European Heritage Days 2023 - shining a light on intangible heritage

The European Heritage Days will take place from 23rd September to 1st October 2023 in Luxembourg. Under the theme "Living heritage", the Heritage Days focus on intangible or living heritage. Throughout the country, a wide range of free or reduced-price activities and events invite you to discover Luxembourg's rich cultural heritage.

European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days open the doors to places which are usually closed to the public. The objective is to raise the awareness of the wealth of European culture and to show visitors the role that this heritage - both built and natural - plays in fostering greater sustainability. In this regard, particular emphasis has been placed on events aimed at young people, highlighting the connection between the natural heritage and the resident population.

Furthermore, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention of 17th October 2003 for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 15th anniversary of the Luxembourg national inventory.

What is intangible cultural heritage?

Intangible cultural heritage includes the practices, representations, expressions, know-how and skills that communities and groups of people recognise as part of their cultural heritage. It also includes the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces linked to these practices.

Passed down from generation to generation, it is deeply rooted in communities and continuously recreated according to their bond with nature and history. It provides a sense of identity and continuity, and forges a feeling of respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. Hence, intangible cultural heritage is also categorised as living heritage.

An inventory of intangible heritage has been compiled in Luxembourg to identify and safeguard these practices. It is called the iki portal – Immateriellt Kulturierwen zu Lëtzebuerg.

Some of these traditions are well known, such as the Schueberfouer with its Hämmelsmarsch (mutton march), the Éimaischen (traditional celebration of Emmaus) with its Péckvillercher (small whistling clay birds); but others such as the Léiffrawëschdag (ritual blessing of herbs) or the Wanderschéiferei (transhumance) are well worth investigating!

The 2023 programme for Luxembourg

The agenda is brimming with a wide range of events, don't miss it! You can consult the programme on the website, which also has a brochure listing all the activities in a brief overview.

There is something to cater for all tastes and the events take place in the four corners of the country: A rally game based on the "Our Common Heritage" exhibition (Boulaide), a culinary workshop to (re)discover what steel workers ate (Dudelange), a historical tour of the Cercle Cité (City of Luxembourg) and a medieval music concert at Hollenfels Castle are just some of the 40 or more activities scheduled during the Heritage Days.

The Intangible Heritage Day – Dag vum immaterielle Kulturierwen, which takes place on 30 September in neimënster, is where you need to go to find out more about this year's theme "Living heritage". The event showcases the practices included in the inventory of Luxembourg's intangible cultural heritage: a concert by the Haupeschbléiser (trumpet players), a demonstration of the Lëtzebuerger Volleksdänz (Luxembourg folk dancers) and the construction of a dry stone wall, as well as other events. Certain activities on this special day are scheduled at specific times, while others run continuously throughout the day from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.