24/08/2018

“Of planes and men - destination EuroAirport”

Coinciding with the new school year, an exhibition at the Saint-Louis town hall traces the history of aviation in the three-border region, particularly focusing on Basel-Mulhouse Airport since 1946

Organized by the Saint-Louis historical society and under the aegis of Jocelyne Straumann, deputy mayor of Saint-Louis, the exhibition ‘Des avions et des hommes: destination EuroAirport’ (Of planes and men - destination EuroAirport) was designed by André Goepfert, Chairman of the Trinational Association for the Promotion of the EuroAirport Museum and Aviation (ATPMEA), in collaboration with EuroAirport and the Saint-Louis municipal archives.

On show from 3 September to 13 October 2018 at the Saint-Louis town hall, the exhibition displays many historic aviation photographs, documents and items, some of which are from the collection of Swiss aviation pioneer, Werner von Arx, located in the north zone of EuroAirport.

The exhibition clearly shows that the pioneers of modern aviation were based in the three-country region since the 18th century. Like Daniel Bernoulli from Basel, who in 1738 laid the scientific foundations of hydrodynamics which allow planes to become airborne at all. In 1788, the Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Blanchard was the first man to fly in a hydrogen balloon from Basel and to land twenty minutes later ... in Hégenheim.

Mulhouse also played a pioneering role with the establishment in 1910 of the ‘Aviatik’ factory in Bourtzwiller; today the former test grounds are none other than the present-day Habsheim aerodrome. This was not the case for Basel’s first aerodrome, opened in 1920 at ‘Sternenfeld’, Birsfelden, which was later replaced by port and power plant facilities.

Following the rejection of several alternative projects on Swiss territory, in 1939 negotiations with France resulted in a project on the border between Allschwil and Bourgfelden. Although interrupted by the war, Franco-Swiss negotiations resumed after the hostilities.

The increasing size of aircraft prompted the decision to build an airport further north, operational within less than a year and involving major excavation and earth works. Opened in 1946, it was called the ‘Miracle of Blotzheim’.

The exhibition traces the development of Basel-Mulhouse Airport, the world’s only bi-national airport, through the years, and which registered its brand name ‘EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg’ in 1987. Through the prism of French and Swiss personalities who actively promoted the development of the airport, the exhibition also presents the airline companies and aviation service companies which have gone into making EuroAirport what it is today.

The exhibition is open to the public in Saint Louis town hall (ground floor) from 3 September to 13 October:
Monday to Thursday, 8 am to 12 noon, 1.30 - 5.30 pm.
Friday, 8 am to 12 noon, 1.30 - 5 pm.
Saturday 10 am – 12 noon

Free admission

Ville Saint-Louis –
www.saint-louis.fr


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