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Hambach (Municipality, Moselle, France)

Last modified: 2021-01-15 by ivan sache
Keywords: hambach |
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Flag of Hambach - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 6 January 2021

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Presentation of Hambach

The municipality of Hambach (2,501 inhabitants in 1999; 1,760 ha; municipal website) is located 10 km south of Sarreguemines and of the border with Saar (Germany). The municipality is made of the village of Hambach and of the hamlet of Roth.

Since there were in the past a greater and a smaller Hambach (Grand-Hambach / Grosshambach - Petit-Hambach / Kleinhambach), the whole village was often called "The Three Hambach" (Les Trois Hambach, 1751).
The name of Hambach has three possible origines, "Hamm" as a curve in a brook (Bach); "Hamm" as the short form of Hagen, in Germanic, "a natural enclosure"; or a shortened form of Hagenbach (mentioned for the first time in 1351 as Büghel Hagenbach), referring to a settlement founded near a brook by Hagen. The origin of Roth, mentioned for the first time in 1400 as Rode, is more straightforward, referring to a clearing (see the Flemish toponyms made on rode) dating from the building of a Roman way.

Until 1561, Hambach was part of the domain of Sarralbe and therefore of the German Empire. Owned by the Bishops of Metz, the domain of Sarralbe was successively transferred to the lords of Torcheville, Salm and Bayer de Boppard. In 1561, Bishop François de Beaucaire sold the domain of Sarralbe and the attached rights to Charles III, Duke of Lorraine. Hambach belonged then to the Duchy of Lorraine, except from 1623 to 1702, when it was incorporated to the Imperial Principality of Lixheim.

This is not so straightforward. The new town of Lixheim was founded by Count Palatine Georg-Gustaf in 1608 to welcome the Protestants; the town remained independent until sold to the Duke of Lorraine in 1623. Together with Phalsbourg, it formed the short-lived Principality of Lixheim-Phalsbourg from 1629 to 1660, ruled by Henriette de Lorraine and her three (successive) husbands. In 1660, the principality was returned to Lorraine, which was incorporated to France in 1702.

Hambach is part of the business park Europôle. The main component of the park is known as "Smartville", made of the Smart car factory and its subcontractors, employing some 2,000 workers. The Smart car was imagined in 1990 by Nicolas Hayek, father of the Swatch watches. While most "traditional" car manufacturers had rejected Hayek's proposal of partnership, Daimler-Benz eventually accepted in January 1993 to set up a joint-venture with Hayek (51/49). The Smart factory was inaugurated in October 1997 by Jacques Chirac and Helmut Kohl but Hayek, not agreeing with the evolution of his project, withdrew from the joint-venture in November 1998. In 2006, Daimler-Benz closed the Smart factory in Germany and transferred the whole production to Hambach.
Daimler will relocate the Smart production to China in 2024. Smartville was taken over in December 2020 by the British chemical company Ineos, which expects to produce there every year 25,00 Grenadier mid-size SUVs.
[L'Usine Nouvelle, 20 December 2020]

Ivan Sache, 8 January 2021

Flag of Hambach

The flag of Hambach (photo, photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center.

The coat of arms of Hambach was granted on 26 November 1960 by the Heraldic Commission of the Department of Moselle, as "Or a lion crowned per bend sinister gules and sable holding three roses proper slipped and leaved vert". These arms belonged to the Bayer de Boppard family, a German lineage whose members emigrated to Lorraine in the 14th century. The Bayer were lords of Sarralbe and Hambach from 1432 to 1598; Thierry de Bayer de Boppard was Bishop of Metz (1365-1384), as was his grandnephew Conrad II (1415-1459).
According to the Armorial des communes du département de la Moselle. Tome VII. Arrondissement de Sarreguemines, published in 1964, these arms were those of the Principality of Lixheim while the bicolor lion recalls the lion sable from the arms of Bayer de Boppart.

Pascal Vagnat, Olivier Touzeau, & Ivan Sache, 8 January 2021

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