The touristic South Following the tracks of the touristic transition of The Land of the Red Rocks

The south of Luxembourg has long been associated with Luxembourg's industrial development. In fact, the region of The Land of the Red Rocks owes its name to the bright red colour of the ore which was, since the end of the 19th century, at the origin of the success of the iron and steel industry in Luxembourg during the industrial era. The development of the steel industry even witnessed the construction of Europe, since the first casting of the European Coal and Steel Community took place in Belval.

In constant evolution, particularly following the shutdown of blast furnaces in the 1990s of the 20th century, the region is demonstrating enormous dynamism in transforming its past assets into resources for both the present and the future. Now boasting the name RedRock, the range of places and activities is impressive. This is an invitation on a journey to The Land of the Red Rocks through some places that you never thought you would find in the South. Let's go!

Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, an outdoor museum

Fond-de-Gras was one of the most important mining centres in Luxembourg. It is now a great example of transforming resources of the past into a touristic heritage and learning space.

The story of this transformation is fascinating. A few years after the last mine of Fond-de-Gras was closed in 1964, volunteers committed to operate a tourist train with historical steam locomotives: the 'Train 1900' saw the light in 1973. A few years later, it was the turn of a former mine to reopen, which can be visited on the 'Minieresbunn' mining train.

Love trains and keen on Luxembourgish history? The Minett Park is a must! During this visit, you will discover the valley whose sides were pierced by mining galleries; the village of Lasauvage, site of one of the oldest iron and steel installations in Luxembourg; and the two historic trains, among others. You can also have fun on the draisines (rail-bikes) along the railway line between Fond-de-Grad and Bois-de-Rodange!

Train 1900: a tourist train with historical steam locomotives.
© Claude Piscitelli, all rights reserved
'Minieresbunn': a mining train to discover the mining galleries.
© Claude Piscitelli, all rights reserved

A journey at the heart of human migration

Immigration played a major role in Luxembourg's economic development in the 19th century, associated in particular with mining. Visiting the Minett Park means you can browse the location, while the Documentation Centre for Human Migrations ('Centre de documentation sur les migrations humaines') based in Dudelange invites you to capture the soul behind Luxembourg's success.

Without immigrants, who now make up a large part of the population in the Grand Duchy, Luxembourg would not look the same. It represents a unique remembrance place that allows you to grasp Luxembourg's society in all its diversity.

Did you know that Dudelange even had an 'Italian Quarter', Little Italy? Discover it by visiting the Documentation Centre and taking a stroll down its street!

Immigration was a key factor in the economic boom of the 19th century.
© Rob Kieffer, all rights reserved
Immigrant workers worked in the steel industry.
© Archives de la Ville de Dudelange - Fonds Jean-Pierre Conrardy

A unique place for outdoor activities

In its transition from an industrial enclave to a tourist area, the region has also been able to showcase its unique natural landscape, which is now an invitation to outdoor activities. In fact, the old mines have become real biodiversity hot spots. The rocky remnants, low fertility substrates and warm, dry microclimate in summer have favoured the development of dry grasslands with an astonishing diversity of orchids, butterflies, birds and wild bees.

How to discover these special places? If you fancy an adrenaline kick and you are a cycling fan, why not enjoy the many mountain bike trails in the region?

Do you literally want to monkey about? Experience a treetop adventure with your family or friends in Parc l'Eh Adventures. It offers up to seven routes with different levels, so the young and old alike can take up a challenge in complete safety. The easiest route is 5 metres tall and is just what the fainthearted and beginners need. The extreme route reaches 17 metres high and features a 6-metre freefall!

If you would actually prefer a more peaceful yet active adventure, a wide range of hiking trails await you. Don't miss our article dedicated to hiking so you can discover the South of Luxembourg in style!

Family stroll or adrenaline kick with friends: The Land of the Red Rocks' MTB trails let you experience nature with thrills.

Esch-sur-Alzette, a cospmopolitan and green capital

The South is also a cosmopolitan region. For example, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg's second largest city, is home to over 35,000 people of over 120 nationalities! In recent years, a large number of modern and alternative cultural spaces have seen the light of day.

The rehabilitation of the Belval blast furnace as a tourist area is a symbol of the South's transition. Following the switch to electric power in 1993, blast furnace B in Esch-Belval, the last one still in operation in Luxembourg, was shut down. In 1997, a last symbolic casting marked the end of a great era. Blast furnace A has been available to visit since 2014. Take the staircase along the old pressure reactor and follow the information on the plant operation. A breathtaking view awaits you on the last floor!

If you fancy green areas in the city, Esch-sur-Alzette's Gaalgebierg is just what you need. It is much more than a municipal park: in fact, a hill features a vast forest with lots of strolls, a camping site, an animal park, a naturally frozen ice rink... 

Since 2014, blast furnace A can be visited in Esch-Belval.
© Claude Piscitelli, all rights reserved
Animal park of Gaalgebierg, Esch-sur-Alzette municipal park.
© SIP / YW, all rights reserved

A glimpse of New York in Dudelange

Your trip to New York fell apart this year? If that's the case, you just have to visit the exhibition The Bitter Years. The last exhibition that Edward Steichen organised for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1962 is now a permanent exhibition at the Dudelange Waassertuerm, a former water tower near the National Audiovisual Centre.

Paying tribute to documentary photography, the exhibition brings together over 200 pictures from one of the largest collective projects in the history of photography: Documentation on rural America during the Great Depression. Take a trip to the United States from Dudelange, with the iconic artworks of photographers of the like of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Russell Lee. The looks on the faces of women, men and children and their lives are waiting for you on the other side of the lens.

Culture is alive and kicking in the region of The Land of the Red Rocks, let yourself be inspired by our selection of cultural activities!

The exhibition 'The Bitter Years' is permanently housed at the Waassertuerm in Dudelange.
© 2014 SIP / Luc Deflorenne, all rights reserved
'Girl at Gee's Bend (Artelia Bendolph)', by Arthur Rothstein: photograph of the exhibition 'The Bitter Years'.
© Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress / FSA/OWI Collection