant book trade and creative community

These days in Strasbourg and throughout the Eurometropolis, the book trade draws its vitality from the activities of 40 publishing houses, 25 bookstores and a network of 59 public and heritage libraries, including the National University Library (Bibliothèque Nationale Universitaire), as well as numerous associations.


Strasbourg boasts creative vibrancy, particularly in illustration, with the Haute École des Arts du Rhin and the Tomi Ungerer Museum - International Centre for Illustration.


The city hosts numerous events devoted to books, including the Bibliothèques Idéales and the illustration festival “Rencontres de l’Illustration”, which attracts over 35,000 people every year.


A programme structured around 5 areas of focus

“Reading our World” sums up the strength of Strasbourg’s case, through 5 strategic areas of focus and 25 programmes poised to transform the city’s approach to books and reading:


  • Strasbourg, a city at the crossroads of ideas and debates
  • Strasbourg, a creative and poetic city
  • Strasbourg, a city of refuge
  • Strasbourg, a city of empowerment and ecology
  • Strasbourg, a child-friendly city

Thank you!

Thank you to all the authors who supported Strasbourg candidacy!