Rossfeld is a small village in the Bas-Rhin with about a thousand inhabitants. Located in central Alsace in the region of Grand Ried, it is crossed by the river Zembs. The nearest small town is Benfeld.
Excavations undertaken in Rossfeld have revealed that Rossfeld is located on a former site of Roman occupation.
Indeed, in the 1st century BC, the Romans had erected a military camp Helvetus Antonin on the site of Ehl, annex of Benfeld. It is the seat of “the Great Augustus”, 8th Roman legion, and extends over 400 meters wide and more than one kilometer to the south. This military stronghold becomes an important north-south dynamic trading center between merchants of the North and those of the Middle East. The camp surrounds itself with an agglomeration that grows over the years and thanks to the system of land allocation established by the Celts, each family can become land owners to develop agriculture and provide for its needs. Thus a Roman colony was established where today is the village of Rossfeld.
How was born the name Rossfeld, what is its population?
The first notarial deeds quoting Rossfeld date from the Middle Ages around 1358-59, there is mention of a farm whose name was “Rosevelt”, from the Germanic dialect meaning “Vett (the place, the place) where grows the Rose “(the rose eglantine or the rose garden). The name of the village evolved into Rosenfeld, Rossenfeldt, Rossefeld then Rossfeld or Rossfelden in 1470.
On this date, we are referring for the first time to a team of horses pulling the plow (in German: ross = horse, feld = field). The primitive coat of arms of the village is the plow of plow laid in band on azure background and it remains the official coat of arms of Rossfeld to date.
But the reference “horse” in the name of the village imposed the horseshoe as a symbol of the village: it is still found carved on stone posts of 1746-47 in the eastern boundary of the town and the current town hall, built in 1867 , sports a large horseshoe carved in its facade.
Rossfeld has long been a hamlet: in 1663 the village had only 13 houses, about 50 people. Farming in Rossfeld are mainly day laborers, farmers, lumberjacks, millers. The village is the property of the bishops of Strasbourg and some adjoining lands to the west belong to Baron Reinach of Werde and Uttenheim until the revolution.
During the Second World War, Rossfeld was one of those villages on the last defensive line south of Strasbourg. It will be liberated in 1944 by General Leclerc then taken again in 1945. Will ensue the battle of Rossfeld where the Germans (in the East) and the French (in the West) bombard each other on the part of another from the Zembs River. It was not until the end of January 1945 that Rossfeld was finally released.
The population of just over three hundred in the early 19th century doubled in one hundred years. Since the 2000s, the population is constantly growing and Rossfeld today has about a thousand inhabitants.
The village still has Alsatian old half-timbered houses. The old miller’s house dating back to the 16th century is still present along the Zembs River. The inhabitants are Rossfeldois and Rossfeldoises.
The proximity of Benfeld (4km) has limited the commercial development of Rossfeld: there is still a bread store on rue Principale, a bar-brewery (flambé tarts, burger fries, knack) where we broadcast live football games and a food truck on Friday nights (from 18 to 20:30) where you can buy pizzas and pies flambées.
In Rossfeld you can find an area to play for free “pétanque”, it’s a game of bowls (on the right at the end of the village when you go to Herbsheim), a multi-activity area and a playground for the little ones (rue du stade). A small library is also open to the public (rue de Herbsheim, Mondays from 17 to 19h and Wednesdays from 16 to 18h). Rossfeld also has a football field for its local team.
In Rossfeld, you can request the services of a beauty salon (see our partner page, two seamstresses, a dog grooming salon, a German translator, a hairdresser.
All other shops and services can be found in Benfeld: see details on this page.
The Rossfeld coat of arms
The town hall
The village bell tower in 1945
Rossfeld in 1950
The miller’s house