Haguenau, Cradle of Creches in Alsace
1420 – 2020
Already 600 years how long ago was the first mention of a nursery in Haguenau and which made our town the cradle of nurseries in Alsace, and even beyond!
On the occasion of this anniversary 600 years, for an artisan potter from Betschdorf, symbolically created a custom-made nursery for the City of Haguenau which was unveiled on Saturday 12 December on the forecourt of the Espace Saint Martin.
Installed in a glazed chalet, it can be permanently admired during a walk in the city center until January 10.
Creation of a nursery on the occasion of this anniversary
It is naturally that the order was sent to one of our local potters. The link between Haguenau and the potters has always been strong: it is Emperor Frédéric Barberousse who would have given the potters the right to extract free of charge and perpetually clay from the basement ofe the forest of Haguenau in the 12th century.
The “Les Grès de Remmy” pottery from Betschdorf, symbolically created a crèche at the request of the City of Haguenau and the Sports and Leisure Office on the occasion of this anniversary: a unique work, which will mark this anniversary for many years.
The Remmy Sandstones have been producing quality work for several generations: it is indeed the oldest family business in France! Founded in 1594, originating in the French Ardennes, the Remmys settled in Betschdorf in 1820. Since that time, between tradition and modernity, the adventure continues and the Grès de Remmy now produce Raku ceramics and agniceramic .
The crèche created specially for this anniversary was made thanks to this particular technique: this ceramic of well-being provides energy thanks to a preparation based on water, plants and minerals in maceration which is mixed with Betschdorf clay. This mixture makes it possible to confer an extraordinary vibratory rate on the ceramics produced.
A little bit of history
Un register kept at the Municipal Archives of Haguenau mentions the creation of a nativity scene at Saint Georges Church in 1420. It is the most old written record of the existence of a nursery in Haguenau.
Pierre Eckard and Georges Mertzwiller, the werkmeisters (receivers) of l'OEuvre Saint-Georges, scrupulously record, day after day, the expenses and receipts in a modest notebook. On the 25th sheet, between a purchase of hosts and candles, we can read: “Likewise, the construction of the crèche surrounded by branches, on the exterior walls of Saint-Georges, cost 4 schillings less 4 pfennigs. Hermann provided the said branches ”.
These three modest lines, written with a quill pen in black ink, are probably the earliest mention of the existence of a crib in a church. Haguenau would thus be “Cradle of nativity scenes in Alsace”, perhaps even for the whole of the Holy Roman Empire! Until proven otherwise…
In Sélestat, we find, in 1521, the oldest mention of the "Christmas tree", in Strasbourg the Christmas market dates from 1570 ... With Haguenau and its nativity scene from 1420, Alsace is definitely the cradle of Christmas magic!
The team of the tourist office is at your disposal to help you prepare your stay in the Land of Haguenau or to suggest activities during your holidays. Come and discover an authentic territory with its crafts, its forests, its Alsatian traditions ...