Top 5: Luxembourgers famous throughout the world Five personalities who have garnered their reputation outside the Grand-Duchy

The image of the Grand Duchy is nurtured through culture, the economy, advertising campaigns and development strategies. However, above all, it is Luxembourgers who represent their country at home and around the world. In this regard, we would like to introduce you to five successful people who are known across the globe.

World-renowned pianist

Francesco Tristano Schlimé was born in 1981 in Luxembourg. He started to play the piano at the age of five and he gave his first concert at thirteen, playing his own compositions. Today, he is known across the globe in the club scene as well as in classical concert halls.

The composer, producer and performer tours as a soloist or part of an ensemble with top orchestras such as the Orchestre national français de Lille or the Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg .

© Marie Staggat

His repertoire includes baroque and contemporary music: he composes, produces and records both dance pieces and the complete piano repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach. Since completing his studies at Juilliard School in New York, he has been fascinated by the flawless beauty of Bach and the rhythmic pulse of techno. He combines the two styles in the concept of "piano 2.0" where the instrument achieves a new textural expression through digital technology.

Francesco Tristano crafts his albums from personal experiences, which are told through the sensitivity and tonal richness of the piano. For him, music is a form of expression that has no limits in terms of style and time.

Today, this internationally renowned concert pianist collaborates with Sony Classical in order to release his music and still travels the world as both a pianist and an electronic artist. 

In 2022, his latest album On early music was released. And in 2023 he launched his own label, Into the Future. Stay tuned! 

Nobel prize winner

Jules Hoffmann was born in Echternach. in 1941. His father was an entomologist and professor, and opened his eyes to the world of insects and nurtured his interest in biology. In 1959, at the age of 18, he published his first article on the aquatic heteropterans of Luxembourg in the Archives de l'Institut Grand-ducal de Luxembourg, Section des sciences naturelles, physiques et mathématiques. He continued his studies at the University of Strasbourg, where he received a doctorate in experimental biology.

In 1964, he joined the CNRS - Centre national de la recherche scientifique where he created and directed the laboratory Immune response and development in insects.

In 1970, Jules Hoffmann adopted French nationality, a difficult decision at the time but one that was vital in order to pursue a research career. It allowed him to obtain the CNRS gold medal, the highest scientific research award in France.

© Catherine Schroder, Université de Strasbourg

In 1978, he became the director of the Humoral Biology of Insects laboratory at the CNRS. He also worked at the University of Strasbourg in various institutes and devoted his time to the study of the mechanisms of innate immunity and the expression of the immediate response genes in the vinegar fly, the Toll receptor. In 2011, his research and findings in this field earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with his two American colleagues, Bruce Beutler from Dallas (Texas) and Ralph Steinman from the Rockefeller Institute in New York.

Jules Hoffmann is currently a member of the Académie des sciences et de l'Académie française. He also holds the Chair of Integrative Biology at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Strasbourg (USIAS).

International designer

Sarah Meyers, together with Laura Fügmann, founded the company Meyers & Fügmann. They are creators of textile design and products. They divide their work between Luxembourg and Berlin.

Sarah was born in 1987 in the Grand Duchy and met Laura during her studies at the Weissensee-Kunsthochschule in Berlin. They graduated together from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam having created their work in glass, ceramics, plastic, wood and metal. Since their studies, they work for the Jongeriuslab Design Studio in Berlin and started their own company.

© Meyers & Fügmann

A key characteristic of their design process is the voluntary integration of the parameters and states of transformation of the materials during the manufacturing process, i.e. the creative experience and unexpected outcomes form an integral part of their design concept. This "technique" was awarded with the Luxembourg Design Award 2017, in the product design category, for their "Couleurs-sur-Sûre" textile, crafted in cooperation with the Duchfabrik of the Naturpark Öewersauer. The blankets are made from regional wool that has been dyed with mostly regional plants and woven in the Duchfabrik.

Vases and other decorative items are always finished in cooperation with local craftsmen.

Through their designs, Sarah and Laura aim to share their experience, skills and sensibility with the user, as well as a sense of responsibility for their products.

Their creations are on sale in boutiques throughout the world (Berlin, Bochum, Eindhoven, Paris, Luxembourg, etc.) and online. Go ahead, spoil yourself! 

Managing an international festival

In 1998, Martine Dennewald visited the Avignon Festival with her mother. This was the moment she realised what she wanted to do with her life: support artists and become the driving force which holds everything together behind the scenes. She studied dramaturgy in Leipzig and completed her Masters in cultural management in London. As no university offers studies in "how to run a festival", Martine learnt through experience.

Born in 1980, she directed the Theaterformen international festival which alternates between Hannover and Brunswick in Germany from 2015 to 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a programming director at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt and at the "Young Directors Project" of the Salzburg Festival.

In summer 2021, she begins collaborating with Jessie Mill, the co-artistic director of the TransAmériques Festival in Montreal, an international dance and theatre festival. The 16th edition of the festival in 2022, which marks their first collaboration, offers a vibrant and international programme in which artists from 18 countries join local dance and theatre groups. Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill are committed to promoting works based on dialogue, sharing and open-mindedness.

© Hamza Abouelouafaa

Martine's desire to communicate freely with artists led her to learn eight languages! These language skills will definitely come in handy during her time at the helm of the Montreal festival, where she would like to explore what connects performing arts in Quebec and around the world, as well as contribute to sparking an artistic debate between the three Americas, and establish an inclusive and egalitarian vision of the movement of works and artists.

We look forward to the outcome... the stage is hers!


Damon Johanns is 19 years old; he is an American football player who plays his trade with the Missouri Tigers at the University of Missouri in the United States.

© Mizzou Athletics

But football was not his first passion. At the age of two, he would pick up a ball and put it in every basket he found. His father, Patrick Johanns, a basketball player in Luxembourg believed that his son would follow in his footsteps. When the Grand Duchy's national basketball team asked him to join them for the European U16 and U20 championships, he declined as American football already held him firmly in its grasp! Friends convinced Damon to try out for the local high school team, Helias Catholic High School - Jefferson City, and he soon caught the eye of the team's trainers.

Despite missing two games through injury, Damon played a key role in the 2020 State Championship. His team, the Crusaders, ended the season unbeaten, with 505 yards and eight touchdowns. Subsequently, the trainer of the Missouri Tigers, a key player in college sports, sent Damon a message to say he had a place for him in the team. It was a dream come true and Damon announced his arrival at Mizzou on 2 February 2021.

Patrick Johanns and Audrey Kauffman, Damon's American-born mother, moved to the USA in 2002. Damon has dual Luxembourgish-American nationality. The connection with the Grand Duchy remains strong through regular visits. Damon is the great-grandson of former Luxembourg cycling champion Pierre Clemens!

The stadium of the Tigers has a capacity of 65,000. Besides Damon Johanns, the team has half a dozen other tight-ends. Damon is studying financial management and remains realistic about his football career, as the competition is immense. We will keep our eyes on the ball across the Atlantic and hope to see a Luxembourger in the National Football League soon!