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Alsace
Alsace
(/ælˈsæs, -ˈseɪs, ˈælsæs, -seɪs/,[3] French: [alzas] ( listen); Alsatian: ’s Elsass [ˈɛlsɑs]; German: Elsass[4] [ˈɛlzas] ( listen); Latin: Alsatia) is a cultural and historical region in eastern France
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 adjacent to Germany
Germany
and Switzerland. From 1982 until January 2016, Alsace
Alsace
was also the smallest (but not the least populated) of 22 administrative régions in metropolitan 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
Champagne-Ardenne
and Lorraine
Lorraine
to form Grand Est. The historical predominant language of much of Alsace
Alsace
is Alsatian, a set of Allemannic dialects closely related to Swabian and Swiss German. After World War II, most Alsatians began to primarily speak French, the official language of France. Internal and international migration since 1945 has also changed the ethnolinguistic composition of Alsace. For more than 300 years, from the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
to World War II, the political status of Alsace
Alsace
has been heavily contested between France
France
and various German states in many wars and diplomatic conferences. The economic and cultural capital as well as largest city of Alsace
Alsace
is Strasbourg. The city is the seat of several international organizations and bodies.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Pre-Roman Alsace 2.2 Roman Alsace 2.3 Alemannic and Frankish Alsace 2.4 Alsace
Alsace
within the Holy Roman Empire 2.5 German Land within the Kingdom of France 2.6 From French Revolution to the Franco-Prussian War

2.6.1 Jews

2.7 Struggle between France
France
and united Germany 2.8 After World War II 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 6.1.2 Flags

6.2 Language 6.3 Architecture 6.4 Cuisine

6.4.1 Food 6.4.2 Wines 6.4.3 Beers

6.5 In tales 6.6 The term "Alsatia"

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[edit] The name "Alsace" can be traced to the Old High German
Old High German
Ali-saz or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain".[5] An alternative explanation is from a Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "seated on the Ill",[6] a river in Alsace. History[edit] In prehistoric times, Alsace
Alsace
was inhabited by nomadic hunters. Pre-Roman Alsace[edit] By 1500 BC,[citation needed] 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 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[edit] 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, Alsace
Alsace
was part of Germania Superior. Alemannic and Frankish Alsace[edit] Main article: Duchy of Alsace With the decline of the Roman Empire, Alsace
Alsace
became the territory of the Germanic 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, 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, 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, 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
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
Alsace
within the Holy Roman Empire[edit] 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) 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, 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- 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, it became the political and economic center of the region. Cities such as Colmar
Colmar
and Hagenau
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.[7] 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. Prosperity returned to Alsace
Alsace
under Habsburg
Habsburg
administration during the Renaissance.

Petite France, 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
Rhône
and Meuse, and when those borders were reached, aiming for the Rhine. In 1299, the French proposed a marriage alliance between Philip IV of 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. In 1469, following the Treaty of St. Omer (fr), Upper Alsace
Upper Alsace
was sold by Archduke Sigismund of Austria
Austria
to 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
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
Catholic
Habsburgs who tried to eradicate heresy in Upper Alsace. As a result, Alsace
Alsace
was transformed into a mosaic of Catholic
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. German Land within the Kingdom of France[edit] 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. Beset by enemies and seeking to gain a free hand in Hungary, the Habsburgs sold their Sundgau
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 mountains where it had been, leaving Alsace
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, 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, 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
Catholic
Church. However, compared to the rest of France, Alsace
Alsace
enjoyed a climate of religious tolerance.

Louis XIV
Louis XIV
receiving the keys of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
in 1681

France
France
consolidated its hold with the 1679 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. From French Revolution to the Franco-Prussian War[edit]

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. 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" (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
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 restoration of the monarchy pursued by the invading forces of Austria
Austria
and Prussia who sought to crush the nascent revolutionary republic. Many of the residents of the Sundgau
Sundgau
made "pilgrimages" to places like Mariastein Abbey, near 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,[8] 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
Baron Haussmann
– but also for more distant places like Russia
Russia
and the 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.[9] In 1843 and 1844, sailing ships bringing immigrant families from Alsace
Alsace
arrived at the port of New York. Some settled in Texas and 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.[10] Others ventured to Canada
Canada
to settle in southwestern Ontario, notably Waterloo County. Jews[edit] 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.[citation needed] 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
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.[11] Struggle between France
France
and united Germany[edit] 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[12][13]

Traditional costumes of Alsace

The 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. 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. Unlike other members states of the German federation, which had governments of their own, the new Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
was under the sole authority of the 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
French Algeria
as Pieds-Noirs. Only in 1911 was Alsace-Lorraine
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
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

During the First World War, to avoid ground fights between brothers, many Alsatians served as sailors in the Kaiserliche Marine
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
Alsace-Lorraine
without a nominal head of state. The sailors returned home and tried to found an independent republic. While Jacques Peirotes, at this time deputy at the Landrat Elsass-Lothringen and just elected mayor of Strasbourg, proclaimed the forfeiture of the German Empire
German Empire
and the advent of the French Republic, a self-proclaimed government of Alsace-Lorraine
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[14] 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.[15] 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
Alsace-Lorraine
was occupied by Germany
Germany
in 1940 during the Second World War. Although it was never formally annexed, Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
was incorporated into the Greater German Reich, which had been restructured into Reichsgau. Alsace
Alsace
was merged with Baden, and Lorraine
Lorraine
with the 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.[16] 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, where they joined the Free French Forces. After World War II[edit] 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
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[edit]

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
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 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, provinciated to Germania Superior Roman Empire Latin; Gallic widely spoken

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

274–286 Rome reconquers the Gallic Empire, Alsace Roman Empire Latin, Gallic, Germanic (only in 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, causing a permanent division between Western and Eastern Rome Western Roman Empire

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

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

531–614 Upper Alsace
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

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

870–889 Treaty of Mersen
Treaty of Mersen
gives Alsace
Alsace
to East Francia 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 Frankish and Alamannic varieties of Old High German

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

1618–1674 Louis XIII annexes portions of Alsace
Alsace
during the Thirty Years' War Holy Roman Empire German; Alamannic and Franconian 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)[citation needed]

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

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

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

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

Geography[edit] Climate[edit] 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[edit]

Topographic map of Alsace

Alsace
Alsace
has an area of 8,283 km2, making it the smallest région of metropolitan 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
Vosges
mountains in the west. It includes the départements of Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
and Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
(known previously as Sundgau
Sundgau
and Nordgau). It borders Germany
Germany
on the north and the east, Switzerland
Switzerland
and Franche-Comté
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
Grand Ballon
in Haut-Rhin, which reaches a height of 1426 m. The ried lies along the Rhine. Geology[edit]

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, on its left bank. It is a rift or graben, from the Oligocene
Oligocene
epoch, associated with its horsts: the Vosges
Vosges
and the Black Forest. The Jura Mountains, formed by slip (induced by the alpine uplift) of the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
cover on the Triassic
Triassic
formations, goes through the area of Belfort.

Vosges
Vosges
and Jura coal mining basins

Flora[edit] It contains many forests, primarily in the Vosges
Vosges
and in Bas-Rhin ( Haguenau
Haguenau
Forest). Governance[edit]

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

Administrative divisions[edit]

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
Haguenau
(56) Arrondissement of Molsheim
Arrondissement of Molsheim
(69) Arrondissement of Saverne
Arrondissement of Saverne
(128) Arrondissement of Sélestat-Erstein
Arrondissement of Sélestat-Erstein
(101) Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Campagne
Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Campagne
(104)[17] Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Ville
Arrondissement of Strasbourg-Ville
(1) Arrondissement of Wissembourg
Arrondissement of Wissembourg
(68)

Department of Haut-Rhin (Number of communes in parentheses)

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

Politics[edit] Main article: Alsace
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, 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[edit] Demographics[edit] 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[edit]

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 Born in Overseas France Born in foreign countries with French citizenship at birth[a] Immigrants[b]

2011 71.3% 15.6% 0.4% 2.2% 10.5%

from Europe from the Maghreb[c] 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[c] 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
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, Tunisia, Algeria

Source: INSEE[18][19][20]

Religion[edit]

Religion in Alsace[21]

religion

percent

Catholic

70%

Protestant

17%

No religion

8%

Other faith

5%

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

Alsace
Alsace
is generally seen as the most religious of all the French regions. Most of the Alsatian population is Roman Catholic, but, largely because of the region's German heritage, a significant Protestant
Protestant
community also exists: today, the EPCAAL (a Lutheran church) is France's second largest Protestant
Protestant
church, also forming an administrative union (UEPAL) with the much smaller Calvinist
Calvinist
EPRAL. Unlike the rest of France, the Local law in Alsace-Moselle
Local law in Alsace-Moselle
still provides for the Napoleonic Concordat of 1801
Concordat of 1801
and the organic articles, which provides public subsidies to the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist
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
Protestant
Reformation, promoted by local reformer 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
Alsace
bossue. Alsace
Alsace
became one of the French regions boasting a thriving Jewish
Jewish
community, and the only region with a noticeable Anabaptist
Anabaptist
population. Philipp Jakob Spener who founded Pietism
Pietism
was born in Alsace. 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. The strongly Catholic
Catholic
Louis XIV
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
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
Catholic
services only occasionally. Culture[edit] 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[edit]

Coats of arms
Coats of arms
of Alsace

Strasbourg[edit]

Coats of arms
Coats of arms
of 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[edit]

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...)[22] and of many Swiss cities, 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[23] 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, Lorraine
Lorraine
and Alsace, namely on Colmar's statue of liberty.[24] Language[edit]

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
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, 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").[citation needed] 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
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
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
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, and especially in Switzerland. However, while French is the major language of the region, the Alsatian dialect
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. 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.[25] 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.[26] The survey counted 548,000 adult speakers of Alsatian in France, making it the second most-spoken regional language in the country (after 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[edit]

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).[citation needed] Cuisine[edit]

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[edit] 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, a local variety of Sauerkraut. The word Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut
in Alsatian has the form sûrkrût, same as in other southwestern German dialects, and means "sour cabbage" as its Standard German
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
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
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[edit]

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. Beers[edit]

Kronenbourg
Kronenbourg
brewery

Alsace
Alsace
is also the main beer-producing region of France, thanks primarily to breweries in and near Strasbourg. These include those of Fischer, Karlsbräu, Kronenbourg, and Heineken International. Hops
Hops
are grown in Kochersberg
Kochersberg
and in northern Alsace. Schnapps
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. In tales[edit]

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
Easter Bunny
was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus (About Easter eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs. The term "Alsatia"[edit] Main article: Alsatia "Alsatia", the Latin
Latin
form of Alsace's name, entered the English language as "a lawless place" or "a place under no jurisdiction" prior to the 17th century as a reflection of the British perception of the region at that time. It was used into the 20th century as a term for a ramshackle marketplace, "protected by ancient custom and the independence of their patrons". The word is still in use in the 21st century among the English and Australian judiciaries to describe 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
Lord Justice Sedley
in UMBS v SOCA 2007.[27] Derived from the above, "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, a 1688 play written by Thomas Shadwell. Economy[edit] 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. 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
Route des Vins d'Alsace
between Marlenheim
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
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[edit] 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
Route des Vins d'Alsace
from Marlenheim
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
Ouvrage Schoenenbourg
from the Maginot Line

Old towns of Strasbourg, Colmar, Sélestat, Guebwiller, Saverne, Obernai, Thann Smaller cities and villages: Molsheim, Rosheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, Wissembourg, Neuwiller-lès-Saverne, Marmoutier, Rouffach, Soultz-Haut-Rhin, Bergheim, Hunspach, Seebach, Turckheim, Eguisheim, Neuf-Brisach, Ferrette, Niedermorschwihr
Niedermorschwihr
and the gardens of the blue house in Uttenhoffen[28] Churches (as main sights in otherwise less remarkable places): Thann, Andlau, Murbach, Ebersmunster, Niederhaslach, Sigolsheim, 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
Haut-Barr
(above Saverne), Saint-Ulrich (above Ribeauvillé), Lichtenberg, Wangenbourg, the three Castles of Eguisheim, Pflixbourg, Wasigenstein, Andlau, Grand Geroldseck, Wasenbourg Cité de l'Automobile museum in Mulhouse Cité du train
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: Ouvrage Schoenenbourg Mount Ste Odile Route des Vins d'Alsace
Route des Vins d'Alsace
( Alsace
Alsace
Wine Route) Mémorial d' Alsace-Lorraine
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, Hohneck, Hartmannswillerkopf National park: Parc naturel des Vosges
Vosges
du Nord Regional park: Parc naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges
Vosges
(south of the Vosges)

Transportation[edit] Roads[edit]

Ponts Couverts, 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
Strasbourg
and the A36 toll road towards Lyon, begins 10 km west from 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
Hœrdt
to the north of Strasbourg, with Innenheim
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[edit]

Place de l'Homme de Fer Tram Station

TER Alsace
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, and partly by the région Alsace. Because the Vosges
Vosges
are surmountable only by the Col de Saverne
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, and further reducing it to 1h 50m after the completion of the second phase in 2016. the TGV
TGV
Rhin- Rhône
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[edit] 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, North Sea
North Sea
and Baltic Sea) was abandoned in 1998 for reasons of expense and land erosion, notably in the Doubs valley. Air traffic[edit] 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[edit] Crossed by three EuroVelo
EuroVelo
routes

the EuroVelo
EuroVelo
5 ( Via Francigena
Via Francigena
from London to Rome/Brindisi), the EuroVelo
EuroVelo
6 (Véloroute des fleuves from Nantes
Nantes
to Budapest
Budapest
(H)) and the EuroVelo
EuroVelo
15 (Véloroute Rhin / Rhine
Rhine
cycle route from 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
Rhône
au Rhin) are tarred. Famous Alsatians[edit]

Statue of Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer
by Frédéric Bartholdi
Frédéric Bartholdi
in front of the Unterlinden Museum, 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 Arts[edit]

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

Business[edit]

Thierry Mugler Schlumberger brothers

Literature[edit]

Sebastian Brant Gottfried von Strassburg

Military[edit]

François Christophe de Kellermann Jean-Baptiste Kléber Jean Rapp

Nobility[edit]

Ludwig I of Bavaria

Religion[edit]

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

Sciences[edit]

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

Sports[edit]

Mehdi Baala Valérien Ismaël Sébastien Loeb Yvan Muller Thierry Omeyer Arsène Wenger

Major communities[edit] German original names in brackets if French names are different

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

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

Sister provinces[edit] There is an accord de coopération internationale between Alsace
Alsace
and the following regions:[29]

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

See also[edit]

Musée alsacien (Strasbourg) Route Romane d'Alsace German place names in Alsace Alsace
Alsace
independence movement Castroville, Texas

Footnotes[edit]

^ "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. ^ 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
Alsace-Lorraine
since 1870"".  ^ REMAKING THE MAP OF EUROPE by Jean Finot, 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, 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). Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.  ^ http://www.eurel.info/FR/index.php?rubrique=87&pais=5[permanent dead link] Géographie réligieuse: France ^ "Unser LandBrève histoire d'un drapeau alsacien - Unser Land". Unser Land.  ^ Genealogie-bisval.net ^ "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.  ^ www.epsilon.insee.fr/jspui/bitstream/1/2294/1/cpar12_1.pdf, L'alsacien, deuxième langue régionale de France. INSEE. December 2002. p. 3.  ^ Lashmar, Paul (27 May 2007). " Law
Law
Lords slam crime agency for freezing UMBS payments". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2010.  ^ "Jardins de la ferme bleue – SehenswĂźrdigkeiten in Uttenhoffen, ElsaĂ&#x;". 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.

Further reading[edit]

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 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[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alsace.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alsace.

Official website of the Alsace
Alsace
regional council Alsace : at the heart of Europe – Official French website (in English) Tourism-Alsace.com Info from the Alsace
Alsace
Tourism Board Rhine
Rhine
Online – life in southern Alsace
Alsace
and neighbouring Basel
Basel
and Baden
Baden
Wuerrtemburg Alsatourisme Tourism in Alsace
Alsace
(in French) Alsace
Alsace
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Statistics and figures on Alsace
Alsace
on the website of the INSEE (in French) Alsace.net: Directory of Alsatian Websites (in French) "Museums of Alsace" (in French) Churches and chapels of Alsace
Alsace
(pictures only) (in French) Medieval castles of Alsace
Alsace
(pictures only) (in French) "Organs of Alsace" (in French) The Alsatian Library of Mutual Credit (in French) The Alsatian Artists (in French)

v t e

  Alsace
Alsace
topics

Departments

Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
(Strasbourg)

Arrondissement of Haguenau-Wissembourg Arrondissement of Molsheim Arrondissement of Saverne Arrondissement of Sélestat-Erstein Arrondissement of Strasbourg

Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
(Colmar)

Arrondissement of Altkirch Arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé Arrondissement of Mulhouse Arrondissement of Thann-Guebwiller

Culture

Coat of arms Flag Anthem People Language Demographics Religion Musée alsacien

Hagenau Strasbourg

Alsace
Alsace
independence movement

Sports

RC Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Alsace Strasbourg
Strasbourg
IG SC Schiltigheim FC Sélestat Sélestat
Sélestat
Alsace
Alsace
Handball FC Vendenheim Étoile Noire de Strasbourg Internationaux de Strasbourg Rallye de France
France
Alsace (Rallye Alsace-Vosges)

History

Germania Superior
Germania Superior
(Pagus Alsatiae) (83–475) Alemanni
Alemanni
(circa 213–496) Alamannia
Alamannia
(3rd-century–911) Duchy of Alsace
Duchy of Alsace
(circa 630–699) Prince-Bishopric of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
(982–1803) County of Ferrette
Ferrette
(11th-century–14th-century) Salm (1165−1793) Landgraviate of Alsace
Alsace
(1186–1646)

Lower Alsace Upper Alsace

Further Austria
Further Austria
(13th-century–1648) Décapole
Décapole
(1354–1679) County of Hanau-Lichtenberg
Hanau-Lichtenberg
(1456–1736) Upper Rhenish Circle
Upper Rhenish Circle
(1500-1679) Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
(1871–1918) Gau Baden-Elsaß
Gau Baden-Elsaß
(1940–1945) Alsace
Alsace
(1945–2016) Grand Est
Grand Est
(2016–)

Alsace
Alsace
portal

v t e

Administrative regions of France

Current administrative regions (since 2016)

Metropolitan regions

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Brittany Centre-Val de Loire Corsica Grand Est Hauts-de-France Île-de-France Normandy Nouvelle-Aquitaine Occitanie Pays de la Loire Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Overseas regions

French Guiana Guadeloupe Martinique Mayotte Réunion

Former administrative regions (1982–2015)

Metropolitan regions

Alsace Aquitaine Auvergne Burgundy Brittany Centre-Val de Loire Champagne-Ardenne Corsica Franche-Comté Île-de-France Languedoc-Roussillon Limousin Lorraine Midi-Pyrénées Nord-Pas-de-Calais Lower Normandy Upper Normandy Pays de la Loire Picardy Poitou-Charentes Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Rhône-Alpes

Overseas regions

French Guiana Guadeloupe Martinique Mayotte Réunion

v t e

Historical provinces of France

Alsace Angoumois Anjou Artois Aunis Auvergne Basse-Navarre Béarn Beaujolais Berry Bourbonnais Brittany Burgundy Champagne Corsica Dauphiné Flanders and Hainaut Foix Forez Franche-Comté Gascony Guyenne Île-de-France Languedoc Limousin Lorraine Lyonnais Maine Marche Montbéliard Mulhouse Nice Nivernais Normandy Orléanais Perche Picardy Poitou Provence Roussillon Saintonge Savoy Touraine Trois-Évêchés Venaissin

v t e

Décapole
Décapole
of the Holy Roman Empire

Alliance of ten Imperial cities of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the Alsace region 1354-1679

Founding cities

Haguenau Colmar Wissembourg Turckheim Obernai Kaysersberg Rosheim Munster Sélestat Mulhouse

Other cities

Landau Seltz

Category:Alsace

Coordinates: 48°30′N 7°30′E / 48.500°N 7.500°E / 48.500; 7.500

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 139248627 LCCN: n81007355 GND: 4014500-1 SUDOC: 02788743X BNF: cb119832719 (data) HDS:

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