from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sélestat coat of arms
Sélestat (France)
region Grand Est
Department Bas-Rhin
Arrondissement Sélestat-Erstein ( sub-prefecture )
Canton Sélestat
Community association Sélestat
Coordinates 48 ° 16 '  N , 7 ° 27'  E Coordinates: 48 ° 16 '  N , 7 ° 27'  E
height 165-184 m
surface 44.40 km 2
Residents 19,252 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 434 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 67600
INSEE code
Website www.ville-selestat.fr
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Imperial city of Schlettstadt
coat of arms
Coat of arms imperial city Schlettstadt

Alternative names Slettstadt - Sélestat
Form of rule Imperial city
Ruler / government City Master
Today's region / s Bas-Rhin
Parliament Imperial cities
Reich register 7 on horseback 58 on foot - 180 guilders (1521)
Reichskreis Upper Rhine district
District council Worms - Frankfurt am Main
Capitals / residences Schlettstadt
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic - Evangelical Lutheran - Jewish - Anabaptist
Language / n German - French - Alsatian

Incorporated into France after 1648
See also Humanist library in Schlettstadt ; Ten cities

Sélestat [ selɛsˈta ] (German Schlettstadt , Alsatian Schlettstàdt , French before 1871 Schlestadt , from 1920 Sélestat ) is a municipality in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region (until the end of 2015 Alsace ). The former imperial city of Schlettstadt is now the seat of the sub-prefecture of the arrondissement Sélestat-Erstein and has 19,252 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017).

Geographical location

The village is around 40 kilometers southwest of Strasbourg and around 40 kilometers northwest of Freiburg im Breisgau on the Ill , a left tributary of the Rhine , at 180 m above sea level. NHN.


middle Ages

Sélestat was royal property in Carolingian times , where the later emperor Charlemagne celebrated Christmas in 775. At that time the place consisted of little more than a small settlement around a Carolingian royal palace . The first church, a central building on the site of today's St. Georg Church, also dates from this time .

View of Schlettstadt before 1550; Woodcut from the former Wolf-Dietrich- adhesive tape city pictures

The medieval town history is closely linked to the Hohenstaufen. Hildegard von Büren , widow of Staufer Friedrich von Büren and great-grandmother Barbarossa , founded a Holy Sepulcher Chapel here around 1087 , which her sons gave to the Conques Monastery in 1094 . 1095 The monastery founded a provost and brought the cult of relics of the Holy Faith of Agen (Ste. Foy) with the Alsace. The provost ruled the city until Frederick II , at whose behest a city wall was built in 1216 , granted it the status of a free imperial city in a contract with the provost . The early Gothic parts of the parish church of St. Georg also date from this period. A new treaty with King Rudolf von Habsburg assigned the rule of the city, which was previously divided between the empire and the provost, to the empire alone. Sélestat flourished, became a member of the League of Ten Towns in 1354 , expanded its fortifications, accepted monastic orders within its walls and traded.

Property and rights of the provost were transferred to the bishopric of Strasbourg in two treaties, 1498 and 1503 . The provost's office, which was occupied by French monks throughout the Middle Ages, ceased to exist.

The imperial city's heyday

The Renaissance is the era when the city became a capital of humanism . Her Latin school and her humanist college, whose library is still preserved today, were famous throughout Europe.

The Latin school in Schlettstadt had existed since the high Middle Ages and prepared, following the example of other schools such as those in Passau , Braunschweig or Heilbronn, for a clerical profession or later studies at a university. The success of students in a Latin or monastery school brought a city fame and prestige. From the second half of the 15th century, the reputation of the imperial city of Schlettstadt as an important training center for talented students and as a center for scholars in humanistic thinking spread far beyond the borders of the country. Latin-speaking students and local scholars were in regular contact at this time and thus formed a talent factory for the rulers of the time, including the emperor or the city elites, in which they recruited their secretaries, advisors, lawyers, translators or treasurers.

Most of Schlettstadt's students who continued their studies graduated or obtained their doctorate at the universities of Basel , Heidelberg , Strasbourg or Freiburg , where some of them taught. Some students also studied outside of the Upper Rhine area, for example at the universities of Paris or Krakow .

In his hymn of praise “Encomium selestadii carmine elegiaco” from 1514 to 1515, Erasmus of Rotterdam expresses his admiration for Schlettstadt as a place of training and a stimulating place to stay or meeting point for numerous well-known scholars and bright minds: “Tot pariter gemmas, tot lumina fundis in orbem. Quot multis aliis vix genuisse datum est “.

The imperial city made a name for itself through these thinkers, educators or theologians, some of whom were born or resident in Schlettstadt, as well as through the functionaries in the service of the imperial administration or the emperor himself. Some worked more or less in the background on some imperial diets such as the one at Worms in 1521. As secret secretaries or legal experts, former students of this Latin school had an immediate insight into what was happening in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation at that time .

However, the Reformation , the Peasants' War and finally the Thirty Years War marked the decline of the city. After the King of France had been the owner of the bailiwick since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 , Sélestat finally came to France like the other members of the League of Ten in the Peace of Nijmegen in 1679.

Head of the Latin School

Renowned students of the Latin school

Jakob Wimpfeling and his students in conversation with Thomas Murner
Maximilian I was advised by some people from Schlettstadt

During the Reichstag between 1521 and 1555, however, Johann Maius is only mentioned once by name: He came to the Reichstag in Regensburg as Secretary of Ferdinand I in 1532. Three other secretaries accompanied the king: Johann Ferenberger, Johann Obernburger and Gabriel Sánchez. The chancellor in the delegation was called Bernhard von Cles. In the same period, Johann Spiegel is only mentioned as secretary to Emperor Charles V in the Diet of 1521.

Starting point for new Christmas practices

While Strasbourg is known for having put the first entire Christmas tree in a public square in the city for the whole of Advent, Sélestat is considered the birthplace of the Christmas tree . An entry in an account book of the Humanist Library dates from 1521: “Item IIII schillinge to have the foerster die meyen on saint Thomas day” (4 schillings to be paid to the forester so that he can guard the trees from St. Thomas Day ). Although this entry serves to document the transition between decorated, suspended fir branches and the whole fir tree in private homes for the first time, it does not quite prove that Sélestat introduced this custom. This new practice probably arose in the more global context of the opposition between the established Catholic Church and the Lutherans in the Lower Alsace region between Strasbourg and Schlettstadt, which gained in importance in the 16th century. In addition, the imperial city flourished in many areas in this century and its population was certainly receptive to socio-religious innovations.

It is documented in many places in Alsace that arrangements and wall or door decorations made of evergreen plants were viewed extremely poorly by the Catholic Church, as they were, as is well known, introduced by the Protestants. In particular, Johann Geiler von Kaysersberg , preacher of the Strasbourg cathedral, denounced these customs because he feared the return of pagan customs. In Alsace, the feast of St. Nicholas was traditionally celebrated and that's why St. Nicholas markets were held. As in the other imperial territories that had become Protestant, the Lutherans also wanted to celebrate Christmas in Alsace: first a whole fir tree hung on the ceiling of the room, then it was placed in a bucket full of sand. The mayors of the villages were supposed to uncover abuses in the stately forests nine days before and nine after Christmas. At the end of the 16th century, whole fir trees were already standing first in the Alsatian guild houses, then relatively early in all more or less elegant family houses.

French period

Vauban built new fortifications and the city became the site of a French garrison. It regained some prosperity, but its growth remained low compared to other Alsatian cities. With the administrative reforms of the French Revolution, Schlettstadt became part of the Bas-Rhin department . In 1846 Schlettstadt had 10,365 inhabitants.

Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine

During the affiliation of the city to the German Empire (1871-1918), the city was the seat of the Schlettstadt district in the Unterelsaß district . Around 1900 Schlettstadt had a Protestant church, two Catholic churches, a synagogue , a grammar school , a teacher’s seminar , an agricultural winter school, a theater, a forest ranger's office , a main customs office and was the seat of a local court .

The König-Karl-Kaserne was built here around 1876/80. In 1914 the Rhenish Jäger Battalion No. 8 was stationed there. Between 1918 and 1940 it was occupied by the French army as Caserne Schweisguth .


Annual population figures while belonging to the Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine (1871-1919)
year population Remarks
1872 10,040
1890 10,365
1905 9700 with the garrison (a hunter battalion No. 8 and a machine gun division No. 10), mostly Catholic residents, according to other information, 9,699 residents
1910 10,604
Number of inhabitants since the end of the Second World War
year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2007 2013
Residents 13,818 14,635 15,248 15,112 15,538 17.179 19.303 19,332



The double tower facade of the Romanesque Saint Fides Church
  • The Romanesque church of St. Fides ( Sainte-Foy ) dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. Because of her, Sélestat is a stage on the Romanesque Road of Alsace.
  • The Gothic Church of St. George ( Saint-Georges ) was built between the 13th and 15th centuries.
  • The Protestant Church ( Temple protestant ) was built in the 19th century using the Gothic choir of the former Franciscan Church from the 13th to 15th centuries.

Old town

Sélestat has a beautiful old town with winding streets. The baroque Hôtel d'Ebersmunster and the mighty clock tower ( Tour de l'horloge ) are among the most remarkable buildings .

Humanist library

The humanist library (Bibliothèque humaniste), founded in 1452, has been located in the Kornhalle, which was converted into a museum, since 1889. It consists of the library of the humanist school of Sélestat in the 15th century and loans from the more than 500 books Libraria Rhenania , the private library of the humanist Beatus Rhenanus .

The works on display include the oldest surviving book in Alsace (7th century Merovingian lectionary), a copy of the Capitular Charlemagne (9th century), a 10th century copy of the “Ten Books on Architecture” by Vitruvius , Beatus Rhenanus' exercise book from 1499, 450 manuscripts and 550 incunabula .


  • Maison du Pain d'Alsace

Other historical buildings

Town twinning

Sélestat maintains city partnerships with Dornbirn in Vorarlberg ( Austria ), with Grenchen in the canton of Solothurn ( Switzerland ) and with Waldkirch in Baden-Württemberg ( Germany ).


The world's largest manufacturer of shopping trolleys , Wanzl , has been operating a production plant in Sélestat since 1980. The company, headquartered in Leipheim , mainly produces products for the French market. Sales and service departments are also located here. The kitchen manufacturer Schmidt Groupe also has a plant here.


The former Route nationale 83 Strasbourg - Lyon runs in a north-south direction . From this, the former Route nationale 59 to Lunéville branches off to the west in the center of the city . Other former national roads in the urban area are the 422 and 424 .


sons and daughters of the town



  • Le Patrimoine des Communes du Bas-Rhin. Flohic Editions, Volume 2, Charenton-le-Pont 1999, ISBN 2-84234-055-8 , pp. 1215-1231.

Individual evidence

  1. C. Reedijk (ed.): The Poems of Disiderius Erasmus. Leiden 1956, pp. 314-316, poem no. 98 with footnotes, online .
  2. Brief biography on the website of the University of Basel .
  3. He is described as an outstanding natural scientist, see the website of the University of Basel .
  4. ^ Johann Friedrich Franz: Thomas Plater, attempt to portray his life, as a contribution to the history of scholars from the time of the Swiss Reformation, initially edited for Germany's young people studying. Volume I, Huber, St. Gallen 1812, pp. 190–191.
  5. First mentioned in many sources as a well-known printer, after the bankruptcy of his printing company he became head of the Latin school on the recommendation of Protais Gebwiler, son of the former rector. Among others in: Percy Stafford Allen, The Age of Erasmus Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London, Tredition classics, 2012, chap. V, p. 155, online .
  6. Schürer's book Gravamina Germanicae nationais cum remediis et avisamentis ad Caesarem Maiestatem , published in Schlettstadt in 1518, was banned in Venice in 1549 and 1554, see Jesús Martínez de Bujanda : Index de Rome: 1557, 1559, 1564. Les premiers index romains et l'index du Concile de Trente. Librairie Droz, Geneva 1990, p. 409, conviction no. 160 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  7. See Bibliography, Joseph Gény, p. 190.
  8. in Luigi Firpo: Les Utopies à la Renaissance: colloque international, Presses Universitaires de Bruxelles. 1963, p. 119, Kapsar Stiblin is described as a "utopian of the Renaissance".
  9. Available in Commentariolus de Eudaemonensium Republica (Basel 1555), Volume 21, Theory and Research: Philosophy and Theology, Caspar Stiblin, Rédacteur Isabel-Dorothea Jahn, Éditeur S. Roderer, 1994, ISBN 3-89073-737-4 .
  10. For example, he certified the Latin documents at the Reichstag in Worms in 1521, see Paul Kalkoff: The Worms Reichstag of 1521: biographical and source-critical studies on the history of the Reformation. Munich / Berlin 1922, R. Öldenburg publishing house.
  11. ^ Théodore-François-Xavier Hunkler: Histoire des saints d'Alsace. Levrault, Strasbourg 1837, p. 423.
  12. ^ R. Aulinger, S. Schweinzer-Burian: Habsburg and imperial class presence on the imperial days of Emperor Charles V (1521–1555) as reflected in the imperial register of 1521. A prosopographical record. In: Spaces of Action, Facets of Political Communication in the Early Modern Age. Festschrift for Albrecht P. Luttenberger on his 65th birthday, Munich 2011, pp. 109–164.
  13. The other councilors and envoys at the Reichstag in Regensburg in 1532 were Gabriel Salamanca, Leonhard von Fels, N. Haderer, N. Jobst, Ulrich Ehinger, Hans Hofmann von Grünbühel and Wilhelm von Roggendorf.
  14. The other people present at the emperor's side were Jean Glapion, Hernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, Wilhelm von Groy, Chancellor Mercurino Gattinara, Nicolaus Ziegler, Vice Chancellor and Longvogt of Swabia.
  15. ^ Simone Morgenthaler: Décors et recettes de Noël - Traditions d'Alsace. La Nuée bleue publishing house, DNA Strasbourg, 1994, ISBN 2-7165-0332-X , pp. 66–91, chapter Sapin et décorations d'autrefois - E Christmas tree decorated like friejer .
  16. Ibid, p. 66.
  17. a b c d M. Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006)
  18. a b Meyer's Large Conversation Lexicon . 6th edition, Volume 17, Leipzig / Vienna 1908, pp. 862–863 ( Zeno.org );
  19. ^ Complete geographic-topographical-statistical local lexicon of Alsace-Lorraine. Contains: the cities, towns, villages, castles, communities, hamlets, mines and steel works, farms, mills, ruins, mineral springs, etc. with details of the geographical location, factory, industrial and other commercial activity, the post, railway u. Telegraph stations and the like historical notes etc. Adapted from official sources by H. Rudolph. Louis Zander, Leipzig 1872, Sp. 55 ( online )

Web links

Commons : Sélestat  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Sélestat  - travel guide