The Land of the Red Rocks - called the Minett by Luxembourgers - lies in the South of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It owes its name to the bright red colour of the ore that was at the heart of the success of the iron and steel industry in Luxembourg during the industrial era. In fact, the region reveals a beautiful industrial heritage that serves as a witness for themomentum of the past, but also for the capacity for innovation in an area that is now geared towards sciences and cutting-edge research. The vitality of the Land of the Red Rocks also perspires in its trendy cities that offer a wide range of cultural activities. And let's not forget nature and environment: in October 2020, Minett Unesco Biosphere joined the world network of Unesco Biosphere Reserves!
Travelling through time via a unique industrial heritage
With a visit of the Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, you can travel through Luxembourg's industrial history and discover the narrative of miners who worked tirelessly. The Fond-de-Gras is a small valley whose hillsides were pierced by numerous mining galleries. This valley was a major industrial site and largely contributed to Luxembourg's economic development from the 19th century to the 1960s. Today, it is a green and peaceful valley.
Fans of old trains and children will have a great deal of fun in the park: the steam train known as the Train 1900 travels between Pétange and the Fond-de-Gras. The mining train known as the Minièresbunn takes visitors through old mining galleries in order to reach Lasauvage, a village where miners used to live. The museum not only tells the story of the village, but also that of a group of young Luxembourgers who took shelter in a mine to avoid having to wear the Wehrmacht uniform during the Second World War.
The Cockerill Mine Museum in Ellergronn is a unique place of preservation and enhancement of an exceptional mining heritage. It is not only about drills and machinery, but first and foremost about the story of the men who contributed to Luxembourg's economic success. The former Katzenberg mine is falling apart after it was operated for many decades, but it has not fallen into oblivion. A group of former miners who were passionate about their work and wanted to share their experience to future generations decided to take control of the site. Following renovations, this museum that is nested in the Ellergronn nature reserve is a great site to explore!
Culture and innovation - the core of society's development
The industrial past of Esch-sur-Alzette, the capital of the Land of the Red Rocks, also builds a cultural future for the region. In fact, the culture, innovation and rehabilitation of its heritage are intrinsically linked. As a result, cultural life is very vibrant and there are modern and alternative places that encourage participation and discovery.
The Kulturfabrik for example, is a former slaughterhouse that has been converted into a transcultural space. Artists in residence develop or perfect artistic creations across borders and open to all forms of art. The Kulturfabrik's team offers an annual programme with over 200 events covering - among others - cinema, literature, music, exhibitions and dance.
The Rockhal is Luxembourg's not- to- be-missed concert venue, where you can see famous music bands every year. It's the perfect venue for fans of rock, metal, pop, rap or electro.
Several buildings located on the terrace of the blast furnaces in Belval are being rehabilitated to host performances, exhibitions and events in the context of Esch2022, European Capital of Culture. In these new places, culture is rethought, reformulated and seen as a core element of society's development.
The theatre known as Escher Theater is the modern classic of the region. Since it was inaugurated in 1962, it takes a cross-border and multicultural stand through a multilingual programme. Since 2018, the plays aimed at a young audience have embodied one of the main lines of the theatre's project.
Science and research in focus
Over the last few years, Belval has turned into Luxembourg's knowledge hub.
The area's history across time is truly fascinating. It is probably a reflection of the country's dynamic characteristic and the fact that it's always seeking innovation. In 1850, Belval was a leisure area, before becoming home to the first steelworks in the early 20th century. In 1913, over 3,000 workers produced a total of 400,000 tons of cast-iron, 360,000 tons of steel and 297,000 tons of rolled products! Curiosity for history buffs: the area also witnessed the building of the European Union. In fact, on 30 April 1953, Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Coal and Steel Community, carried out the first casting of European steel, a symbolic moment that took place in Belval.
In the 60s and 70s, the steelworks and blast furnaces were entirely converted and modernised. Bit by bit, the blast furnaces were brought to a halt in the 90s. Today, the district welcomes the University of Luxembourg. The young campus of the University in Belval attracts, in particular, scientific institutes and research centres, such as in the fields of biomedicine and IT.
While Belval goes hand in hand with cutting- edge research, Differdange is synonymous with education and knowledge for all. The Luxembourg Science Center invites you in a fun and interactive environment of discovery. It will amaze children, and, who knows, perhaps tomorrow's great scientists!
A UNESCO-labelled landscape
In October 2020, Minett UNESCO Biosphere was officially integrated into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO 'Man and the Biosphere' programme. This natural area has become a learning ground for sustainable development, rich in biodiversity and a site of historical significance. With a surface area of 200km2, the region has had protected natural areas at national and communal level since the 1990s. It is a genuine gift for lovers of nature and industrial history.
How to enjoy this unique natural heritage?
Mountain bike lovers are in for a great adrenaline rush all along the RedRock MTB Trail. The circuits are rated difficult and the trails are demanding and varied. Visitors who would like to relax while keeping fit can use one of many hiking trails. For all tastes and audiences!