It's National Day in Luxembourg! It's a great opportunity for everyone to gather for the festivities organised across the entire country on 22nd and 23rd June. This day of celebration is firmly anchored in Luxembourgers' minds and it provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy two days of concerts, fireworks, games for children and commemorative ceremonies.
Popular festivals all over the place
The ceremonies will get under way at 4 p.m. on 22nd June with the traditional changing of the guard in front of the Grand Ducal Palace, with the participation of an honorary detachment from the Luxembourg Army. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Luxembourg Military Band. The show will really be worth your while!
It is also an opportunity to meet members of the Grand Ducal families: while the Grand Ducal couple visit a different town in Luxembourg each year, the Grand Duke's heir, accompanied by his wife, always visits the country's second largest city, Esch-sur-Alzette.
Torchlight procession and fireworks
The eve of Luxembourg's National Day is above all a time for festivities. A large number of popular events are organised across the entire country. The programme is so loaded that wherever you are, you can be sure that you will be among the festivities, whether you are a resident or a tourist.
A highlight of the evening is certainly the Fakelzuch, the torchlight procession. It is made up of national and local associations, walking bands and folk groups parading through Luxembourg City. To the rhythm of Luxembourg walking bands and music bands of foreign communities in Luxembourg, the groups parade before the Grand Duke Henri and the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.
But the evening's stunning finale takes place at dusk, at 11 p.m., as the sky bursts into flame with a spectacular firework display. A long-awaited moment by thousands of people each year!
Ceremonies, parade and events
The programme for National Day starts on 23 June at 10 a.m. with an official ceremony at the Luxembourg Philharmonie. The Grand Ducal family attends it, just as deputies, as do government officials and the general public. It is first and foremost an occasion for the Grand Duke, the Prime Minister and the President of the Chamber of Deputies to address the country as a whole, but it also features high points such as when honours are awarded to deserving Luxembourgers.
It goes without saying that the Philharmonie goes hand in hand with concert halls. In fact, the official ceremony ends with music played by the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year, the honour of creating this musical work goes to a different composer.
The ceremony in the Philharmonie is followed by the traditional 21-gun salute fired in the Grand Duke's honour.
The ceremonial drill and the military parade are always a magnet for crowds along the boulevard where troops will march. The parade brings together representatives of the army, police, customs, Grand Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps, prison administration, Red Cross and music bands of the Grand Duke Adolphe Union. Luxembourg military planes fly over the parade at low altitude.
The official programme ends with the traditional Te Deum in the late afternoon at Notre-Dame de Luxembourg Cathedral, in the presence of members of the Grand Ducal family.
Animation for everybody
On top of the official ceremonies, there is the traditional Spillfest (games event) in the park in Luxembourg City on the Kinnekswiss, a large green area amidst the Municipal Park in Luxembourg City, which is a raging success. This event - which takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - provides an opportunity to discover some unusual educational games offered by a number of associations and national and international performers. Attendance is free of charge and there will of course be stands with snacks and drinks.
For fans of military vehicles and uniforms, the army organises its Arméifest (army festival) on Place des martyrs square, better known under its Luxembourgish name: Rousegäertchen ( rose garden). There, the army displays military vehicles and systems and you can enjoy a friendly drink.
This marks the end of the two days when Luxembourg's society and all its communities participate in order to show the country's unity.