HOME
The Info List - Alsace


--- Advertisement ---



(i)

ALSACE (/ælˈsæs, -ˈseɪs, ˈælsæs, -seɪs/ , French: ( listen ); Alsatian : ’s Elsass ; German: Elsass ( listen ); Latin
Latin
: Alsatia) is a cultural and historical region in eastern France now located in the administrative region of Grand Est . Alsace
Alsace
is located on France's eastern border and on the west bank of the upper Rhine
Rhine
adjacent to Germany
Germany
and Switzerland
Switzerland
.

From 1982 until January 2016, Alsace
Alsace
was also the smallest (but not the least populated) of 22 administrative régions in metropolitan France
France
, consisting of the Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
and Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
departments . Territorial reform passed by the French legislature in 2014 resulted in the merger of the Alsace
Alsace
administrative region with Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine
Lorraine
to form Grand Est .

The predominant historical language of Alsace
Alsace
is Alsatian , a Germanic (mainly Alemannic ) dialect also spoken across the Rhine, but today most Alsatians primarily speak French, the official language of France. The political status of Alsace
Alsace
has been heavily influenced by historical decisions, wars, and strategic politics. The economic and cultural capital as well as largest city of Alsace
Alsace
is Strasbourg
Strasbourg
. The city is the seat of several international organizations and bodies .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Pre-Roman Alsace
Alsace
* 2.2 Roman Alsace
Alsace
* 2.3 Alemannic and Frankish Alsace
Alsace
* 2.4 Alsace
Alsace
within the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
* 2.5 Incorporation into France
France
* 2.6 French Revolution * 2.7 Jews * 2.8 Between France
France
and Germany
Germany
* 2.9 Timeline

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Climate * 3.2 Topography

* 3.3 Geology

* 3.3.1 Flora

* 4 Governance

* 4.1 Administrative divisions * 4.2 Politics

* 5 Society

* 5.1 Demographics

* 5.1.1 Immigration

* 5.2 Religion

* 6 Culture

* 6.1 Symbolism

* 6.1.1 Strasbourg
Strasbourg
* 6.1.2 Flags

* 6.2 Language * 6.3 Architecture

* 6.4 Cuisine
Cuisine

* 6.4.1 Food * 6.4.2 Wines * 6.4.3 Beers

* 6.5 Trivia * 6.6 Use of the term "Alsatia" in English

* 7 Economy

* 7.1 Tourism

* 7.2 Transportation

* 7.2.1 Roads * 7.2.2 Trains * 7.2.3 Waterways * 7.2.4 Air traffic * 7.2.5 Cycling network

* 8 Famous Alsatians

* 8.1 Arts * 8.2 Business * 8.3 Literature * 8.4 Military * 8.5 Nobility * 8.6 Religion * 8.7 Sciences * 8.8 Sports

* 9 Major communities * 10 Sister provinces * 11 See also * 12 Footnotes * 13 Further reading * 14 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The name "Alsace" can be traced to the Old High German
Old High German
Ali-saz or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain". An alternative explanation is from a Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "seated on the Ill ", a river in Alsace.

HISTORY

In prehistoric times, Alsace
Alsace
was inhabited by nomadic hunters.

PRE-ROMAN ALSACE

By 1500 BC, Celts began to settle in Alsace, clearing and cultivating the land. It should be noted that Alsace
Alsace
is a plain surrounded by the Vosges
Vosges
mountains (west) and the Black Forest
Black Forest
mountains (east). It creates Foehn winds which, along with natural irrigation, contributes to the fertility of the soil. In a world of agriculture, Alsace
Alsace
has always been a rich region which explains why it suffered so many invasions and annexations in its history.

ROMAN ALSACE

By 58 BC, the Romans had invaded and established Alsace
Alsace
as a center of viticulture . To protect this highly valued industry, the Romans built fortifications and military camps that evolved into various communities which have been inhabited continuously to the present day. While part of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
, Alsace
Alsace
was part of Germania Superior .

ALEMANNIC AND FRANKISH ALSACE

Main article: Duchy of Alsace

With the decline of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
, Alsace
Alsace
became the territory of the Germanic Alemanni
Alemanni
. The Alemanni
Alemanni
were agricultural people, and their Germanic language formed the basis of modern-day dialects spoken along the Upper Rhine
Rhine
(Alsatian, Alemannian, Swabian, Swiss). Clovis and the Franks
Franks
defeated the Alemanni
Alemanni
during the 5th century AD, culminating with the Battle of Tolbiac
Battle of Tolbiac
, and Alsace
Alsace
became part of the Kingdom of Austrasia . Under Clovis' Merovingian
Merovingian
successors the inhabitants were Christianized. Alsace
Alsace
remained under Frankish control until the Frankish realm , following the Oaths of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
of 842, was formally dissolved in 843 at the Treaty of Verdun ; the grandsons of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
divided the realm into three parts. Alsace
Alsace
formed part of the Middle Francia
Middle Francia
, which was ruled by the eldest grandson Lothar I . Lothar died early in 855 and his realm was divided into three parts. The part known as Lotharingia
Lotharingia
, or Lorraine, was given to Lothar's son. The rest was shared between Lothar's brothers Charles the Bald (ruler of the West Frankish realm) and Louis the German (ruler of the East Frankish realm). The Kingdom of Lotharingia
Lotharingia
was short-lived, however, becoming the stem duchy of Lorraine
Lorraine
in Eastern Francia after the Treaty of Ribemont in 880. Alsace
Alsace
was united with the other Alemanni
Alemanni
east of the Rhine
Rhine
into the stem duchy of Swabia .

ALSACE WITHIN THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

At about this time the surrounding areas experienced recurring fragmentation and reincorporations among a number of feudal secular and ecclesiastical lordships, a common process in the Holy Roman Empire . Alsace
Alsace
experienced great prosperity during the 12th and 13th centuries under Hohenstaufen emperors . Frederick I set up Alsace
Alsace
as a province (a procuratio , not a provincia ) to be ruled by ministeriales , a non-noble class of civil servants. The idea was that such men would be more tractable and less likely to alienate the fief from the crown out of their own greed. The province had a single provincial court ( Landgericht
Landgericht
) and a central administration with its seat at Hagenau . Frederick II designated the Bishop of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
to administer Alsace, but the authority of the bishop was challenged by Count Rudolf of Habsburg
Rudolf of Habsburg
, who received his rights from Frederick II's son Conrad IV . Strasbourg
Strasbourg
began to grow to become the most populous and commercially important town in the region. In 1262, after a long struggle with the ruling bishops, its citizens gained the status of free imperial city . A stop on the Paris- Vienna
Vienna
- Orient
Orient
trade route, as well as a port on the Rhine
Rhine
route linking southern Germany
Germany
and Switzerland
Switzerland
to the Netherlands, England and Scandinavia
Scandinavia
, it became the political and economic center of the region. Cities such as Colmar and Hagenau also began to grow in economic importance and gained a kind of autonomy within the "Decapole" or "Dekapolis", a federation of ten free towns.

As in much of Europe, the prosperity of Alsace
Alsace
came to an end in the 14th century by a series of harsh winters, bad harvests, and the Black Death . These hardships were blamed on Jews, leading to the pogroms of 1336 and 1339. In 1349, Jews of Alsace
Alsace
were accused of poisoning the wells with plague , leading to the massacre of thousands of Jews during the Strasbourg
Strasbourg
pogrom . Jews were subsequently forbidden to settle in the town. An additional natural disaster was the Rhine
Rhine
rift earthquake of 1356, one of Europe's worst which made ruins of Basel
Basel
. Prosperity returned to Alsace
Alsace
under Habsburg
Habsburg
administration during the Renaissance
Renaissance
. Petite France
France
, Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
central power had begun to decline following years of imperial adventures in Italian lands, often ceding hegemony in Western Europe to France, which had long since centralized power. France
France
began an aggressive policy of expanding eastward, first to the rivers Rhône and Meuse
Meuse
, and when those borders were reached, aiming for the Rhine. In 1299, the French proposed a marriage alliance between Philip IV of France
France
's sister Blanche and Albert I of Germany 's son Rudolf , with Alsace
Alsace
to be the dowry; however, the deal never came off. In 1307, the town of Belfort
Belfort
was first chartered by the Counts of Montbéliard . During the next century, France
France
was to be militarily shattered by the Hundred Years\' War , which prevented for a time any further tendencies in this direction. After the conclusion of the war, France
France
was again free to pursue its desire to reach the Rhine
Rhine
and in 1444 a French army appeared in Lorraine
Lorraine
and Alsace. It took up winter quarters, demanded the submission of Metz
Metz
and Strasbourg
Strasbourg
and launched an attack on Basel
Basel
.

In 1469, following the Treaty of St. Omer (fr), Upper Alsace was sold by Archduke Sigismund of Austria
Austria
to Charles the Bold
Charles the Bold
, Duke of Burgundy. Although Charles was the nominal landlord, taxes were paid to Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor . The latter was able to use this tax and a dynastic marriage to his advantage to gain back full control of Upper Alsace (apart from the free towns, but including Belfort) in 1477 when it became part of the demesne of the Habsburg
Habsburg
family, who were also rulers of the empire. The town of Mulhouse
Mulhouse
joined the Swiss Confederation in 1515, where it was to remain until 1798.

By the time of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
in the 16th century, Strasbourg
Strasbourg
was a prosperous community, and its inhabitants accepted Protestantism
Protestantism
in 1523. Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
was a prominent Protestant reformer in the region. His efforts were countered by the Roman Catholic Habsburgs who tried to eradicate heresy in Upper Alsace. As a result, Alsace
Alsace
was transformed into a mosaic of Catholic and Protestant
Protestant
territories. On the other hand, Mömpelgard (Montbéliard) to the southwest of Alsace, belonging to the Counts of Württemberg since 1397, remained a Protestant
Protestant
enclave in France
France
until 1793.

INCORPORATION INTO FRANCE

This situation prevailed until 1639, when most of Alsace
Alsace
was conquered by France
France
to keep it out of the hands of the Spanish Habsburgs , who by secret treaty in 1617 had gained a clear road to their valuable and rebellious possessions in the Spanish Netherlands , the Spanish Road
Spanish Road
. Beset by enemies and seeking to gain a free hand in Hungary , the Habsburgs sold their Sundgau territory (mostly in Upper Alsace) to France
France
in 1646, which had occupied it, for the sum of 1.2 million Thalers . When hostilities were concluded in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia , most of Alsace
Alsace
was recognized as part of France, although some towns remained independent. The treaty stipulations regarding Alsace
Alsace
were complex. Although the French king gained sovereignty, existing rights and customs of the inhabitants were largely preserved. France
France
continued to maintain its customs border along the Vosges
Vosges
mountains where it had been, leaving Alsace more economically oriented to neighbouring German-speaking lands. The German language
German language
remained in use in local administration, in schools, and at the (Lutheran) University of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
, which continued to draw students from other German-speaking lands. The 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau , by which the French king ordered the suppression of French Protestantism
Protestantism
, was not applied in Alsace. France
France
did endeavour to promote Catholicism. Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Cathedral , for example, which had been Lutheran
Lutheran
from 1524 to 1681, was returned to the Catholic Church. However, compared to the rest of France, Alsace
Alsace
enjoyed a climate of religious tolerance.

The warfare that had partially depopulated the region created opportunities for a stream of immigrants from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Lorraine, Savoy
Savoy
and other lands that continued until the mid-18th century. Louis XIV
Louis XIV
receiving the keys of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
in 1681

France
France
consolidated its hold with the 1679 Treaties of Nijmegen
Treaties of Nijmegen
, which brought most remaining towns under its control. France
France
seized Strasbourg
Strasbourg
in 1681 in an unprovoked action. These territorial changes were recognised in the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick
Treaty of Ryswick
that ended the War of the Grand Alliance .

FRENCH REVOLUTION

Alsatian sign, 1792: Freiheit Gleichheit Brüderlichk. od. Tod (Liberty Equality Fraternity or Death) Tod den Tyranen (Death to Tyrants) Heil den Völkern (Long live the Peoples)

The year 1789 brought the French Revolution and with it the first division of Alsace
Alsace
into the départements of Haut- and Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
. Alsatians played an active role in the French Revolution. On 21 July 1789, after receiving news of the Storming of the Bastille
Storming of the Bastille
in Paris, a crowd of people stormed the Strasbourg
Strasbourg
city hall, forcing the city administrators to flee and putting symbolically an end to the feudal system in Alsace. In 1792, Rouget de Lisle composed in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
the Revolutionary marching song " La Marseillaise
La Marseillaise
" (as Marching song for the Army of the Rhine), which later became the anthem of France. "La Marseillaise" was played for the first time in April of that year in front of the mayor of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich . Some of the most famous generals of the French Revolution also came from Alsace, notably Kellermann , the victor of Valmy , Kléber , who led the armies of the French Republic in Vendée and Westermann , who also fought in the Vendée.

At the same time, some Alsatians were in opposition to the Jacobins and sympathetic to the invading forces of Austria
Austria
and Prussia who sought to crush the nascent revolutionary republic . Many of the residents of the Sundgau made "pilgrimages" to places like Mariastein Abbey , near Basel
Basel
, in Switzerland, for baptisms and weddings. When the French Revolutionary Army of the Rhine
Rhine
was victorious, tens of thousands fled east before it. When they were later permitted to return (in some cases not until 1799), it was often to find that their lands and homes had been confiscated. These conditions led to emigration by hundreds of families to newly vacant lands in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
in 1803–4 and again in 1808. A poignant retelling of this event based on what Goethe had personally witnessed can be found in his long poem Hermann and Dorothea .

In response to the "hundred day" restoration of Napoleon
Napoleon
I of France in 1815, Alsace
Alsace
along with other frontier provinces of France
France
was occupied by foreign forces from 1815 to 1818, including over 280,000 soldiers and 90,000 horses in Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
alone. This had grave effects on trade and the economy of the region since former overland trade routes were switched to newly opened Mediterranean and Atlantic seaports.

The population grew rapidly, from 800,000 in 1814 to 914,000 in 1830 and 1,067,000 in 1846. The combination of economic and demographic factors led to hunger, housing shortages and a lack of work for young people. Thus, it is not surprising that people left Alsace, not only for Paris – where the Alsatian community grew in numbers, with famous members such as Baron Haussmann – but also for more distant places like Russia
Russia
and the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
, to take advantage of the new opportunities offered there: Austria
Austria
had conquered lands in Eastern Europe from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and offered generous terms to colonists as a way of consolidating its hold on the new territories. Many Alsatians also began to sail to the United States, settling in many areas from 1820 to 1850. In 1843 and 1844, sailing ships bringing immigrant families from Alsace
Alsace
arrived at the port of New York. Some settled in Illinois, many to farm or to seek success in commercial ventures: for example, the sailing ships Sully (in May 1843) and Iowa (in June 1844) brought families who set up homes in northern Illinois and northern Indiana. Some Alsatian immigrants were noted for their roles in 19th-century American economic development. Others ventured to Canada
Canada
to settle in southwestern Ontario
Ontario
, notably Waterloo County
Waterloo County
.

JEWS

Main article: History of the Jews in Alsace

By 1790, the Jewish
Jewish
population of Alsace
Alsace
was approximately 22,500, about 3% of the provincial population. They were highly segregated and subject to long-standing antisemitic regulations. They maintained their own customs, Yiddish
Yiddish
language, and historic traditions within the tightly-knit ghettos; they adhered to Talmudic law enforced by their rabbis. Jews were barred from most cities and instead lived in villages. They concentrated in trade, services, and especially in money lending. They financed about a third of the mortgages in Alsace. Official tolerance grew during the French Revolution, with full emancipation in 1791. However, local antisemitism also increased and Napoleon
Napoleon
turned hostile in 1806, imposing a one-year moratorium on all debts owed to Jews. In the 1830-1870 era most Jews moved to the cities, where they integrated and acculturated, as antisemitism sharply declined. By 1831, the state began paying salaries to official rabbis, and in 1846 a special legal oath for Jews was discontinued. Antisemitic local riots occasionally occurred, especially during the Revolution of 1848. The merger of Alsace
Alsace
into Germany
Germany
in 1871-1918 lessened antisemitic violence.

BETWEEN FRANCE AND GERMANY

Main article: Alsace-Lorraine

We Germans who know Germany
Germany
and France
France
know better what is good for the Alsatians than the unfortunates themselves. In the perversion of their French life they have no exact idea of what concerns Germany. —  Heinrich von Treitschke , German nationalist
German nationalist
historian and politician, 1871 Traditional costumes of Alsace
Alsace

The Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
, which started in July 1870, saw France defeated in May 1871 by the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
and other German states. The end of the war led to the unification of Germany
Germany
. Otto von Bismarck annexed Alsace
Alsace
and northern Lorraine
Lorraine
to the new German Empire in 1871. France
France
ceded more than 90% of Alsace
Alsace
and one-fourth of Lorraine, as stipulated in the treaty of Frankfurt , de jure, that wasn't an annexation any more. Unlike other members states of the German federation, which had governments of their own, the new Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine was under the sole authority of the Kaiser
Kaiser
, administered directly by the imperial government in Berlin. Between 100,000 and 130,000 Alsatians (of a total population of about a million and a half) chose to remain French citizens and leave Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen, many of them resettling in French Algeria
Algeria
as Pieds-Noirs . Only in 1911 was Alsace-Lorraine granted some measure of autonomy, which was manifested also in a flag and an anthem ( Elsässisches Fahnenlied ). In 1913, however, the Saverne Affair (French: Incident de Saverne) showed the limits of this new tolerance of the Alsatian identity. An Alsatian woman in traditional costume, photographed by Adolphe Braun
Adolphe Braun

During the First World War, to avoid ground fights between brothers, many Alsatians served as sailors in the Kaiserliche Marine and took part in the Naval mutinies that led to the abdication of the Kaiser
Kaiser
in November 1918, which left Alsace-Lorraine without a nominal head of state. The sailors returned home and tried to found an independent republic. While Jacques Peirotes
Jacques Peirotes
, at this time deputy at the Landrat Elsass-Lothringen and just elected mayor of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
, proclaimed the forfeiture of the German Empire
German Empire
and the advent of the French Republic, a self-proclaimed government of Alsace-Lorraine declared its independence as the "Republic of Alsace-Lorraine ". French troops entered Alsace
Alsace
less than two weeks later to quash the worker strikes and remove the newly established Soviets and revolutionaries from power. With the arrival of the French soldiers, many Alsatians and local Prussian/German administrators and bureaucrats cheered the re-establishment of order

Although U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
had insisted that the région was self-ruling by legal status, as its constitution had stated it was bound to the sole authority of the Kaiser
Kaiser
and not to the German state, France
France
would allow no plebiscite, as granted by the League of Nations to some eastern German territories at this time, because the French regarded the Alsatians as Frenchmen liberated from German rule. Germany
Germany
ceded the region to France
France
under the Treaty of Versailles .

Policies forbidding the use of German and requiring French were promptly introduced. In order not to antagonize the Alsatians, the region was not subjected to some legal changes that had occurred in the rest of France
France
between 1871 and 1919, such as the 1905 French law on the separation of Church and State . German stamps of Hindenburg marked with "Elsaß" (1940)

Alsace-Lorraine was occupied by Germany
Germany
in 1940 during the Second World War. Although it was never never formally annexed, Alsace-Lorraine was incorporated into the Greater German Reich , which had been restructured into Reichsgau . Alsace
Alsace
was merged with Baden
Baden
, and Lorraine
Lorraine
with the Saarland
Saarland
, to become part of a planned Westmark . During the war, 130,000 young men from Alsace
Alsace
and Lorraine
Lorraine
were conscripted into the German army, allegedly against their will (malgré-nous ), and in some cases volunteered for the Waffen SS . Some of the latter were involved in war crimes, such as the Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane
massacre. Most perished on the eastern front. The few that could fled to Switzerland
Switzerland
or joined the resistance. In July 1944, 1500 malgré-nous were released from Soviet captivity and sent to Algiers
Algiers
, where they joined the Free French Forces .

Today the territory is in certain areas subject to some laws that are significantly different from the rest of France
France
– this is known as the local law .

In more recent years, the Alsatian language is again being promoted by local, national and European authorities as an element of the region's identity. Alsatian is taught in schools (but not mandatory) as one of the regional languages of France. German is also taught as a foreign language in local kindergartens and schools. However, the Constitution of France
France
still requires that French be the only official language of the Republic.

TIMELINE

YEAR(S) EVENT RULED BY OFFICIAL OR COMMON LANGUAGE

5400–4500 BC Bandkeramiker/Linear Pottery cultures — Unknown

2300–750 BC Bell Beaker cultures — Proto-Celtic spoken

750–450 BC Hallstatt culture early Iron Age
Iron Age
(early Celts) — None; Old Celtic spoken

450–58 BC Celts/Gauls firmly secured in entire Gaul, Alsace; trade with Greece
Greece
is evident (Vix ) Celts/Gauls None; Gaulish variety of Celtic widely spoken

58 / 44 BC– AD 260 Alsace
Alsace
and Gaul
Gaul
conquered by Caesar
Caesar
, provinciated to Germania Superior
Germania Superior
Roman Empire
Roman Empire
Latin
Latin
; Gallic widely spoken

260–274 Postumus founds breakaway Gallic Empire Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
Latin, Gallic

274–286 Rome reconquers the Gallic Empire, Alsace Roman Empire
Roman Empire
Latin, Gallic, Germanic (only in Argentoratum
Argentoratum
)

286–378 Diocletian
Diocletian
divides the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
into Western and Eastern sectors Roman Empire

around 300 Beginning of Germanic migrations to the Roman Empire Roman Empire

378–395 The Visigoths
Visigoths
rebel, precursor to waves of German, and Hun invasions Roman Empire Alamannic Incursions

395–436 Death of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
, causing a permanent division between Western and Eastern Rome Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire

436–486 Germanic invasions of the Western Roman Empire Roman Tributary of Gaul
Gaul
Alamannic

486–511 Lower Alsace conquered by the Franks Frankish Realm Old Frankish , Latin; Alamannic

531–614 Upper Alsace conquered by the Franks Frankish Realm

614–795 Totality of Alsace
Alsace
to the Frankish Kingdom Frankish Realm

795–814 Charlemagne
Charlemagne
begins reign, Charlemagne
Charlemagne
crowned Emperor of the Romans on 25 December 800 Frankish Empire Old Frankish; Frankish and Alamannic

814 Death of Charlemagne Carolingian Empire Old Frankish; Frankish and Alamannic varieties of Old High German
Old High German

847–870 Treaty of Verdun gives Alsace
Alsace
and Lotharingia
Lotharingia
to Lothar I
Lothar I
Middle Francia
Middle Francia
(Carolingian Empire) Frankish; Frankish and Alamannic varieties of Old High German

870–889 Treaty of Mersen gives Alsace
Alsace
to East Francia East Francia (German Kingdom of the Carolingian Empire) Frankish, Frankish and Alamannic varieties of Old High German

889–962 Carolingian Empire breaks up into five Kingdoms, Magyars and Vikings periodically raid Alsace Kingdom of Germany
Germany
Frankish and Alamannic varieties of Old High German

962–1618 Otto I crowned Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
Old High German
Old High German
, Middle High German , Modern High German ; Alamannic and Frankonian German dialects

1618–1674 Louis XIII annexes portions of Alsace
Alsace
during the Thirty Years\' War

Holy Roman Empire German; Alamannic and Frankonian dialects (Alsatian)

1674–1871 Louis XIV
Louis XIV
annexes the rest of Alsace
Alsace
during the Franco-Dutch War , establishing full French sovereignty over the region Kingdom of France French (Alsatian and German tolerated)

1871–1918 Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
causes French cession of Alsace
Alsace
to German Empire German Empire
German Empire
German; Alsatian, French

1919–1940 Treaty of Versailles causes German cession of Alsace
Alsace
to France France
France
French; Alsatian, French, German

1940–1944 Nazi Germany
Germany
conquers Alsace, establishing Gau Baden-Elsaß Nazi Germany
Germany
German; Alsatian, French, German

1945–present French control France French; French and Alsatian German (declining minority language)

GEOGRAPHY

CLIMATE

Alsace
Alsace
has a semi-continental climate with cold and dry winters and hot summers. There is little precipitation because the Vosges
Vosges
protect it from the west. The city of Colmar
Colmar
has a sunny microclimate ; it is the second driest city in France, with an annual precipitation of just 550 mm, making it ideal for vin d\' Alsace
Alsace
(Alsatian wine).

TOPOGRAPHY

Topographic map of Alsace
Alsace

Alsace
Alsace
has an area of 8,283 km2, making it the smallest région of metropolitan France
France
. It is almost four times longer than it is wide, corresponding to a plain between the Rhine
Rhine
in the east and the Vosges mountains in the west.

It includes the départements of Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
and Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
(known previously as Sundgau and Nordgau ). It borders Germany
Germany
on the north and the east, Switzerland
Switzerland
and Franche-Comté on the south, and Lorraine
Lorraine
on the west.

Several valleys are also found in the région. Its highest point is the Grand Ballon in Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
, which reaches a height of 1426 m.

The ried lies along the Rhine
Rhine
.

GEOLOGY

The Grand Ballon , southern face, seen from the valley of the Thur

Alsace
Alsace
is the part of the plain of the Rhine
Rhine
located at the west of the Rhine
Rhine
, on its left bank. It is a rift or graben , from the Oligocene epoch , associated with its horsts : the Vosges
Vosges
and the Black Forest
Black Forest
.

The Jura Mountains
Jura Mountains
, formed by slip (induced by the alpine uplift) of the Mesozoic cover on the Triassic
Triassic
formations, goes through the area of Belfort
Belfort
.

* Vosges
Vosges
and Jura coal mining basins

Flora

It contains many forests, primarily in the Vosges
Vosges
and in Bas-Rhin ( Haguenau Forest).

GOVERNANCE

It has been suggested that this section be merged into Grand Est . (Discuss ) Proposed since April 2017.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Administrative map of Alsace
Alsace
showing départements, arrondissements and communes

The Alsace
Alsace
region is divided into 2 departments , 13 departmental arrondissements , 75 cantons (not shown here), and 904 communes :

DEPARTMENT OF BAS-RHIN (Number of communes in parentheses)

* Arrondissement of Haguenau (56) * Arrondissement of Molsheim (69) * Arrondissement of Saverne
Arrondissement of Saverne
(128) * Arrondissement of Sélestat-Erstein (101) * Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Campagne (104) * Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Ville (1) * Arrondissement of Wissembourg (68)

DEPARTMENT OF HAUT-RHIN (Number of communes in parentheses)

* Arrondissement of Altkirch (111) * Arrondissement of Colmar
Colmar
(62) * Arrondissement of Guebwiller (47) * Arrondissement of Mulhouse
Mulhouse
(73) * Arrondissement of Ribeauvillé (32) * Arrondissement of Thann (52)

POLITICS

Main article: Alsace Regional Council

Alsace
Alsace
is one of the most conservative régions of France. It is one of just two régions in metropolitan France
France
where the conservative right won the 2004 région elections and thus controls the Alsace Regional Council . Conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy got his best score in Alsace
Alsace
(over 65%) in the second round of the French presidential elections of 2007 . The president of the Regional Council is Philippe Richert , a member of the Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
, elected in the 2010 regional election. The frequently changing status of the région throughout history has left its mark on modern day politics in terms of a particular interest in national identity issues. Alsace
Alsace
is also one of the most pro-EU regions of France. It was one of the few French regions that voted 'yes' to the European Constitution in 2005.

SOCIETY

DEMOGRAPHICS

Alsace's population increased to 1,872,949 in 2014. It has regularly increased over time, except in wartime, by both natural growth and migration . This growth has even accelerated at the end of the 20th century. INSEE estimates that its population will grow 12.9% to 19.5% between 1999 and 2030.

Immigration

Place of birth of residents of Alsace (at the 1968, 1975, 1982, 1990, 1999, and 2011 censuses) CENSUS BORN IN ALSACE BORN IN THE REST OF Metropolitan France
France
Born in Overseas France
France
Born in foreign countries with French citizenship at birth IMMIGRANTS

2011 71.3% 15.6% 0.4% 2.2% 10.5%

FROM EUROPE FROM THE MAGHREB FROM TURKEY FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD

4.6% 2.4% 1.6% 1.9%

1999 73.6% 15.4% 0.4% 2.1% 8.5%

FROM EUROPE FROM THE MAGHREB FROM TURKEY FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD

4.2% 1.9% 1.3% 1.1%

1990 75.9% 13.4% 0.3% 2.4% 7.9%

1982 76.8% 12.5% 0.3% 2.6% 7.8%

1975 78.3% 11.6% 0.2% 2.6% 7.3%

1968 81.7% 9.8% 0.1% 2.8% 5.6%

^A Persons born abroad of French parents, such as Pieds-Noirs and children of French expatriates. ^B An immigrant is by French definition a person born in a foreign country and who didn't have French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still listed as an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France
France
with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants. ^C Morocco
Morocco
, Tunisia
Tunisia
, Algeria
Algeria

Source: INSEE

RELIGION

Temple Saint-Étienne (architect Jean-Baptiste Schacre ), the main Calvinist church of Mulhouse
Mulhouse

Most of the Alsatian population is Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
, but, largely because of the region's German heritage, a significant Protestant community also exists: today, the EPCAAL (a Lutheran
Lutheran
church) is France's second largest Protestant
Protestant
church, also forming an administrative union (UEPAL ) with the much smaller Calvinist EPRAL . Unlike the rest of France, the Local law in Alsace-Moselle still provides for the Napoleonic Concordat of 1801 and the organic articles , which provides public subsidies to the Roman Catholic, Lutheran
Lutheran
, and Calvinist churches, as well as to Jewish
Jewish
synagogues; religion classes in one of these faiths is compulsory in public schools. This divergence in policy from the French majority is due to the region having been part of Imperial Germany
Germany
when the 1905 law separating the French church and state was instituted (for a more comprehensive history, see: Alsace-Lorraine ). Controversy erupts periodically on the appropriateness of this legal disposition, as well as on the exclusion of other religions from this arrangement.

Following the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
, promoted by local reformer Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
, the principle of cuius regio, eius religio led to a certain amount of religious diversity in the highlands of northern Alsace. Landowners, who as "local lords" had the right to decide which religion was allowed on their land, were eager to entice populations from the more attractive lowlands to settle and develop their property. Many accepted without discrimination Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Jews and Anabaptists . Multiconfessional villages appeared, particularly in the region of Alsace bossue . Alsace
Alsace
became one of the French regions boasting a thriving Jewish
Jewish
community, and the only region with a noticeable Anabaptist population. The schism of the Amish
Amish
under the lead of Jacob Amman
Jacob Amman
from the Mennonites occurred in 1693 in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
. The strongly Catholic Louis XIV tried in vain to drive them from Alsace. When Napoleon
Napoleon
imposed military conscription without religious exception, most emigrated to the American continent.

In 1707, the simultaneum forced many Reformed and Lutheran
Lutheran
church buildings to also allow Catholic services. About 50 such "simultaneous churches" still exist in modern Alsace, though with the Catholic church's general lack of priests they tend to hold Catholic services only occasionally.

CULTURE

Alsace
Alsace
historically was part of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and the German realm of culture. Since the 17th century, the region has passed between German and French control numerous times, resulting in a cultural blend. Germanic traits remain in the more traditional, rural parts of the culture, such as the cuisine and architecture, whereas modern institutions are totally dominated by French culture.

SYMBOLISM

Coats of arms
Coats of arms
of Alsace
Alsace

Strasbourg

Coats of arms
Coats of arms
of Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Strasbourg
Strasbourg
's arms are the colors of the shield of the Bishop of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
(a band of red on a white field, also considered an inversion of the arms of the diocese) at the end of a revolt of the burghers during the Middle Ages who took their independence from the teachings of the Bishop. It retains its power over the surrounding area.

Flags

Rot-un-Wiss, the historical flag The region's flag from 1949 to 2008

There is controversy around the recognition of the Alsatian flag. The authentic historical flag is the Rot-un-Wiss ; Red and White are commonly found on the coat of arms of Alsatian cities (Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Sélestat...) and of many Swiss cites, especially in Basel\'s region . The German region Hesse
Hesse
uses a flag similar to the Rot-un-Wiss. As it underlines the Germanic roots of the region, it was replaced in 1949 by a new "Union jack-like" flag representing the union of the two départements. It has, however, no real historical relevance. It has been since replaced again by a slightly different one, also representing the two départements. With the purpose of "Francizing" the region, the Rot-un-Wiss has not been recognized by Paris. Some overzealous statesmen have called it a Nazi invention - while its origins date back to the 11th century and the Red and White banner of Gérard de Lorraine
Lorraine
(aka. d'Alsace). The Rot-un-Wiss flag is still known as the real historical emblem of the region by most of the population and the départements' parliaments and has been widely used during protests against the creation of a new "super-region" gathering Champagne-Ardennes
Champagne-Ardennes
, Lorraine
Lorraine
and Alsace, namely on Colmar's statue of liberty.

LANGUAGE

Spatial distribution of dialects in Alsace
Alsace
prior to the expansion of standard French in the 20th century

Although German dialects were spoken in Alsace
Alsace
for most of its history, the dominant language in Alsace
Alsace
today is French.

The traditional language of the région is Alsatian , an Alemannic dialect of Upper German spoken on both sides of the Rhine
Rhine
and closely related to Swiss German . Some Frankish dialects of West Central German are also spoken in " Alsace
Alsace
Bossue" and in the extreme north of Alsace. Neither Alsatian nor the Frankish dialects have any form of official status, as is customary for regional languages in France, although both are now recognized as languages of France
France
and can be chosen as subjects in lycées .

Although Alsace
Alsace
has been part of France
France
multiple times in the past, the region had no direct connection with the French state for several centuries. From the end of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(5th century) to the French annexation (17th century), Alsace
Alsace
was politically part of the Germanic world.

The towns of Alsace
Alsace
were the first to adopt German language
German language
as their official language, instead of Latin
Latin
, during the Lutheran
Lutheran
Reform . It was in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
that German was first used for the liturgy. It was also in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
that the first German Bible was published in 1466.

From the annexation of Alsace
Alsace
by France
France
in the 17th century and the language policy of the French Revolution up to 1870, knowledge of French in Alsace
Alsace
increased considerably. With the education reforms of the 19th century, the middle classes began to speak and write French well. The French language never really managed, however, to win over the masses, the vast majority of whom continued to speak their German dialects and write in German (which we would now call "standard German").

Between 1870 and 1918, Alsace
Alsace
was annexed by the German Empire
German Empire
in the form of an imperial province or Reichsland, and the mandatory official language, especially in schools, became High German. French lost ground to such an extent that it has been estimated that only 2% of the population spoke French fluently and only 8% had some knowledge of it (Maugue, 1970).

After 1918, French was the only language used in schools, and particularly primary schools. After much argument and discussion and after many temporary measures, a memorandum was issued by Vice-Chancellor Pfister in 1927 and governed education in primary schools until 1939.

During a reannexation by Germany
Germany
(1940–1945), High German was reinstated as the language of education. The population was forced to speak German and 'French' family names were Germanized. Following the Second World War, the 1927 regulation was not reinstated and the teaching of German in primary schools was suspended by a provisional rectorial decree, which was supposed to enable French to regain lost ground. The teaching of German became a major issue, however, as early as 1946. Following World War II, the French government pursued, in line with its traditional language policy , a campaign to suppress the use of German as part of a wider Francization campaign.

In 1951, Article 10 of the Deixonne Law
Law
(Loi Deixonne) on the teaching of local languages and dialects made provision for Breton , Basque , Catalan and old Provençal , but not for Corsican , Dutch ( West Flemish ) or Alsatian in Alsace
Alsace
and Moselle . However, in a Decree of 18 December 1952, supplemented by an Order of 19 December of the same year, optional teaching of the German language
German language
was introduced in elementary schools in Communes where the language of habitual use was the Alsatian dialect.

In 1972, the Inspector General of German, Georges Holderith, obtained authorization to reintroduce German into 33 intermediate classes on an experimental basis. This teaching of German, referred to as the Holderith Reform, was later extended to all pupils in the last two years of elementary school. This reform is still largely the basis of German teaching (but not Alsatian) in elementary schools today.

It was not until 9 June 1982, with the Circulaire sur la langue et la culture régionales en Alsace
Alsace
(Memorandum on regional language and culture in Alsace) issued by the Vice-Chancellor of the Académie Pierre Deyon, that the teaching of German in primary schools in Alsace really began to be given more official status. The Ministerial Memorandum of 21 June 1982, known as the Circulaire Savary, introduced financial support, over three years, for the teaching of regional languages in schools and universities. This memorandum was, however, implemented in a fairly lax manner.

Both Alsatian and Standard German were for a time banned from public life (including street and city names, official administration, and educational system). Though the ban has long been lifted and street signs today are often bilingual, Alsace-Lorraine is today very French in language and culture. Few young people speak Alsatian today, although there do still exist one or two enclaves in the Sundgau region where some older inhabitants cannot speak French, and where Alsatian is still used as the mother tongue. A related Alemannic German survives on the opposite bank of the Rhine, in Baden
Baden
, and especially in Switzerland. However, while French is the major language of the region, the Alsatian dialect of French is heavily influenced by German and other languages such a Yiddish
Yiddish
in phonology and vocabulary.

This situation has spurred a movement to preserve the Alsatian language, which is perceived as endangered, a situation paralleled in other régions of France, such as Brittany
Brittany
or Occitania
Occitania
. Alsatian is now taught in French high schools. Increasingly, French is the only language used at home and at work, whereas a growing number of people have a good knowledge of standard German as a foreign language learned in school.

The constitution of the Fifth Republic states that French alone is the official language of the Republic. However, Alsatian, along with other regional languages, are recognized by the French government in the official list of languages of France.

Although the French government signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 1992, it never ratified the treaty and therefore no legal basis exists for any of the regional languages in France. However, visitors to Alsace
Alsace
can see indications of renewed political and cultural interest in the language – in Alsatian signs appearing in car-windows and on hoardings, and in new official bilingual street signs in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
and Mulhouse.

A 1999 INSEE survey, included in the 1999 Census, the majority of the population in Alsace
Alsace
speaks French as their first language, 39.0% (or 500,000 people) of the population speaks Alsatian , 16.2% (or 208,000 people) speaks German , 75,200 people speak English (or 5.9%) and 27,600 people speak Italian .

The survey counted 548,000 adult speakers of Alsatian in France, making it the second most-spoken regional language in the country (after Occitan
Occitan
). Like all regional languages in France, however, the transmission of Alsatian is on the decline. While 39% of the adult population of Alsace
Alsace
speaks Alsatian, only one in four children speaks it, and only one in ten children uses it regularly.

ARCHITECTURE

Colmar
Colmar
's old town

The traditional habitat of the Alsatian lowland, like in other regions of Germany
Germany
and Northern Europe, consists of houses constructed with walls in timber framing and cob and roofing in flat tiles. This type of construction is abundant in adjacent parts of Germany
Germany
and can be seen in other areas of France, but their particular abundance in Alsace
Alsace
is owed to several reasons:

* The proximity to the Vosges
Vosges
where the wood can be found. * During periods of war and bubonic plague, villages were often burned down, so to prevent the collapse of the upper floors, ground floors were built of stone and upper floors built in half-timberings to prevent the spread of fire. * During most of the part of its history, a great part of Alsace
Alsace
was flooded by the Rhine
Rhine
every year. Half-timbered houses were easy to knock down and to move around during those times (a day was necessary to move it and a day to rebuild it in another place).

However, half-timbering was found to increase the risk of fire, which is why from the 19th century, it began to be rendered. In recent times, villagers started to paint the rendering white in accordance with Beaux-Arts movements. To discourage this, the region's authorities gave financial grants to the inhabitants to paint the rendering in various colours, in order to return to the original style and many inhabitants accepted (more for financial reasons than by firm belief).

CUISINE

Flammekueche

Alsatian cuisine , somewhat based on Germanic culinary traditions, is marked by the use of pork in various forms. It is perhaps mostly known for the region's wines and beers. Traditional dishes include baeckeoffe , flammekueche , choucroute , and fleischnacka . Southern Alsace, also called the Sundgau , is characterized by carpe frite (that also exists in Yiddish
Yiddish
tradition).

Food

The festivities of the year's end involve the production of a great variety of biscuits and small cakes called bredela as well as pain d\'épices (gingerbread cakes) which are baked around Christmas time.

The gastronomic symbol of the région is undoubtedly the Choucroute
Choucroute
, a local variety of Sauerkraut . The word Sauerkraut in Alsatian has the form sûrkrût, same as in other southwestern German dialects, and means "sour cabbage" as its Standard German equivalent. This word was included into the French language as choucroute. To make it, the cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt and juniper and left to ferment in wooden barrels. Sauerkraut can be served with poultry, pork, sausage or even fish. Traditionally it is served with Strasbourg sausage or frankfurters, bacon, smoked pork or smoked Morteau or Montbéliard sausages, or a selection of other pork products. Served alongside are often roasted or steamed potatoes or dumplings.

Alsace
Alsace
is also well known for its foie gras made in the region since the 17th century. Additionally, Alsace
Alsace
is known for its fruit juices and mineral waters.

Wines

Riesling
Riesling
Grapes

Alsace
Alsace
is an important wine-producing région . Vins d' Alsace
Alsace
(Alsace wines ) are mostly white. Alsace
Alsace
produces some of the world's most noted dry rieslings and is the only région in France
France
to produce mostly varietal wines identified by the names of the grapes used (wine from Burgundy
Burgundy
is also mainly varietal, but not normally identified as such), typically from grapes also used in Germany. The most notable example is Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer
.

Beers

Kronenbourg
Kronenbourg
brewery

Alsace
Alsace
is also the main beer-producing region of France, thanks primarily to breweries in and near Strasbourg
Strasbourg
. These include those of Fischer , Karlsbräu , Kronenbourg
Kronenbourg
, and Heineken International . Hops are grown in Kochersberg and in northern Alsace. Schnapps is also traditionally made in Alsace, but it is in decline because home distillers are becoming less common and the consumption of traditional, strong, alcoholic beverages is decreasing.

TRIVIA

This article contains a LIST OF MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION . Please relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles. (May 2017)

Alsatian stork

The stork is a main feature of Alsace
Alsace
and was the subject of many legends told to children. The bird practically disappeared around 1970, but re-population efforts are continuing. They are mostly found on roofs of houses, churches and other public buildings in Alsace.

The Easter Bunny was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau 's De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace
Alsace
tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs.

USE OF THE TERM "ALSATIA" IN ENGLISH

Main article: Alsatia
Alsatia

"Alsatia", the Latin
Latin
form of Alsace's name, has long ago entered the English language with the specialized meaning of "a lawless place" or "a place under no jurisdiction" - since Alsace
Alsace
was conceived by English people to be such. It was used into the 20th century as a term for a ramshackle marketplace, "protected by ancient custom and the independence of their patrons". As of 2007, the word is still in use among the English and Australian judiciaries with the meaning of a place where the law cannot reach: "In setting up the Serious Organised Crime Agency , the state has set out to create an Alsatia
Alsatia
- a region of executive action free of judicial oversight," Lord Justice Sedley in UMBS v SOCA 2007.

Derived from the above, " Alsatia
Alsatia
" was historically a cant term for the area near Whitefriars, London , which was for a long time a sanctuary . It is first known in print in the title of The Squire of Alsatia
Alsatia
, a 1688 play written by Thomas Shadwell .

ECONOMY

According to the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques ( INSEE ), Alsace
Alsace
had a gross domestic product of 44.3 billion euros in 2002. With a GDP per capita of €24,804, it was the second-place région of France, losing only to Île-de- France
France
. 68% of its jobs are in the services ; 25% are in industry, making Alsace
Alsace
one of France's most industrialised régions.

Alsace
Alsace
is a région of varied economic activity, including:

* viticulture (mostly along the Route des Vins d\' Alsace
Alsace
between Marlenheim and Thann ) * hop harvesting and brewing (half of French beer is produced in Alsace, especially in the vicinity of Strasbourg, notably in Strasbourg-Cronenbourg , Schiltigheim and Obernai ) * forestry development * automobile industry ( Mulhouse
Mulhouse
and Molsheim , home town of Bugatti Automobiles) * life sciences , as part of the trinational Bio Valley
Valley
and * tourism * potassium chloride (until the late 20th century) and phosphate mining

Alsace
Alsace
has many international ties and 35% of firms are foreign companies (notably German, Swiss, American, Japanese, and Scandinavian ).

TOURISM

Having been early and always densely populated, Alsace
Alsace
is famous for its high number of picturesque villages, churches and castles and for the various beauties of its three main towns, in spite of severe destructions suffered throughout five centuries of wars between France and Germany.

Alsace
Alsace
is furthermore famous for its vineyards (especially along the 170 km of the Route des Vins d\' Alsace
Alsace
from Marlenheim to Thann ) and the Vosges
Vosges
mountains with their thick and green forests and picturesque lakes. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg The main entrance of the Ouvrage Schoenenbourg from the Maginot Line
Maginot Line

* Old towns of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
, Colmar
Colmar
, Sélestat , Guebwiller , Saverne , Obernai , Thann * Smaller cities and villages: Molsheim , Rosheim , Riquewihr
Riquewihr
, Ribeauvillé , Kaysersberg , Wissembourg , Neuwiller-lès- Saverne , Marmoutier
Marmoutier
, Rouffach , Soultz- Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
, Bergheim , Hunspach , Seebach , Turckheim , Eguisheim
Eguisheim
, Neuf-Brisach , Ferrette
Ferrette
, Niedermorschwihr and the gardens of the blue house in Uttenhoffen * Churches (as main sights in otherwise less remarkable places): Thann , Andlau , Murbach
Murbach
, Ebersmunster
Ebersmunster
, Niederhaslach , Sigolsheim , Lautenbach
Lautenbach
, Epfig , Altorf , Ottmarsheim , Domfessel , Niederhaslach , Marmoutier
Marmoutier
and the fortified church at Hunawihr * Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg * Other castles : Ortenbourg and Ramstein (above Sélestat), Hohlandsbourg, Fleckenstein , Haut-Barr (above Saverne), Saint-Ulrich (above Ribeauvillé), Lichtenberg, Wangenbourg, the three Castles of Eguisheim
Eguisheim
, Pflixbourg , Wasigenstein, Andlau , Grand Geroldseck, Wasenbourg * Cité de l\'Automobile museum in Mulhouse * Cité du train museum in Mulhouse * The EDF museum in Mulhouse * Ungersheim 's "écomusée" (open-air museum) and "Bioscope " (leisure park about the environment, closed since September 2012) * Musée historique in Haguenau , largest museum in Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
outside Strasbourg * Bibliothèque humaniste in Sélestat, one of the oldest public libraries in the world * Christmas markets in Kaysersberg, Strasbourg, Mulhouse
Mulhouse
and Colmar * Departmental Centre of the History of Families (CDHF) in Guebwiller * The Maginot Line
Maginot Line
: Ouvrage Schoenenbourg * Mount Ste Odile * Route des Vins d\' Alsace
Alsace
( Alsace
Alsace
Wine Route) * Mémorial d' Alsace-Lorraine in Schirmeck * Natzweiler-Struthof , the only German concentration camp on French territory during WWII * Famous mountains : Massif du Donon, Grand Ballon , Petit Ballon, Ballon d\' Alsace
Alsace
, Hohneck , Hartmannswillerkopf * National park
National park
: Parc naturel des Vosges
Vosges
du Nord * Regional park : Parc naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges (south of the Vosges
Vosges
)

TRANSPORTATION

Roads

Ponts Couverts , Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Most major car journeys are made on the A35 autoroute , which links Saint-Louis on the Swiss border to Lauterbourg on the German border.

The A4 toll road (towards Paris) begins 20 km northwest of Strasbourg and the A36 toll road towards Lyon, begins 10 km west from Mulhouse
Mulhouse
.

Spaghetti-junctions (built in the 1970s and 1980s) are prominent in the comprehensive system of motorways in Alsace, especially in the outlying areas of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
and Mulhouse. These cause a major buildup of traffic and are the main sources of pollution in the towns, notably in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
where the motorway traffic of the A35 was 170,000 per day in 2002.

At present, plans are being considered for building a new dual carriageway west of Strasbourg, which would reduce the buildup of traffic in that area by picking up north and southbound vehicles and getting rid of the buildup outside Strasbourg. The line plans to link up the interchange of Hœrdt to the north of Strasbourg, with Innenheim in the southwest. The opening is envisaged at the end of 2011, with an average usage of 41,000 vehicles a day. Estimates of the French Works Commissioner however, raised some doubts over the interest of such a project, since it would pick up only about 10% of the traffic of the A35 at Strasbourg. Paradoxically, this reversed the situation of the 1950s. At that time, the French trunk road left of the Rhine
Rhine
not been built, so that traffic would cross into Germany
Germany
to use the Karlsruhe- Basel
Basel
Autobahn.

To add to the buildup of traffic, the neighbouring German state of Baden- Württemberg
Württemberg
has imposed a tax on heavy-goods vehicles using their Autobahnen . Thus, a proportion of the HGVs travelling from north Germany
Germany
to Switzerland
Switzerland
or southern Alsace
Alsace
bypasses the A5 on the Alsace-Baden- Württemberg
Württemberg
border and uses the untolled, French A35 instead.

Trains

Place de l'Homme de Fer Tram Station

TER Alsace is the rail network serving Alsace. Its network is articulated around the city of Strasbourg. It is one of the most developed rail networks in France, financially sustained partly by the French railroad SNCF
SNCF
, and partly by the région Alsace.

Because the Vosges
Vosges
are surmountable only by the Col de Saverne and the Belfort
Belfort
Gap, it has been suggested that Alsace
Alsace
needs to open up and get closer to France
France
in terms of its rail links. Developments already under way or planned include:

* the TGV
TGV
Est (Paris – Strasbourg) had its first phase brought into service in June 2007, bringing down the Strasbourg-Paris trip from 4 hours to 2 hours 20 minutes. Work on its second phase, which will further bring down this time to 1hour 50 minutes, is due to be completed in 2016. * the TGV
TGV
Rhin- Rhône between Dijon
Dijon
and Mulhouse
Mulhouse
(opened in 2011) * a tram-train system in Mulhouse
Mulhouse
(2011) * an interconnection with the German InterCityExpress , as far as Kehl (expected 2016)

However, the abandoned Maurice-Lemaire tunnel towards Saint-Dié-des- Vosges
Vosges
was rebuilt as a toll road.

Waterways

Port traffic of Alsace
Alsace
exceeds 15 million tonnes, of which about three-quarters is centred on Strasbourg, which is the second busiest French fluvial harbour. The enlargement plan of the Rhône–Rhine Canal , intended to link up the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
and Central Europe (Rhine, Danube
Danube
, North Sea
North Sea
and Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
) was abandoned in 1998 for reasons of expense and land erosion, notably in the Doubs valley.

Air Traffic

There are two international airports in Alsace:

* the international airport of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
in Entzheim * the international EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg , which is the seventh largest French airport in terms of traffic

Strasbourg
Strasbourg
is also two hours away by road from one of the largest European airports, Frankfurt Main, and 2 hour 30 minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport through the direct TGV
TGV
service, stopping in Terminal 2.

Cycling Network

Crossed by three EuroVelo routes

* the EuroVelo 5 ( Via Francigena from London to Rome/ Brindisi
Brindisi
), * the EuroVelo 6 (Véloroute des fleuves from Nantes
Nantes
to Budapest (H)) and * the EuroVelo 15 (Véloroute Rhin / Rhine
Rhine
cycle route from Andermatt
Andermatt
(CH) to Rotterdam
Rotterdam
(NL)).

Alsace
Alsace
is the most well equipped region of France, with 2000 kilometres of cycle routes. The network is of a very good standard and well signposted. All the towpaths of the canals in Alsace
Alsace
(canal des houillères de la Sarre , canal de la Marne au Rhin , canal de la Bruche , canal du Rhône au Rhin ) are tarred.

FAMOUS ALSATIANS

Statue of Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer
by Frédéric Bartholdi in front of the Unterlinden Museum , Colmar
Colmar

The following is a selection of people born in Alsace
Alsace
who have been particularly influential and/or successful in their respective field. See also: Category:People from Alsace
Alsace

ARTS

* Jean Arp * Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi * Théodore Deck
Théodore Deck
* Gustave Doré * Jean-Jacques Henner * Philip James de Loutherbourg
Philip James de Loutherbourg
* Master of the Drapery Studies * Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau
* Charles Munch * Claude Rich * Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer
* Marie Tussaud * Tomi Ungerer * Émile Waldteufel * Mark Wirtz
Mark Wirtz
* William Wyler

BUSINESS

* Thierry Mugler * Schlumberger brothers

LITERATURE

* Sebastian Brant
Sebastian Brant
* Gottfried von Strassburg

MILITARY

* François Christophe de Kellermann * Jean-Baptiste Kléber * Jean Rapp

NOBILITY

* Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I of Bavaria

RELIGION

* Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
* Wolfgang Capito * Charles de Foucauld * Herrad of Landsberg * Pope Leo IX * Thomas Murner * J. F. Oberlin
J. F. Oberlin
* Odile of Alsace
Odile of Alsace
* Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
* Philip Jacob Spener * Jakob Wimpfeling

SCIENCES

* Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe
* Charles Friedel * Charles Frédéric Gerhardt * Johann Hermann * Alfred Kastler * Jean-Marie Lehn * Wilhelm Philippe Schimper * Charles Xavier Thomas
Charles Xavier Thomas
* Charles-Adolphe Wurtz

SPORTS

* Mehdi Baala * Valérien Ismaël
Valérien Ismaël
* Sebastien Loeb
Sebastien Loeb
* Yvan Muller * Thierry Omeyer
Thierry Omeyer
* Arsène Wenger

MAJOR COMMUNITIES

German original names in brackets if French names are different

* Bischheim * Colmar
Colmar
(Kolmar) * Guebwiller (Gebweiler) * Haguenau (Hagenau) * Illkirch-Graffenstaden
Illkirch-Graffenstaden
(Illkirch-Grafenstaden) * Illzach * Lingolsheim

* Mulhouse
Mulhouse
(Mülhausen) * Saint-Louis (St. Ludwig) * Saverne (Zabern) * Schiltigheim * Sélestat (Schlettstadt) * Strasbourg
Strasbourg
(Straßburg) * Wittenheim

SISTER PROVINCES

There is an accord de coopération internationale between Alsace
Alsace
and the following regions:

* Gyeongsangbuk-do , South Korea * Lower Silesia , Poland * Upper Austria
Austria
, Austria * Quebec
Quebec
, Canada * Jiangsu
Jiangsu
, China * Moscow , Russia * Vest , Romania

SEE ALSO

* Musée alsacien (Strasbourg) * Route Romane d\' Alsace
Alsace
* German place names in Alsace * History of Jews in Alsace * Alsace independence movement * Castroville, Texas

FOOTNOTES

* ^ "La géographie de l\'Alsace". region.alsace. Retrieved 13 January 2016. * ^ "Populations légales 2014 des départements" (in French). insee.fr. Retrieved 8 February 2017. * ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary * ^ German spelling before 1996 : Elsaß * ^ Bostock, John Knight; Kenneth Charles King; D. R. McLintock (1976). Kenneth Charles King, D. R. McLintock, ed. A Handbook on Old High German Literature (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-19-815392-9 . * ^ Roland Kaltenbach: Le guide de l’Alsace, La Manufacture 1992, ISBN 2-7377-0308-5 , page 36 * ^ Sherman, Irwin W. (2006). The power of plagues. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 74. ISBN 1-55581-356-9 . * ^ Veve, Thomas Dwight (1992). The Duke of Wellington and the British army of occupation in France, 1815–1818, pp. 20–21. Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, United States. * ^ Cox.net * ^ Ilgenweb.net Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Caron, Vicki (2005). "Alsace". In Levy, Richard S. Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution. 1. pp. 13–16. * ^ "Full text of " Alsace-Lorraine since 1870"". * ^ REMAKING THE MAP OF EUROPE by Jean Finot, The New York Times
The New York Times
, May 30, 1915 * ^ Archive video * ^ However, propaganda for elections was allowed to go with a German translation from 1919 to 2008. * ^ Stéphane Courtois, Mark Kramer. Livre noir du Communisme: crimes, terreur, répression. Harvard University Press
Harvard University Press
, 1999. p.323. ISBN 0-674-07608-7 * ^ Note: the commune of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
is not inside the arrondissement of Strasbourg-Campagne but it is nonetheless the seat of the Strasbourg-Campagne sous-préfecture buildings and administration. * ^ INSEE . "Fichier Données harmonisées des recensements de la population de 1968 à 2011" (in French). Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-25. * ^ INSEE . "IMG1B – Les immigrés par sexe, âge et pays de naissance" (in French). Retrieved 2014-10-25. * ^ INSEE . "D_FD_IMG2 – Base France
France
par départements – Lieux de naissance à l\'étranger selon la nationalité" (in French). Retrieved 26 June 2013. * ^ "Unser LandBrève histoire d\'un drapeau alsacien - Unser Land". Unser Land. * ^ Genealogie-bisval.net * ^ " Colmar
Colmar
: une statue de la Liberté en "Rot und Wiss" - France 3 Alsace". France
France
3 Alsace. * ^ "Charte européenne des langues régionales : Hollande nourrit la guerre contre le français". Le Figaro. * ^ https://www.epsilon.insee.fr/jspui/bitstream/1/2294/1/cpar12_1.pdf, L'alsacien, deuxième langue régionale de France. INSEE. December 2002. p. 3. External link in title= (help ) * ^ Lashmar, Paul (27 May 2007). " Law
Law
Lords slam crime agency for freezing UMBS payments". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-05-30. * ^ "Jardins de la ferme bleue – SehenswĂźrdigkeiten in Uttenhoffen, ElsaĂ". beLocal.de. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2012. * ^ Les Accords de coopération entre l’ Alsace
Alsace
et... (in French) Archived 3 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
.

FURTHER READING

* Assall, Paul. Juden im Elsass. Zürich: Rio Verlag. ISBN 3-907668-00-6 . * Das Elsass: Ein literarischer Reisebegleiter. Frankfurt a. M.: Insel Verlag, 2001. ISBN 3-458-34446-2 . * Erbe, Michael (Hrsg.) Das Elsass: Historische Landschaft im Wandel der Zeiten. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2002. ISBN 3-17-015771-X . * Faber, Gustav. Elsass. München: Artemis-Cicerone Kunst- und Reiseführer, 1989. * Fischer, Christopher J. Alsace
Alsace
to the Alsatians? Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870–1939 (Berghahn Books, 2010). * Gerson, Daniel. Die Kehrseite der Emanzipation in Frankreich: Judenfeindschaft im Elsass 1778 bis 1848. Essen: Klartext, 2006. ISBN 3-89861-408-5 . * Herden, Ralf Bernd. Straßburg Belagerung 1870. Norderstedt: BoD, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8334-5147-8 . * Hummer, Hans J. Politics and Power in Early Medieval Europe: Alsace
Alsace
and the Frankish Realm, 600-1000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. * Kaeppelin, Charles E. R, and Mary L. Hendee. Alsace
Alsace
Throughout the Ages. Franklin, Pa: C. Miller, 1908. * Mehling, Marianne (Hrsg.) Knaurs Kulturführer in Farbe Elsaß. München: Droemer Knaur, 1984. * Putnam, Ruth. Alsace
Alsace
and Lorraine: From Cæsar to Kaiser, 58 B.C.–1871 A.D. New York: 1915. * Schreiber, Hermann. Das Elsaß und seine Geschichte, eine Kulturlandschaft im Spannungsfeld zweier Völker. Augsburg: Weltbild, 1996. * Schwengler, Bernard. Le Syndrome Alsacien: d'Letschte? Strasbourg: Éditions Oberlin, 1989. ISBN 2-85369-096-2 . * Ungerer, Tomi . Elsass. Das offene Herz Europas. Straßburg: Édition La Nuée Bleue, 2004. ISBN 2-7165-0618-3 . * Vogler, Bernard and Hermann Lersch. Das Elsass. Morstadt: Éditions Ouest-France, 2000. ISBN 3-88571-260-1 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ALSACE .

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for ALSACE .

* Official website of the Alsace
Alsace
regional council * Alsace
Alsace
: at the heart of Europe – Official French website (in English) *

.