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From 1945 to the present - The unprecedented development of Colmar

1946 :

Colmar is decorated with the croix de guerre 1939-1946 with bar.


1947 :

As part of the decentralization of French theatre, initiated by Jeanne Laurent, the Deputy Director at the Ministry for the Arts, the Centre dramatique de l´Est is formed in Colmar.

Joseph Rey becomes Mayor of Colmar and will remain in office for thirty years, making a vital contribution to the city´s development.

1948 :

The first Regional Wine Fair is held in Colmar. The event will soon become a flagship both for the local economy and for regional tourism.

1958 :

The Colmar industrial zone is created to the north of the city.

Colmar´s industrial zone, as it is now.

A new industrial zone

1959 :

The city creates a new housing belt to the east that would be completed ten years later and house 12,000 people.

1960 :

Opening of the Colmar-Neuf-Brisach Rhine port.

1963 :

Pierre Pflimlin, the President of the Council of Europe´s Consular Assembly, presented Colmar with the European Flag of Honour in a ceremony held in front of Matthias Grunewald´s of Issenheim altarpiece in the Unterlinden museum.


Opening of Colmar-Houssen airport.

Creation of the Communauté d´intérêt Moyenne Alsace-Brisgau, a pilot body set up to foster cross-border economic cooperation and development.

The west of the city, as it is now.

1966 :

A decision taken at Ministerial level makes a large part of the old town of Colmar a listed historical monument, protected by the law.

1968 :

The restoration of the quartier des tanneurs (the tanners´ district), begins and will be finished in 1974. Inauguration of the exhibition centre in the north of the city. The university faculty takes in its first students.

The Atelier lyrique du Rhin, part of the Opéra du Rhin, a regional opera company covering Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Colmar, is brought to Colmar.

Spectacular restoration works

1972 :

The City Council extends the listed area to cover practically the whole of the old city. Work begins on St. Martin´s collegiate church, to be finished in 1985.

1974 :

22 June - the legendary Pink Floyd concert in the exhibition park packs in 12,000 fans.

1975 :

Colmar´s population climbs to 67,410 inhabitants and the first pedestrian precinct is opened.

1978 :

The number of visitors in one year to the Unterlinden museum tops the 350,000 mark, making it the most popular regional museum in France.

1979 :

Colmar inaugurates its International Music Festival in the Dominican church, under the baton of German conductor Karl Münchinger.

1983 :

The city is twinned with Eisenstadt, capital of Burgenland in Austria, a winemaking town that was home to Joseph Haydn.

1987 :

Colmar twins with Princeton, the famous American university town, the day after the hundredth anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, sculpted by Colmar´s Auguste Bartholdi.

1989 :

Russian conductor and violinist Vladimir Spivakov takes over as Director of the International Music Festival, which soon gains a well-deserved international reputation.

Vladimir Spivakov, director of the Colmar International Music Festival.

1990 :

The Théâtre de la Manufacture opens in the old tobacco production building, which houses L´atelier du Rhin, the regional drama centre and lyrical workshop, part of the Opéra du Rhin. 

1993 :

The Colmar I.U.T. (Technical University) with its four teaching faculties, wins its independence within the Université de Haute-Alsace.

Colmar is twinned with Györ, a historical Hungarian city with a population of 120,000, situated between Vienna and Budapest.

1995 :

The Colmar by-pass opens, bringing to an end the last bottleneck on the main north-south road-link in Alsace.

1996 :

The André Malraux contemporary Art Gallery opens. Two major new cultural events are inaugurated: the jazz festival and the "7 days for the 7th art" film festival.

1997 :

The Old Town is given a facelift and the old streets renovated. The work on St. Matthew´s church, a former Franciscan church, is completed. Colmar launches a spectacular and ambitious programme using attractive light arrangements to enhance the city´s heritage.

Restored, St. Mathew´s church hosts the International Music Festival.

1999 :

A vast residential renovation programme is initiated by Gilbert Meyer, mayor of Colmar since 1995, to improve the western part of the city. The first stage involves the Palais Royal district.

2000 :

Colmar´s theatre is completely refurbished, a redesigned, car-free Place Rapp and an extended, modernised open-air theatre in the exhibition park.

Inside the theatre