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The main engine of the Alsatian economy is the tertiary sector, including tourism. The industrial sector also performs well in Alsace, as does agriculture, although it is no longer so important in terms of added value for the economy. Nevertheless, with around 25% of the workforce employed in industry, Alsace is still one of the largest industrial regions in France. The four largest industrial sectors are mechanical equipment, food processing, plastics processing and automobile manufacturing.
In terms of its contribution to gross domestic product, Alsace ranks second in France, after Ile de France, in terms of wealth. The region also has a relatively low unemployment rate.
More than 60,000 Alsatians work in Germany and Switzerland.
Service sector 69%
Alsace has two international airports with Strasbourg Airport and Euro Airport Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg. The latter is showing very strong growth, especially for cargo and charter flights.
Alsace is part of the French and German road and rail networks, which are very important for Europe. More than 6 million tonnes of goods are transported every year by road and rail.
The Rhine, which forms a natural border between Alsace and Germany, is the most important commercial waterway in Europe and Alsace has several important ports on this river, including Port Autonome de Strasbourg, Port de Colmar-Centre-Alsace and the Port de Mulhouse-Rhin.
Many Alsace companies are mainly focused on Germany, which is also where about half of the investments come from.
In France, more and more "Brainparks" or "Technopôles" are being set up. These are industrial parks for emerging high-tech companies, located near university complexes and thematically or regionally oriented. Villa districts, shopping centres and leisure centres are often built around technopôles, providing a pleasant working environment. Two of these technopôles are located in Alsace, the Technopôle de Mulhouse and the Strasbourg Technopôle.
By European standards, Alsace is in the unique possession of many energy sources, such as gas, oil, nuclear energy, coal and hydraulic energy. The production of electricity in Alsace has doubled since 1975, mainly due to the installation of the nuclear power plant in Fessenheim in 1977. The promotion of 'green' energy is also high on the priority list of Alsace, including wind energy, bio-energy, and especially solar energy.
In 1903, the world's largest potash deposit was discovered in Wittelsheim, near Mulhouse. Today, this so-called potash is used as a fertiliser in agriculture.
The most important trading countries for Alsace are Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, United States, Belgium and China. In recent years, trade with former Eastern Bloc countries has increased significantly.
The towns of Erstein and Benfeld are centres of tobacco cultivation. The town of Ebersheim has the highest production in France.
South-west of Strasbourg lies the "Pays du Chou", where the cabbages for the famous Alsatian choucroute dishes come from. In Krautergersheim alone, more than 10,000 tonnes of white cabbage are turned into sauerkraut every year, one sixth of France's total production.
North-west of Strasbourg, between the rivers Bruche and Zorn, lies the "corniche of Alsace". It is a rich and fertile agricultural area, where not only corn but also sugar beet, hops and tobacco are grown.
Dominicus, J. / Vogezen, Elzas
Elzas, Vogezen, Champagne
Graaf, G. de / Vogezen en Elzas
Schuppen, S. van / Vogezen, Elzas en Lotharingen
Tschirner, S. / Elzas, Vogezen
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