On 9 may, Esch2022 commemorates its European identity.
The European Union celebrates Europe Day every year on 9 May. It is the historic day of the Schuman Declaration, which laid the foundation for today’s European identity. As founding members and neighbours with a border in the Esch2022 region, Luxembourg and France share this strong European identity. This European identity is ever-present here, and the joint project to lead the Minett region in the south of Luxembourg and the east of France into the future as European Capital of Culture is already underway.
“Our vision for Esch2022 is intricately linked to the European idea. Through the Esch2022 project, we want to give people the tools they need to work together to create a future with a strong community and multicultural exchange. We want to help build up the Minett region so that the entire Mining District will become more aware of its unique European identity and all the possibilities that come along with it.” says Nancy Braun, Director General of ESCH2022.
The idea of the “European Capital of Culture” was brought to life by the Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri in 1983. The goal was to give culture the same prominence as politics and the economy. We have been celebrating the cultural potential of numerous cities and their surroundings every year since 1985.
This is how Esch-Alzette was nominated as European City of Culture 2022. Esch2022 aims to fuel sustainable cultural and economic development, and to provide a new source of energy to Esch-Alzette and all of the participating municipalities, both in Luxembourg and France. This centrally located and diverse community, with a long-standing tradition in Europe, is characterized by cross-border exchanges and numerous challenges of the post-industrial era. Their past and present, in addition to their stories and experiences, should be used to inspire other regions.
European past, present and future merge in Esch2022
The Minett region attracted people from all over Europe as early as the 1880s. In 1913, Luxembourg was one of the world’s 10 largest crude iron and iron ore producers. An industrial revolution took place because of immigration and a vision towards the future and this transformation is one of the cornerstones of the development of Luxembourg and the Greater Region. This includes the modern economy and cultural diversity. With more than 120 nationalities, Esch2022 is a European “melting pot”. The many cultural influences allow the border region to offer a unique cultural experience.
One Europe, three cities: Novi Sad, Kaunas and Esch-Alzette
Esch2022 regularly directs the attention towards Lithuania and Serbia. As a tribute to Kaunas (Lithuania) and Novi Sad (Serbia), which also bear the title European Capital of Culture in 2022, a variety of cultural events will take place in the Minett region. This exchange allows the different aspects of our European identity to shine through and it ultimately allows us to better understand our own identities.
Culture as a driver for cross-border development
The Esch2022 region also wants to boost tourism across borders. Cross-border development is a key factor in terms of economic expansion and employment opportunities in the region. Esch2022 wants to strengthen the south of Luxembourg and the east of France as a tourist destination. Beyond the Greater Region, the attractiveness of the south of Luxembourg and the east of France will continue to become more prominent.
To celebrate this very special day, events will, exceptionally, in the context of Esch2022, be taking place more in Esch than in Luxembourg this year. Amongst the different events, the detailed programme of which will be announced later, there will be a Celebration of religions for human fellowship from 10.30 at the Rockhal, in the framework of the project “Ensemble, même si différents” (Together, even if different), with a pre-lunch Concert by the Municipal Band of Esch-sur-Alzette at 11.30 and an All-Nations and All-Religions Friendly Meeting from 11.30 till 16.00.
9 May also marks the beginning of the “Pop-Up Ma Parole” project in the Belval quarter. The architect Robert Ilgen and the graphic artist Janine Schlimpert will create artworks that animate the public space and invite the public to express themselves. “Esch-Belval is planned as an ideal residential area. You find yourself in a laboratory for multiple temporalities, which allow you to test new scenarios for living together more effectively.” In the framework of Europe Day and the exhibitions underway, Pop-Up Ma Parole offers a flexible and responsive platform where the public is as involved as much as creator and producer. The first workshop will cover “The Europe of tomorrow” and the temporary installations continue until 29 May 2022. More than 70 years after the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, how does the notion of Europe bring us together today?