Festival and traditions

National Day 2017: let's celebrate together!

Festivities and rejoicing everywhere in the country

Luxembourg's National Day will be celebrated on 23 June 2017. As every year, tens of thousands of Luxemburgers, foreign residents, cross-border workers and tourists gather in the towns and villages of Luxembourg to celebrate the anniversary of HRH the Grand Duke.

Traditionally, the festivities for National Day take place over two days: 22 June is mainly devoted to large-scale popular festivities; 23 June is characterised by official events.

Highlights of the National Day

Visits by members of the grand ducal family

Every year, on the occasion of the National Day, several members of the grand ducal family, joined by members of the government, visit a number of towns around the Grand Duchy. These include as usual Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest town in the Grand Duchy, which welcomes the hereditary grand ducal couple on 22 June 2017 at 5 p.m. at the Place de la Résistance. A good opportunity to see the couple up close!

TRH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess will make an appearance in Bettembourg, where they are awaited at 6 p.m..

Popular festivities

The festivities of Luxembourg City are mentioned in many travel guides, and for a good reason! On the evening of June 22, the city transforms into a bustling open-air concert area, with stages that host music bands, and terraces that add their own sounds and rhythms. Special buses and trains depart from Luxembourg City, so that all the partygoers can get home safely and soundly after the end of the festivities.

Moreover, countless streets of towns and villages in the country transform into party miles, where thousands of revelling residents and visitors meet to listen to concerts, dance and enjoy themselves.

Torchlight procession (Fakelzuch)

Groupe de scouts participant à la retraite aux flambeaux

Held in Luxembourg City every year on the eve of the National Day, the traditional torchlight procession always attracts thousands of onlookers. It is made up of many clubs from the City of Luxembourg, and is followed by the Military Music's marching band. At 9.20 p.m., the procession departs from the Red Well in the Grand-Rue and passes by the official platform opposite the Place de la Constitution on Boulevard Roosevelt, next to the Cathedral.

Fireworks in Luxembourg City

The fireworks to celebrate the birthday of HRH the Grand Duke are fired from the Grand-Duc Adolphe bridge and light up the sky at 11 p.m. on 22 June 2017 during 17 minutes. The best places to see the fireworks are the Place de la Constitution (Gëlle Fra), the Viaduct (Al Bréck), as well as the Hollerich and Gare districts. It is nonetheless visible beyond the limits of Luxembourg City.

Soldats et policers présentent leurs drapeaux lors de la parade

Official ceremony, military parade and Te Deum

On 23 June, an official ceremony is going to take place at the Luxembourg Philharmonie. It begins at 1 a.m., followed by a shooting of 21 shots from Fetschenhof at 11 a.m.. During the traditional ceremonial drill, which takes place at 11 p.m. in the Avenue de la Liberté, HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke inspect the troops, before attending a military and a civilian parade. A Te Deum takes place at 4.30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg.

Army Festival

On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the volunteer service at the army and as part of the 175th anniversary of the Military Music, the Luxembourg Army invites the general public and all those interested to attend the 'Arméifest um Rousegäertchen' on 23 June 2017, after the ceremonial drills. Taking place on Place des Martyrs in Luxembourg City, this popular festival to celebrate the anniversary of these two milestones in the history of the Luxembourg army starts at 1.30 p.m.. Until 4 p.m., the public is offered a free drink a traditional snack by the army. At the same time, the army displays military equipment and vehicles, including a historic carriage. The Dixie Band of the military music ensures the musical accompaniment.

The programme

Here is a summary of the official programme:

Thursday, 22 June 2017Le Grand-Duc Henri parle aux écoliers pendant sa visite

  • 4 p.m.: Ceremonial changing of the guard outside the grand ducal Palace in Luxembourg City.
  • 5 to 7.15 p.m.: TRH the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess visit the town of Esch-sur-Alzette.
  • 6 to 7.30 p.m.: TRH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess visit Bettembourg.
  • 9.20 p.m.: Torchlight procession of the clubs of Luxembourg City and the Military Music's marching band in the presence of the members of the grand ducal family (boulevard Roosevelt).
  • 11 p.m.: fireworks fired from the Grand-Duc Adolphe bridge.

Friday, 23 June 2017

  • 10 a.m.: Official ceremony at the Philharmonie Luxembourg.
  • 11 a.m.: 21 gun salute fired from Fetschenhaff.
  • 11.30 a.m.: Ceremonial drill in the presence of HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke (Avenue de la Liberté).
  • 4.30 p.m.: Te Deum at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg.

Switch your transportation mode

As every year, the streets of the City of Luxembourg will be filled with partygoers, and in addition a number of streets will be closed to traffic – so we strongly recommend using the free public transportation network (trains and buses) to travel into the city. Thus, special bus services have been organised for the eve of National Dayfrom 6 p.m. on 22 June until 3.15 a.m., all buses of the City of Luxembourg are free of charge

Games festival, art festival in Lellingen, etc.

In addition to the official programme, there is a wide-ranging programme of activities for residents and tourists. The major events are:

  • the games festival (Fête des Jeux), organised by Luxembourg City's Educational and Leisure Centre (Centre d'animation pédagogique et de loisirs, CAPEL), turning the Kinnekswiss in the municipal park from 10 a.m. into a world of creative workshops and games for the whole family;
  • a number of free public concerts on the Place d'Armes and the Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg City;
  • the Open Air Konstfestival Lellgen (an open-air art festival).

During the whole week, cualtural events will enliven the city, in the context of the Luxembourg City Tourist Office's 'Summer in the City'.

Royal-grand-ducal origins

The origins of National Day date back to the 19th century, when Luxembourg was ruled by the king of the Netherlands in personal union; indeed, the national day was the king's birthday, and was thus called Kinneksdag (king's day). The ruling dynasty took over this tradition, until Grand Duchess Charlotte, who ruled from 1919 to 1964. In 1961 it was decided to switch the date for National Day (now called Groussherzoginsgebuertsdag, i.e. Grand Duchess' birthday) from 23 January to 23 June – for meteorological reasons.

National Day has been celebrated on 23 June each year since 1962. So, this is the 54th time National Day is being celebrated on 23 June.

(article drawn up by the editorial team of the luxembourg.lu portal)

  • Updated 26-06-2017