Strasbourg, the Alsace and the Stork

Strasbourg and the Alsace

Flag AlsaceMany regions parts of Europe claim to be at the “heart” of the continent, but unlike the others, the Alsace, or “Elsass” in Alsatian, is truly at the heart of Europe’s political and economic life. Alternative home to the European Parliament and in the centre of the Rhine valley, which has for millennia acted as a principle trade route between Northern and Southern Europe, Strasbourg and the Alsace region are uniquely situation for business, technology, trade, and transport.

Standing on an island formed by the canalization of the River Ill in the centre of the City of Strasbourg, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, standing 142 meters tall, dominates the landscape and is visible across the flat Alsace river plain from as far away as the Vosges Mountains or the Black Forest in neighbouring Germany. Considered to be one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture in Europe, the Cathedral is also the sixth-tallest church in the world and was described by Victor Hugo as a “gigantic and delicate marvel”, and by Goethe as a “sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God”. Built from local Vosges Sandstone between 1015 and 1439 in certain lights the Cathedral has an attractive pink hue.

 TheStork Stork

Icon of the Alsace, the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) represents the tenacity, loyalty and fidelity of the region’s inhabitants. Polyplus is a Company born in and centred in the Alsace. While many of the team working at Polyplus today come from other parts of France, through the miracle of Epigenetics, the Company culture is of tenacity to deliver the best transfection solutions to scientists, loyalty to its customers through service and technical support, and fidelity to its employees and shareholders.

Stork – Modern Myths

If a stork is flying above your house, then a baby is on the way. If a baby has been born, that means a stork has flown to the underground lake where the souls of the dead have been reincarnated as babies. The stork has fished out a new-born, wrapped it in a sheet, and carried it back to your house. Does that sound a little crazy? Maybe you haven’t spent enough time in Alsace sampling the wines and beers of the region.

Storks are faithful creatures. They will return to the same nest for their entire lives. The male stork arrives first, sometime in early spring, to reclaim and repair the home he and his spouse left behind. This comes after a winter migration of up to 15,000 kilometres—sometimes as far away as South Africa! The team at Polyplus also love travel and “getting away to the sun in the winter”, so finding volunteers to attend scientific meetings in Palm Springs or San Diego in January is not a problem.

Food & Wine

Food and wine are important in many countries and cultures – but perhaps in France this is taken to “a higher level” sometimes too “high”. President Charles de Gaulle once said, “how can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?”. Perhaps he was referring to France which also more than 300 wine appellations. At Polyplus, the awareness of and appreciation of food and wine separately, but more often together, is high and a both are a major conversation topic when we are not talking “transfection efficiency” or “protein titre”. Food also provides an excuse to socialize in and out of the office (in some companies this is called team building – but at Polyplus we call it going out to lunch or dinner). And it’s not all Michelin Star restaurants and menus.