Strasbourg Opens on Friday a “Christmas market XXL” under High Security

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The Strasbourg Christmas market opens on Friday under high security

The Christmas market in Strasbourg, after two editions tightened because of the terrorist threat, opens Friday in a “Version XXL” …

The Strasbourg Christmas market opens this Friday in a “Version XXL” extended by one week and more extensive, but still under surveillance. Two million visitors of all nationalities are expected in the Alsatian capital for this 447th edition that installs cabins on three new squares of the historic town centre.

Because of the terrorist threat, the market will be under high surveillance.  The authorities conducted a similar safety device last year: 17 checkpoints where 140 security guards will filter access to the large island of Strasbourg with the checking of bags, and pat-downs.

“The terrorist threat is still present”

Of all the measures justified that “the terrorist threat is still present,” recalled the prefect Jean-Luc Marx early November. “We need to take the necessary security measures” he said.

“After two years on the issue of security, it was important to go back to basics. It’s the return of XXL Christmas in Strasbourg, a Christmas market extended and expanded, “welcomed the first deputy to the City, Alain Fontanel (LREM).

Almost 300 chalets, fifteen thematic markets, 36 days of festivities: the Strasbourg market closes on Christmas Eve, December 24th. But it will be extended until December 30th in the Cathedral Quarter.

Higher security at this years Strasbourg Chrismas market
Policemen stand guard at the entrance of the Strasbourg Christmas Market November 27, 2017 (© AFP / File / PATRICK HERTZOG))

Concrete blocks to stop an attack by a ram vehicle

Aisles of the market will be particularly monitored by the military operation of the Sentinel, and the police will conduct random checks of people.

In the center for pedestrians, motor vehicles will be subject to severe restrictions of traffic and parking.

“We will have again a city without a car, a city without noise,” promised Alain Fontanel.

Pits in the tram tracks and sleepers (concrete blocks) must fend off an attack ram vehicle, as in Nice, London, Barcelona.

December 19th, 2016, in Berlin, an attack using a truck had killed 12 people on a Christmas market.

An edition “appeased”

The Socialist mayor Roland Ries, if “zero risk does not exist,” there is no question of “give in to blackmail and terrorism.”

Mulled wine “bar table” bright, night parties: the City hopes edition “appeased” that meet the “demand of authenticity” of the public.

Approximately 250 million euros of economic benefits are expected, with a budget of 2.5 to 3 million. One million euros will be spent on security, against 300,000 before the attacks in 2015.

The guest country this year is Iceland with 13 pères Noël represented by pranksters leprechauns, ten crafts cottages and culinary specialties, smoked salmon and lamb, fish soups, and the famous Pylsur, hot dogs Icelandic.

Police officers patrolling the Strasbourg Christmas Market
Police officers patrolling the Strasbourg Christmas Market November 27, 2015 (© AFP / File / PATRICK HERTZOG)

Firs and trolls

Symbol of the Strasbourg market, the big tree installed Place Kléber caused some problems this year in the City: a first shaft, taken from a Vosges forest, was broken during culling operations in late October.

The second tree was cracked and had to be charged on site shortly after being installed. Teasing and critics are then multiplied on the cost of the operation for the taxpayer. Alain Fontanel chose irony to meet and blamed playful Icelandic trolls.

The market will be open to the public this Friday at 7.00 pm, with the festivities starting by singer Christophe Willem, sponsor of the edition 2017, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, the cathedral and the very popular “Christkindelsmärik” ( child market Jesus).

A “clapping” Icelandic celebration popularized by the football team during Euro-2016 which is to clap in unison growing rapidly, is expected Saturday.

The Christmas market of Strasbourg is one of the oldest in France and one of the first established in Europe. The first historical traces of this market dates back to 1570.

The Christmas market of Strasbourg is one of the first established in Europe
The Christmas market of Strasbourg is one of the first established in Europe (© AFP / File / FREDERICK FLORIN) (©© AFP / File / FREDERICK FLORIN)

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