For this article, we have decided to ask leading figures of the cultural South sector to reveal to us their cultural favourites in the region, in broad terms, in order to let you discover unique places and attractions.
Featuring an iron and steel past, the cradle of the economic prosperity of yesteryear, strongly linked to migration, and a present geared towards the future, the South is a region that has developed a strong identity. In fact, the industrial and cultural heritage bears witness to its history, the University of Luxembourg represents innovation and know-how, and the strong urban planning is part not only of a growing economy, but also of a desire to move forward. Culture is omnipresent in the South through its cosmopolitan population, by the nomination of Esch-sur-Alzette as the 2022 European Capital of Culture and by its popular cultural centres.
Lasauvage - an otherwhere
Tania Brugnoni, Head of the creative hub 1535°in Differdange, invites you to discover an otherwhere in Lasauvage. She is behind the largest incubator of Luxembourg's creative industry from the very start and offers us a journey through 'a rich history, a particular architecture, and a very beautiful landscape' of this village.
Legend has it that Lasauvage - Vale of the wild woman - was 'founded' by a faun woman who lived in a cave of the 'La Cronnière' cliff. You can discover the image of the 'barbarian' and her 'exorcism' on the cliff in question.
Throughout history, various blast furnaces were built in the village, making it the country's most important production site up until 1877. The idea of installing baths and thermal baths in Lasauvage by Count Saintignon unfortunately did not succeed, but the extraction of minette (mineral deposit consisting of iron ore of sedimentary origin) was, on the other hand, a huge success. The last mine was closed in 1978.
Take a stroll on the hiking trails of the region through forests and along natural ponds, visit the municipality's museums and find out more about the history and culture of this very special town.
This ecological alternative to supermarkets is the personal favourite of Luc Spada, author, actor, curator and presenter originating from Sanem. Besides his reading evenings and stage appearances, Luc is especially famous for 'Poetry Slam' evenings that he organises with Michel Abdollahi, German speaker, artist and journalist, and who both enjoy a good reputation.
.OUNI stands for Organic Unpackaged Natural Ingredients and means 'without" in Luxembourgish. This cooperative company was created by eager young people who want to offer another option when it comes to shopping for groceries: sustainable, regional, fair trade, organic and of course, package free.
Bring your Tupperware and jars - they will come in handy!
'The atmosphere in the shop is relaxed as there are no neon lights and dubious background music', to quote the Luxembourg author.
Luc Spada also highlights the events and conferences organised by OUNI on ecological topics and encourages you to visit this place full of life and encounters, and to broaden your environmental culture.
Gaalgebierg – between childhood memories and gastronomic culture
De Läb, THE Luxembourgish hip-hop band invites you on a journey through their childhood memories and a multicultural gastronomic encounter. Defining the Minett as their homeland, they are real connoisseurs of the region.
So come and follow the tracks of Corbi (Räp and Beats) and David D.Fluit (Räp and Beats) at Gaalgebierg near Belvaux! They spent their youth on this hill located amidst Belvaux, Sanem and Esch-sur-Alzette. On the side of Belvaux, part of the restored ruins are still reminiscent of iron ore mining in Luxembourg. Old 'buggys' are hidden in the surrounding nature scenes of the educational trail that gives a living overview of the past.
Once at the foot of the hill, De Läb insists on a trip to the restaurant Gurman. Not only can you taste Croatian specialities and delicacies, but chances are that you will meet the musicians in person. It's their favourite restaurant!
Signal boxes - an exceptional historical and architectural testimony
Clean, with lots of windows, a modernist style reminiscent of the "steam liner" architectural style of the 1930s, ... this is how Trixi Weis, a Luxembourgish artist who has been residing in Esch-sur-Alzette for many years, describes her favourite element of the South: signal boxes of the flourishing iron and steel industry era. You can discover the artist's monumental works in LED light in the public space ('City Clock' (2013) on the Boulevard Kennedy in Kirchberg and at the Lallange Technical High School in Esch-sur-Alzette for example) and transposed into the sets of plays.
There is still a signal box on the 'Lentille Terres Rouges' site. Its remarkable architecture earned it the nicknames "U-Boot" (submarine) and 'mushroom'.
The project of a new sustainable, innovative and exemplary neighbourhood has been planned on this industrial wasteland in the South West of Esch-sur-Alzette.
The development of the 'Rout Lëns' as a residential area plans the enhancement of industrial heritage by rehabilitating several buildings - including the signal box. Heritage conservation is very important to the artist, who has long dreamed of opening a bar in a signal box with an exceptional rooftop terrace. A pleasant architectural favourite to be continued...
'Giele Botter' - natural culture and local gastronomy
One of the favourite Southern places of Nancy Braun, Executive Director of the 2022 European Capital of Culture, is the 'Giele Botter', a former open-air mining area near Differdange, where you can take amazing strolls.
Marked hiking trails bring you through this nature reserve characterised by breathtaking panoramas where you can see how nature has marvellously claimed back this area in recent years. Given the huge size of the nature reserve, Nancy Braun recommends you take the time and immerse yourself into this site's extraordinary atmosphere. According to the Director, 'the past and future make the 'Giele Botter' a unique place where you can momentarily forget the life that surrounds us'.
Other recommendation: taste a fresh beer after your stroll in the bar-restaurant 'Bei der Giedel', on the terrace in summer or in the warm atmosphere inside in winter. The restaurant offers excellent Luxembourgish specialities and delicious seasonal dishes.
The 'Maison du Livre' (House of Books) - a friendly library in a socio-cultural centre
The 'Maison du Livre' in Esch-Belval is set in the former industrial building of the 'Möllerei', located between the squares place de l’Académie and place des Hauts-Fourneaux. It is an academic research venue that is open to the general public. It belongs to the 'Cité des Sciences' and the socio-cultural centre, which also integrates the future National Centre of Industrial Culture and the National Archives. The library creates a bridge between the university and Luxembourgish society and its unique design does not only impress architecture lovers!
Olivier Toth, Managing Director of the Rockhal, is particularly fond of this place given all its plusses: open to all, hyperconnected and integrated in an architecture blending modernity and vestiges of the past. A strong point is certainly the 'Jardin du livre' (Book Garden) on the rooftop – a reading room and an open-air haven of peace.