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At a glance: France

Grand Strasbourg Christmas tree celebrates the season for all the world’s children

© Laemmel/2007
Images by UNICEF photographers are posted on giant lanterns on the Strasbourg Christmas tree, with each one showing a different moment in the life of a child.

STRASBOURG, France, 24 December 2007 – For the 14th consecutive year, the City of Strasbourg has set up a huge Christmas tree in the heart of the town, towering over the roofs of Place Kleber. It is 30 metres tall, weighs 11 tonnes and is believed to be the largest Christmas tree in Europe.

A different theme for decorating the tree in Strasbourg is chosen each year. This year, it is a celebration of the world’s children.

UNICEF photographers, along with some amateurs, have brightened up the tree with more than 200 pictures from all over the world. The images are posted on giant, slowly revolving lanterns, each showing a different moment in the life of a child.

Grouped under headings such as ‘water’, ‘games’, ‘school’, ‘portraits’, ‘mother and daughter’, ‘tenderness’, ‘swings’, ‘dolls’, ‘Christmas’ and ‘treasures’, the pictures are scattered over the tree at different levels, along with its many ornaments.

Moments of contemplation
Every year, 2 million visitors admire the Strasbourg Christmas tree, and TV stations broadcast its image during the holiday season in Europe, North and South America, and Japan. At night, 45,000 lights illuminate its silhouette against the sky.

To top off the lights, crystal spheres specially manufactured by Cristalleries de Saint Louis for the Strasbourg tree add a rich blue glow to the portraits and decorations.

Since the Christmas tree went up at the end of November, many passers-by have spent long moments contemplating the UNICEF photographs. “I hope this tree will stand up to the vision of hope it offers us,” said one impressed visitor.



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