Basel, Strasbourg Monument/Strassburger Denkmal. Photo/Foto: TES.

The Strasbourg Monument

The monument of 1895 (Strassburger Denkmal) opposite the Basel main train station (Basel Bahnhof SBB) is dedicated to the French-German war of 1870-1871. Strasbourg had been conquered by Louis XIV (1638-1715) in 1681.

The city belonged to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which can still be seen in the many German place names. The Franche-Comté and its capital Besançon were also annexed by Louis XIV (1678). This region belonged to the Spanish-Habsburger dynasty.

In the Franco-German war of 1870-1871, however, the roles were reversed and Strasbourg was conquered by the Prussian King William I (1797-1888) after a siege of two months (September-October 1870). The king became German Emperor in Versailles in 1871.

The French emperor Napoleon III (1808-1873) lost his throne, however. The memorial is an initiative of Strasbourg to thank Basel for the great humanitarian support during this war.

The Bourbaki Panorama in Lucerne is also a reminder of this war. The monument was designed by Fréderic-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904), who also made the Statue of Liberty in New York (1886) and the Lion of Belfort (1880).