The people of Strasbourg are called Strasbourgeois. It's the official term used to describe those who come from this emblematic city in Alsace. But do you know what the people of Strasbourg are called in Alsatian? Or do you know the affectionate nickname that history and tradition have bestowed on them? I'll tell you all about it 😉
The demonym is Strasbourgeois
While the inhabitants of Schiltigheim are known as Schilikois and Schilikoises, those of Strasbourg have a much more obvious demonym. The inhabitants of Strasbourg are known in French as Strasbourgeois for men and Strasbourgeoises for women.
This designation covers not only people born and raised in Strasbourg, but also those who have chosen to make the city their home.
It should be noted that the term is the same in the singular and plural for men: un Strasbourgeois, des Strasbourgeois. For women, however, it changes in the plural: une Strasbourgeoise, des Strasbourgeoises.
What do you call the people of Strasbourg in Alsatian?
Let's move on to Alsatian, where the names of the people of Strasbourg are not quite as simple. There are two main terminologies: Strossburier and Strossbùrjer.
The first is directly inspired by "Strossburi", the Alsatian name for Strasbourg. This is the term used by Emilienne Kauffmann on the local alsatian radio France Bleu Elsass.
The second is the one recommended by the Office for the Language and Cultures of Alsace and Moselle (OLCA), which tells us that in Bas-Rhin Alsatian we say Strossbùrjer. This version is close to the German Strasburger, with "burger" meaning citizen in neighbouring Alsace.
Meiselocker, the nickname of the people of Strasbourg
In Alsace, every town and village has its own nickname, and Strasbourg is no exception! Here, the people of Strasbourg are proudly known as Meiselocker. This term can literally be translated as "chickadee charmers", but it also hides a touch of humour. In fact, "Meiselocker" can also mean "smooth talkers".
Where does this nickname come from? The story goes that in spring, young people in Strasbourg would set traps to catch chickadees, which they would then sell at the market.
But the nickname may also have its origins in history. In 1552, the troops of King Henry II of France attempted to take the city from the heights of Hausbergen, just outside Strasbourg. The people of Strasbourg used a cannon called "Meis" (chickadee in Alsatian) to successfully repel them.
From then on, the people of Strasbourg proudly said - with a touch of exaggeration, I'm sure - that their cannon fired from Strasbourg all the way to Hausbergen. It's a good excuse for the Alsatians to tease them with this nickname.
The Meiselocker statue in Strasbourg
Strasbourg has a few nods to the nickname Meiselocker. The first is this bronze statue in the Place Saint-Étienne. Created by Ernest Weber and unveiled on 17 November 1929, it depicts a young boy with a pipe in his mouth and a cage in his left hand, symbolising bird-catching activities.
At the back, on the pedestal, is a poem in Alsatian that ends by saying that anyone who has never baited tits is not a real boy!
In homage to this nickname, an Alsatian restaurant also bears the name 'Le Meiselocker', near Place Saint-Etienne. Is it a nod to the nearby statue or a reference to the nickname of the locals?