The largest square in the city is named after the Dutch King William II of Orange-Nassau (1792-1849),... who reigned as Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1840 to 1849. In 1848, he proclaimed a constitution for Luxembourg that was considered one of the most liberal in Europe at the time. A large bronze statue of him on horseback stands in the middle of the square facing the classicist Town Hall. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, you can buy regional delicacies from Luxembourg, Germany, France and all over the world. Women come in from the countryside to sell home-made jams, schnapps and liqueurs made from fruit from their own gardens.
The people of Luxembourg's nickname for Place Guillaume, Knuedler, comes from the knots (Knued means knot) that the Franciscan monks used to tie in their belts. Up until the invasion by the French in 1793 there was a Franciscan monastery and church on this site. Every summer an open-air rock festival known as "Rock um Knuedler" takes place on the Place Guillaume (http://www.rockumknuedler.lu).more
The underground passageways and galleries of the fortification that gave the city its name extend over... a distance of 23 km (14 miles). The Austrians began work on the casemates under what was then the castle in 1745. This underground military world with its so-called "Rondellen", 54 gun positions, hall-like caves, embrasures and a number of original cannons, was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, together with the Luxembourg old town. During the Second World War, up to 35,000 people at a time sought refuge from the air raids in the casemates. In one of the crypts there is an accurate scale model of the fortifications. A film tells the history of the complex. As you walk around the casemates, you are frequently pleasantly surprised by a sudden view of the city and the valley from the former gun positions.
It took experts 16 years - from 1867 to 1883 - to dismantle the fortress and its many bulwarks, forts and defence lines, in compliance with the Franco-Prussian treaty. What remains is still impressive, especially for the tourists.more
Right behind the Luxembourg Philharmonic Hall on the ruins of an old fort of the Luxembourg fortress... is the MUDAM building, designed by US architect Ieoh Ming Pei. Under the motto "Be the Artist's Guest", visitors can experience selected art in spacious, friendly and ingeniously lit rooms.
Each work is given enough space to ensure full effect, including the glittering "Message in a bottle" that reaches up to the ceiling and the pagoda-style bird cage full of colourful canaries. The exhibition designers see the building as part of the work of art. Visitors can even help design the building in one room. The museum shop sells many one-off items.more
In the wake of the bank towers and European Union buildings, Kirchberg, a quarter in the northeast of... the city, is now witnessing a veritable cultural building boom. Leading French architect and Pritzker prize winner Christian de Portzamparc designed the futuristic, gleaming white Philharmonic Hall which opened in 2005. On the outside it is lined with 823 columns and inside it houses two concert halls, the acoustics in which are highly rated by experts. The culinary highlight is provided by the Papila Aromarestaurant.
In addition to classical music and other concerts, the Philharmonie offers numerous events aimed at children and young people - for example, workshops with famous musicians. For guided tours of the building please register in advance by phone or via the Philharmonie's website. The site also has up-to date information on upcoming performances.more
This state-of-the-art museum opened in autumn 2007 in Fort Thüngen, which was built by the Austrians... and extended by the Prussians, and documents the history of fortress building in Luxembourg and elsewhere from early history to today's NATO bunkers.
Ever since the fort was dismantled, the remains of the former fortifications have remained buried in the earth. All that was left standing were the fort's three towers, known as the "three acorns". The site was covered by undergrowth. The original fort is now being faithfully reconstructed. The museum and its underground passages are part of the Vauban Walk. The fort is named after Austrian Fortress Commander von Thüngen.more
1,500 years ago, people had already been taking shelter on the acropolis hill of Vianden, but the foundations... of the castle were not laid until the 11th century. The lords of Vianden Castle had always been among the most important princes of the kingdom. After the era of the knights, the castle survived earthquakes and dilapidation and even its usage as a quarry. Today, after a careful restoration, it shines in new splendor and proudly presents its treasures: the weaponry with the moldy knights' armors, the two-story chapel demonstrating the class distinction between aristocracy and followers with different furnishings, and the lords’ kitchen including chimney, oven and a gigantic stove.more
With the motto "1000 Years in 100 Minutes", this guided walk around the Bock promontory provides a good... insight into the history of Luxembourg, while offering views of the old town, the Alzette valley and the fortress. The route connects the upper and lower part of the town and the most important sights, such as the Bock promontory, the fortifications in the Alzette valley and the Wenceslas Wall. On account of its cultural and historical wealth, the European Council has classified the walk as exemplary.
Parts of the the Wenceslas Walk share the same route as the Vauban Walk, named after the French military engineer Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), who, during the reign of Louis XIV, designed several fortifications built in Luxembourg. At the time, they were considered impenetrable. The Vauban Walk takes visitors through some of the fortifications from the 17th-19th centuries: Bock promontory, old town, Pfaffenthal and Clausen, Fort Niedergrünewald, Fort Thüngen and Fort Obergrünewald.more
Two million photographs in the Luxembourg photo archives provide an in-depth insight into the history... of the city and country. The collection can also be seen as a journey through the technical and stylistic development of photography: the oldest photographs are from 1855. Renowned photographers such as Batty Fischer and Theo May have bequeathed work to the museum.
The Cinematheque or Film Museum - amongst the largest in Europe - regularly screens some of its more than 13,000 films in cinemas and, in summer, in open-air sessions, including works by Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Raoul Walsh, Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, Douglas Sirk, Samuel Fuller and Max Ophuls.more
In a former monastery next to the Neumünster Abbey, the Museum of Natural History showcases the country's... natural spaces. Visitors can travel through 15 billion years of natural history using the many interactive audiovisual terminals, encounter fossils and dinosaurs, learn about the movement of the earth's plates and lift off into space (at least in thoughts and images).
A separate room provides information on the varied flora and fauna of Luxembourg, as well as the rocks and fossils underneath the surface. The "Nature without Frontiers" exhibition is designed as a guide to the natural beauty of Luxembourg and a stimulus for gentle, environmentally-friendly tourism. Another part of the exhibition looks at how man works together with and depends on the nature around him. Visitors are encouraged to actively explore their surroundings and observe living creatures with magnifying glasses and in terrariums.more
In the 7th century, the Irish monk Willibrord came to Germania in order to spread Christianity among... the pagans. After he died well advanced in years and was buried in Echternach, so many people pilgrimaged to his grave that the church he had erected had to be renewed and extended again and again. Today, it looks like once in the 11th century: the appeal of the Roman church with four towers and a crypt from Carolingian times lies in its simplicity. People still commemorate the saint: each year on Whit Tuesday, thousands of pilgrims watch the famous dancing procession in the city of Echternach. The museum of book illumination in the basement of the abbey exhibits magnificent specimen of the Echternach book art.more
The living conditions around Echternach seem to have been fantastic in ancient times. This is demonstrated... by the Roman villa, which housed the richest and most important landowners of the Trier region between the 1st and 5th centuries. The two-story manor house was as big as a palace. Dozens of rooms, richly decorated mosaic floors, expensive marble paneling, pillar hallways, inner courtyards with water basins and fountains, even an entire bathing complex reveal the owners’ immense prosperity. And in the cold winter months, they simply turned on the floor heating. A small garden shows which plants were cultivated by the Romans. In the information forum including models, figures and videos, visitors can get an idea of the Romans’ everyday life.more
The Corniche promenade, also known as Europe's most beautiful balcony, follows the narrow valley of the... Alzette River along the old city walls of the fortifications built by the Spanish and Austrians in the 17th century. The path connects the Bock promontory with the Citadelle du St. Esprit (Citadel of the Holy Spirit) and the former "Grunder" Gate, a city gate built in 1632.
Only after the fortifications were dismantled in 1870 were the steep steps of the Corniche levelled. Since then, the view extends to the Alzette, which snakes its way through a strip of green in the gorge-like valley below. One can also see the small former fishermen's and labourers' houses in Grund and the Rham Plateau. The Plateau, which stands above the Alzette on three sides, was used by the military engineer Vauban for the construction of barracks in the 17th century. The plateau now provides a lovely view of the valley and the Corniche.more
The main building of this former Jesuit church was originally constructed in the 17th century in a pure... late Gothic style. Renaissance-style ornamentation and other elements were added later. The typical Gothic stained glass windows remain, reaching up towards the skies and dominated by the colours of red and blue. The north portal shows a figure of the Virgin Mary. The church was extended as recently as the 1930s.
Since the 18th century, an image of the Patron Saint of Luxembourg, Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, has attracted countless believers. Members of the grand ducal family have been buried in the crypt for generations. The cathedral's three slender spires and the three naves of about the same height can be seen from practically virtually everywhere in the city.more
Street cafés and restaurants surround this spacious square in the heart of the old town. A column is... dedicated to Michael Lentz, who wrote the lyrics to Luxembourg's national anthem and to the poet, writer and composer Edmond de la Fontaine. In summer, people like to sit outside and enjoy the balmy evenings under the lime trees on the pedestrianised square. The first trees were planted here by Louis XIV's troops, who used the square as a drill and parade ground.
With its arcades and the frieze above the windows, the Cercle Municipal (City Palace) is the main attraction on Place d'Armes. The relief depicts Countess Ermesinde giving the people of Luxembourg their charter of freedom in 1244. From 1953 to 1969, the building served as the meeting place for the European Coal and Steel Community, a forerunner of the European Union.more
For many the palace, which was built in 1572 in the Renaissance style as the town hall, complete with... bay windows and Moorish Arabesques, is the most beautiful building in the city. The flag on the roof and the number of guards tell you if the Grand Duke and Duchess are at home. If there are two guards, then their highnesses are normally in residence. In summer, when the Grand Duke's family is staying in the countryside, parts of the city residence are opened to visitors. You can see a collection of old weapons and the Noblemen's Hall, in which the Grand Duke now receives guests for audiences.
The town hall that originally stood on this site fell victim to a gunpowder explosion in 1554. Twenty years later it was rebuilt. The right wing of the building was added in 1741 as a "Stadtwaage" (or municipal weights and measures office) and the adjacent Parliament building was added in 1859.more
Housed in a 350 m (380 yd) tunnel underneath the State Bank, the gallery shows changing exhibitions,... mainly contemporary art from Luxembourg. Admission is free. It also frequently showcases the work of the famous Luxembourg-born photographer Edward Steichen (1879-1973).
The underground passage, which opened in 1987, was originally planned as a simple link between the four State Bank buildings on the Bourbon Plateau. Somebody then came up with the idea of using the dead space for exhibitions. Now, exhibitions featuring more than 120 paintings and sculptures by native and leading international artists add life to the tunnel. In the foyer, soft daylight filters in through the large opaque glass ceiling.more
The modern Bank Museum, which opened in 1995, looks back at the last 150 years of banking history separated... into various themes over its 650 sq m (6997 sq ft) of space. It also explains the development of the Luxembourg State Bank and Savings Bank and its role in the Luxembourg economic miracle.
In the eleven themed areas, visitors can see a stock exchange hall, use various information columns and watch a video of the most spectacular bank robberies of the 20th century - from Lucky Luke to Louis de Funès. The museum also provides insight into the modern world of finance and what the banking profession is all about. Visitors can also try out electronic and fax banking.more
Château de Clervaux is extraordinarily impressive. Located on a hill in the center of a village and... with the surrounding forests, the romantic oxbow of the river Clerve, the strong walls and the high, serious slate roof, the castle looks as if it has been taken from a picture book. It is the right place for lovers of medieval fortresses: 22 models of Luxembourgian fortifications including defense towers, castle moats and drawbridges are exhibited in the castle museum. The exhibition on the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 opens a more recent chapter. The famous permanent exhibition “Familiy of Man” by the photographer Edward Steichen shows with 500 photos that, despite all conflicts, all men are brothers in the end (http://www.fom.lu).more
A white, uninviting modern block on site of the former fish market in the old town houses the National... Museum of Art and History, which features exhibitions which are amazing in terms of both design and content. Amongst other exhibits, the visitor can see Roman mosaic flooring found in Luxembourg - one of the best surviving examples north of the Alps.
A part of the collection exhibited in particularly well preserved patrician and noble rooms is dedicated to local folk art and commercial art from the 17th to the 20th century and to reverse glass painting from various parts of Europe. The general aim is to achieve harmony between the rooms and the exhibits shown in them. Other rooms are dedicated to prehistory and early history, the Gallic-Roman period, the Middle Ages, the Fine Arts and Decorative Arts. There is also a coin and medal collection and an exhibition of old weapons.more
Bourscheid Castle, the biggest castle between Rhine and Maas, was erected on a rock above the river Sauer.... A donjon with merlons, the Stolzemberger house with a high stepped gable, four circular watchtowers with peaked slate roofs as well as the remains of various other buildings rise on the 12,000 m2 area. In the late 11th century, the first buildings were erected on the hard-to-reach slate rock. In the following centuries, the fortification was extended to a huge complex including a wall, a dungeon, eleven towers, a chapel and a great hall. Thanks to the carful restoration and partial reconstruction, visitors walking through the complex will easily be carried back into the times of the lionhearted knights. If not, the worth-seeing castle museum may assist their fantasy.more
This elegant Casino, which was built in 1882 in a Mediterranean style, has long been a centre for the... social and artistic scenes in Luxembourg. Franz Liszt gave his last concert here in 1886 while visiting his friend, Hungarian painter Mihály.
In the mid-20th century, the State took over the building and leased it to the European Community, which used it as the "Foyer européen" for cultural and other events. Since 1995, the former officer's casino, now converted into a gallery, has devoted itself to the many facets of modern art in changing exhibitions: painting, multimedia, audio, video and light installations and many other forms. Some of the art works are hung or stand in what was once the Casino ballroom. There are often several exhibitions at the same time, plus concerts, conferences and discussion evenings on art-related topics.more
Luxembourg's trams can now only be seen in the museum. Like many other cities, the lines were closed... down in the 1960s to make way for the newly popular car. The last tram drove through the city in 1964. Tram operations began in 1875 with horse-drawn carriages By 1908, when electric trams began to replace the horse-drawn cars, the network had grown to 10 km (6 miles).
The Tram and Bus Museum, which opened in 1991 in a former tram depot in Hollerich, features two old trams, two carriages and several old buses. There are also models of old trams and buses on a 1:8 scale. Visitors can also see an historic horse-drawn tram and more than 8,000 photographs documenting the history of the Luxembourg transport systems.more
The building is an experience in itself. The museum's designers have placed a several storey-high glass... panel in front of the façade of the old patrician house. The light museum foyer thrives on the contrast between old and new.
Floor by floor and room by room, on foot or using the glass elevator, the visitor can delve deeper and deeper into the city's history. At the very bottom, on the third floor below ground level, the museum tells the story of the city's founder Siegfried and the nymph Melusina - accompanied by eerie sound effects. The information posted on the exhibits is deliberately sparse, and they are often aesthetically presented out of context, sometimes using special lighting and other design effects. Background information is provided on screens, but serious historians argue that contextualisation and background are insufficient and that conflicts in the city's history are overlooked.more
The 17th century Neumünster Abbey has been converted into a culture centre. On Sunday mornings, Luxembourg's... cultural in-crowd gathers behind the high monastery walls for the "Apéro's Jazz" matinees. The Centre culturel de rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster (CCRN) show films and plays by visiting theatre groups, especially at the weekends. The programme also includes lectures, conferences, readings and concerts.
The former abbey on the Alzette lies in one of the earliest inhabited parts of the city that is now Luxembourg. The construction of the castle, which Graf Siegfried commissioned in around 963, brought many craftsmen and labourers to the city. They settled in the area now known as Grund. The Abbey was dissolved in 1796 under French rule. It later served as a hospital, an orphanage and finally a a prison, which closed in 1985. During the German occupation (1940-1944), the Gestapo imprisoned resistance fighters and other antagonists here. The occupation forces interned some 4,000 people in Neumünster. Many of them were deported to Germany and murdered.more