Programme, Esch2022 - news

Esch2022 at a glance

The Esch 2022 cultural programme spanned across eleven Luxembourg and eight French municipalities in Lorraine. The territory of the European Capital of Culture with Esch-Alzette and the surrounding municipalities is meant to represent all of Europe. In order to reach a multilingual public – in Luxembourg, one out of two people has a second or other nationality – a multilingual programme was set up; more than 1,200 events were organised in French, more than 900 in English, more than 750 in Luxembourgish, more than 500 in German, more than 130 in Portuguese, 80 in Italian, 70 in Spanish, as well as many more in 110 other languages.

“Together with all those who have been and still are part of Esch2022, I am very proud of our inter-communal, cross-border and transnational project. Thanks to Esch2022 we have mobilised several thousand people during the year. Even before that, we helped shape the future of the region. With culture and Europe as the unifying elements, project partners from different sectors – culture, politics, tourism and business – exchanged, collaborated, remixed and created new things”, explains Nancy Braun, Managing Director. “Citizens, friends and partners were part of the programme not only as guests, but also as ‘remixers’, i.e. as passionate and committed volunteers who helped implement more than 2400 events in total”.

After deducting marketing, communication, staff and general expenses, 33 million of the total budget of 54.8 million were used for the cultural programme. More than 280 venues hosted the 2400 events organised in disciplines such as architecture and design, performing arts, visual and audio-visual arts, dance, literature, music, cultural heritage, theatre and many others. These were presented to an international and intergenerational audience in the form of : +850 guided tours, + 700 workshops, + 500 shows and performances, + 160 lectures and readings, + 170 concerts, + 120 exhibitions, 30 festivals, 60 screenings and over 300 hybrid events.

“In the coming months, the numerous studies containing data from various surveys and polls will be finalised and published. Since Esch2022 kicked off at the end of February 2022, the European Capital of Culture projects have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the participating municipalities in the south of Luxembourg and neighbouring France,” said Nancy Braun, Esch2022 General Director. “For example, on 26 February, almost 32,000 people attended the opening ceremony despite pandemic restrictions. Afterwards, the traditional “Festival du Feu” in Bascharage, the European carnival in Pétange and the literary festival in Bettembourg welcomed more than 35,000 visitors in total; in Villerupt, France, the “Bal Pop” attracted around 5,000 people, the Usina22 festival in Dudelange delighted more than 12,000 people, Europe goes Scuffelingen more than 10,000, the Open Airs and other cooperations with the Rockhal more than 50,000, the exhibitions in Esch-Belval more than 30,000, the Nuits de la Culture 60,000 visitors… the list of events is long. We are looking forward to the next few months to discuss the legacy of Esch2022 and the final balance sheet together with the 19 municipalities and partners”.

New locations and new impulses for a border region

The results of the survey by the ILRES polling institute, generated through 1,760 interviews, already give a positive assessment. More than nine out of ten visitors (91%) would recommend the event they attended to friends or colleagues, 83% of visitors said they were satisfied with their experience and 93% said they had a “good time”. Two-thirds of participants (66%) perceived a cross-border dimension in the event they attended. Many visitors (59%) consider that the Esch2022 region was more attractive than in the past.

In the context of the title year, a multitude of new cultural venues have also been created, enriching the offer for creators and people interested in culture, in a forward-looking region.

Esch-Alzette’s cultural repertoire now includes the new Ariston theatre, the Konschthal, the Bridderhaus artists’ residence or performance hall, the Bâtiment 4 and the “Savoir-Fer” centre, FerroForum. In Dudelange, the VeWa stands for new creative impulses. In Kayl-Tétange, the “Musée vun der Aarbecht”, MUAR, was created within the framework of Esch2022, in Sanem, the “Pavillon Source Bel-Val” was created, in Rumelange, they installed “Spektrum” in the former house and workshop of the sculptor Albert Hames, which has been completely renovated and extended. An old farm in Differdange was transformed into a cultural venue under the name “Lommelshaff”.

Other existing locations have been highlighted by Esch2022 through major cultural events, like, for example, the Plancher des Coulées in the Blast Furnace A, the Socle C, as well as the former Möllerei warehouse, a listed building, all located in the university district of Esch-Belval. The Möllerei has hosted the Esch2022 exhibitions in collaboration with the ZKM, the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, the HEK, the Haus der Elektronischen Künste, Ars Electronica and, currently, the Pure Europe exhibition by Historical Consulting in collaboration with Tinker.

Numerous inaugurations of new or repurposed venues also took place during the title year 2022: The KulTourhaus cultural centre in Bettembourg-Huncherange, the desecrated St Barbe church in Lasauvage and the former church in Ottange (FR), the L’Arche in Villerupt (FR), a new cultural venue for art, music as well as new technologies. In terms of tourism, the 11 Luxembourg municipalities have been linked by new hiking and cycling routes. In each municipality, new tourist accommodations have been created, partly on historical sites or within existing buildings. The “Kabaisercher” give visitors the opportunity to fully enjoy the industrial culture and the diversity of the landscape of the Minett region.

A region for the Bucket List

Many Esch2022 projects will continue beyond 2022. For example, Usina2022, the new open-air festival on the site of the former steelworks in Dudelange, with local and international stars, brought together for the first time three of the largest festival organisers in Luxembourg. Similarly, the Nuits de la Culture, an example of civic creation, will continue to bring together neighbourhoods, associations, institutions, businesses and other forces in the city of Esch-Alzette. Also, projects that were already anchored in the region before Esch2022, such as the intergenerational Festival du Feu or the Péitenger Wandjang, have gained even more notoriety and will be able to further develop their international network in the years to come.

With the impetus of concrete tourism projects that have been part of the regional offer since this year, the border region has been put on the international map. With the aim of developing the existing experiences, but also of creating new ones, Esch2022 has relied on new products, such as the Zoom Minett tourist guide, the cultural animation of the Minett Trail or the new Minett Cycle route. In order to present a former industrial region with its disused blast furnaces and abandoned mining sites in an even more captivating way to today’s visitors, the potential for tourism development in combination with new technologies was promoted by projects such as DiscovARminett or Time Travel Belval.

240 journalists reporting from 62 countries

The press team welcomed 180 international journalists to the Esch2022 region and briefed a further 60 journalists on the European Capital of Culture project in collaboration with the Luxembourg embassies abroad. The result: 8007 articles, from 62 countries, with a potential reach of 397 million readers, listeners and viewers. Among them were media such as Arte, ARD and ZDF, DPA, FAZ, Apothekenrundschau, France Culture, TV5 MONDE, France 4, Figaro, Euronews, The Telegraph, RTBF, Belga, La Libre, La Repubblica, RAI and many others.

Partnerships and new networks

15 official partners of the European Capital of Culture a.s.b.l. from the business world supported the cultural programme with funds worth 4.2 million. The Business for Culture Club network, set up within the framework of Esch2022 to bring business and culture closer together, currently includes 66 companies. More than 20 meeting events have been organised at regular intervals to strengthen networks. Within this framework, companies have supported artists and cultural creators in cash or in kind.

Inter-municipal and international cooperation

In addition to cross-border tourism projects, such as the Circuit Transfrontalier de l’Acier, which is part of the Minett Trail, the 8 French municipalities also carried out more than 38 cultural projects with Luxembourg partners. In addition to 33 official visits, almost 40 delegations of former, future or candidate European Capitals of Culture visited the Esch 2022 area to find inspiration. Esch2022’s sustainable development strategy is also taken up by other Capitals of Culture.

Esch2022 shared the title of European Capital of Culture with Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, and Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. To celebrate this unique partnership, the three cities launched a joint programme of 43 projects combining many disciplines: visual arts, theatre, dance, history (Holocaust remembrance), music and literature. Of these projects, 29 were realised with Kaunas and 13 with Novi Sad.

Bringing people, cities and countries together is what a European Capital of Culture is all about, and this is certainly what the Esch2022 project has achieved with its partner cities.