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Huningue (Municipality, Haut-Rhin, France)

Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: haut-rhin | huningue | fleurs-de-lis: 3 (white) | crowns: 3 (yellow) |
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Municipal flag of Huningue - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 March 2005

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Presentation of Huningue

The city of Huningue (6, 500 inhabitants) is located in southern Alsace, 30 km south of Mulhouse, close to the borders with Germany and Switzerland. This ares is known as Pays des Trois Frontières (Country of the Three Borders). A bigger city in that region is Saint-Louis (20,000 inhabitants).

The oldest mention of Huningue dates back to 828. In the Middle-Ages, the village and the big estate of Colonge belonged to the Chapter of the cathedral of Basle. The village was ceded to the Hapsburgs at an unknown date, but remained highly coveted by Basle. For a century, the Hapsburgs had to leave Huningue to Basle as a security for a loan.

In 1648, the Treaties of Westfalia ended the Thirty Years' War; all the Hapsburg possessions in Alsace, including Huningue, were ceded to France. Louis XIV asked Vauban to build a fortress in Hunigue in order to control the Rhine. The fortress was besieged in 1796-1797 and 1813-1815, to no avail. After the fall of Napoléon, Basle, which had always considered the fortress as a threat, obtained its suppression.

In 1846, the municipal territory of Huningue was reduced for Saint-Louis and Village-Neuf. Huningue remained a minor garrison town until 1876. Industrialization, which started at the end of the XIXth century, was stopped by the First World War.
During the Second World War, 60% of the city was destroyed. After a long period of reconstruction, Huningue eventually turned a profit of its location. Industrial parks (mostly chemical industry) were created close to Basle, as well as a port on the Rhine.

In 1843, Rémy and Gehin discovered artificial fecondation in fish, which was the basis of modern pisciculture (fish breeding). The famous physiologist Milne-Edwards (1800-1885) was commissioned by the French government to study the feasability of fish breeding. He assessed the method set up by the fishers of La Bresse (Vosges) and presented a very enthusiastic report to the President of the Republic and the Minister of Agriculture. On 26 August 1850, a Decree ordered the generalization of the La Bresse method; artificial breeding of fish and set up of fish farms were encouraged, under the supervision of the Department of Civil Engineering (Ponts et Chaussées). In 1851, the Senate stated that "all rivers had impoverished". After several trials, the first fish farm was opened in Baume-les-Dames (Jura) in 1852.
In 1853, M. Coste, Professor at the Collège de France, published his Instructions pratiques sur la pisciculture and was appointed Director of the Huningue fish farm, located on the municipality of Blotzheim. Eggs were collected from fish in different regions of France and distributed to 76 French departements and 17 foreign countries. Hundred millions of eggs were produced in 18 years.
After the French defeat in 1870, the fish farm of Huningue became German, and France did not receive any egg until 1880. Herman Haack worked on European fish species (zander, silurid) as well as on American species (black bass) and introduced huge quantities of salmon and truit alevins into the Rhine. After Haack's death and the reincorporation of Alsace to France, the fish farm was operated by the Jacquet family for truit breeding until 1973. The farm was definitively closed in 1978. It should be transformed into a research unit and a museum of the nature reserve of the Alsatian Little Camargue.


Ivan Sache, 11 March 2005

Municipal flag of Huningue

The municipal flag of Hunigue, as confirmed by the municipal administration, is horizontally divided blue-yellow-red, with three white fleurs-de-lis in the blue stripe and three reversed yellow crowns in the yellow stripe.
This flag is derived from the municipal arms of Huningue, which are (GASO):

Coupé : au premier d'azur aux trois fleurs de lys argent rangées en fasce, au second de gueules aux trois couronnes renversées d'or ; à la fasce d'or brochant sur la partition.

Brian Timms gives:

D'azur à trois fleurs de lis d'argent rangées en fasce, coupé de gueules à trois couronnes renversées d'or et posées deux et une, et une fasce d'or brochant sur le tout.

That is:
Per fess azure three fleurs de lis in fess argent and gules three crowns reversed or overall a fess of the last.

The arms were ascribed by the Armorial Général. They combine elements of the arms of France (the three fleurs-de-lis) and of Upper-Alsace (the three crowns). Since the bend of Upper-Alsace is converted into a fess, the crowns appear upside down. On the arms, the crowns are placed two and one, whereas they are in fess on the flag.
Timms notes that a more logical blazon could have been: Tierced per fess azure... or and gules...
In 1683, Louis XIV approved the additon of a fess gules charged with three fleurs de lys or to the arms of the city. There is unfortunately no record of the arms to which the fess would have been added.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 11 March 2005