Period III newsletter

Arlesheim. Birseck castle, Ermitage, Cathedral. Photo/Foto: TES.

Arlesheim and the Congress of Vienna

The village of Arlesheim (Canton of Basel-Landschaft) is best known for the English Garden of 1785, the Ermitage and the cathedral, built in 1681.

Arlesheim reads like a Swiss history book. The medieval castles of Birseck and Reichenstein are located on the hilltops. They are a symbol of the town’s strategic importance.

The cathedral in a village of a few hundred inhabitants was the outcome of their sixteenth- and seventeenth- century political and religious quarrels.

The bishop and his Dom Lords were expelled from Basel in the years 1525-1529.

The bishop went to Porrentruy.  After many wanderings, the canons and chapter moved to Arlesheim in 1678. The cathedral (Baroque and Rococo style) and the cathedral square and the four city palaces were built in this period.

Sabina von Andlau-Staal (1739-1817) created the English garden around 1770.

Arlesheim became the administrative regional centre of the Allied Forces after the defeat of Napoleon.  Conrad von Andlau (1766-1839) became the Governor of the territory by appointment of the Allies on 15 January 1814 (to govern the French departments of Doubs, Jura, Vosges, Haute-Saône, the county of Montbéliard and the prince-bishopric of Basel).

Arlesheim was a village of European political importance.  However, decisions were made in Vienna, Paris, London, Berlin and Moscow, the capitals of the victors.

The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) and subsequent treaties (Paris, 30 May 1814 and 20 November 1815, and Turin, 16 March 1816) decided on the political future of Switzerland and the territory of the prince-bishopric of Basel.

The European rulers knew Arlesheim before the Napoleonic Wars: They had visited the famous Ermitage.

Clemens von Metternich, Tsar Alexander, the former wife of Napoleon, Marie-Louise, and the Habsburg Archdukes Johann and Maximilian were in Arlesheim  before 1792.