Soufflenheim ( German Soufflenheim; formerly Suffelheim ) is a commune with 4966 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2011 ) in the department of Bas- Rhin in the Alsace region. It is known for its pottery and is therefore also called Cité des Potiers.


Soufflenheim is situated in a hilly forest, field and meadow landscape in the floodplain about 15 km east of Haguenau, 30 kilometers northeast of Strasbourg and 35 km south-west of Karlsruhe. 5 km east runs the Rhine, immediately west and north of the municipal territory extends the Forêt de Haguenau; this borders on the Hanauer Landstrasse and the Natural Park North Vosges, which forms the cross-border biosphere reserve Palatinate Forest -Vosges du Nord, together with the Palatinate Forest.

South of Strasbourg starts at Marlenheim the Alsace Wine Route.


The pottery in the forest areas of present-day northern Alsace is known, according to archaeological finds from the Bronze Age. Prerequisite for the development of this craft were several meters thick clay layers beneath the sandy soil of the area.

Whether and to what extent the Gauls and Romans used the clay pits, is a critical source not used. We have not found pottery from the ancient times in the area, but a settlement is not documented.

In the 9th century, one of Irish monks built, Saint Michael consecrated church on the Kirchberg is occupied. For today's St. Michael's Church, there is no continuous connection. It is also unclear whether the plane was built below the hill.

Soufflenheims history of the Middle Ages and the early modern period coincides with that of Haguenau and his forest. 1147 the village was first mentioned in a document. At that time Frederick I Barbarossa granted the local potters exploitation rights to the clay pits within the imperial hunting ground. In this context, different stories - presumably legends - narrated how the miraculous rescue of the emperor by a potter before an angry boar, as well as donations of nativity figures made ​​of clay to the emperor and his entourage.

In the late modern era pottery experienced a decline. During the 19th century were still alive 30 municipalities in the region of this craft, there are now only two - namely next Soufflenheim only Betschdorf. 1837 were still in Soufflenheim 55 pottery establishments, employing about 600 people registered; by 2006, there is only one-third of it.

One of the causes are the wine and tourism in Alsace, who surpassed as the main economic sectors pottery and focus on the south of the region. Furthermore, the recreational value of the community is affected by the high frequency on the thoroughfare and the lack of infrastructure, in particular the lack of traffic-free walk with the small number of accommodations, catering establishments and shops as well as informative documentaries about the historic local attractions.


  • The parish church of St. Michel, which is not the immediate succession to the early medieval chapel of St. Michael, comes from 1825. The ceiling frescoes of the hall building with neo-Romanesque form elements, and a square tower were destroyed by bombing on February 8, 1945. Get some wood sculptures, among others a St. Joseph, on its base, the crest of the local guilds are shown, including the potter coat of arms with three for triangle arranged cans that finds itself at some exterior walls in the city. A ceramic stations of the cross on the left side wall designed Léon Elchinger, the father of the eponymous Bishop of Strasbourg.
  • In the heterogeneous fabric of the place to mix some restored half-timbered houses from the 18th century.
  • The main attraction are the potteries along the Grand ' Rue, and in some side streets, which are often approached in the context of group tours, but can be attended individually.

The pottery today

The pottery farms about 20 working in the field finished decoration and tableware. Typical of the country are particularly Bundt cake, Baeckeoffe and other baking molds, also are vases, pitchers, bowls, wine coolers and complete service on offer.

The traditional color of ceramic Soufflenheimer was rust brown, the color of the clay, with white daisies decor. Today is made with regard to the diversified tourist taste also goods in blue, green, beige and red in a variety of finishes, either abstract geometric patterns or figuratively with vines, plants and flowers and animals (especially stork, duck, chicken or fish).

Such decorations are now partly made in many places in Alsace than factory goods; the affiliation of an enterprise to the Confrérie des Artisans de Potiers Soufflenheim guarantees the actual origin of the goods from the community. However, this affiliation says nothing about the design and size of the business of (alone working craftsmen, family workshop or medium- operation with employees ). Only 8 of the Soufflenheimer farms belong to Brotherhood, but also among the non-organized potters there are those that exclusively sell their own locally produced goods. Some see themselves as artists and sign their merchandise name.

The mold is made ​​at the turntable and refined usually two days later and provided with the decors. Firing is about 14 hours at 1000 ° C.


In addition to the French as the official language of the Alsatian German is still spoken regularly in Soufflenheim and also maintained cultural (theater, cabaret ).


The floodplain with their villages at Soufflenheim is very popular with cyclists. A section of the Rhine Cycle Route goes past here.

Golfers will find on the periphery of the community an 18- hole championship course and a 9- hole course with spacious apartment complexes, restaurants, practice area with driving range and 6 -hole short course. The designed in a parkland course with 18 lakes conceived in 1994 Bernhard Langer.


  • Biréli Lagrène jazz musicians
  • Léon Arthur Elchinger, Bishop of Strasbourg

Twin Cities

Literature / Sources

  • Soufflenheim - Terre de Mémoire de vies Potiers, ed. by the Tourism Soufflenheim 2006
  • Emile Decker, Olivier Haegel, Jean -Pierre Legendre, Jean Maire ( Collectif ): La Ceramique de Soufflenheim, 150 ans de production en Alsace 1800-1950, Lieux Dits 2003, ISBN 2-914528-05-1
  • SWR - TV show " coffee or tea " of 19 May 2006