What do Bill Clinton and Pope Francis have in common? They are both laureates of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen – an award named after Charlemagne which is presented annually to honour work done in the service of Western European unification and unity. Since 1949, each year in May, the award ceremony attracts kings and heads of state, prominent intellectuals and celebrated scientists to Aachen.
And interesting young people also drop in, because in addition to the Charlemagne Prize there is also a prestigious award for people aged between 16 and 30 from all the member states of the EU to honour their involvement in projects that contribute towards a peaceful and constructive future in Europe: the "Charlemagne Youth Prize".
For Aachen, Europe is more than symbolism and high politics. Living, working, studying and shopping in three countries – that's everyday routine here. This way of life is founded on well-organised cooperation within the Meuse-Rhine Euregio in terms of environmental and climate protection, sports, culture, education, science and business. Three countries, three languages, five regional cultures – in Aachen, Europe is really at home.
Photos: Stadt Aachen, Andreas Herrmann