Every month of the past year, a different Luxembourgish municipality had the great opportunity to showcase their identity to the national but also international visitors of the European Capital of Culture. Now, as the year draws to a close, one last Luxembourg municipality will be in the spotlight in December: Kayl/Tétange!
With its 9,711 inhabitants today, Kayl/Tétange has experienced a significant population growth over the last few years. Young couples and families are increasingly choosing to settle in these two villages, which were joined together in 1891 and are located right on the French border, close to two of southern Luxembourg’s largest towns, Esch-Alzette and Dudelange. But what is it that attracts these new residents? The housing offer, the proximity to nature and the numerous investments that have been made in terms of infrastructure and the well-being of the locals.
After living from the land for a long time Kayl/Tétange became a steel-making community when iron deposits were discovered in the Kayl valley, through which the Kaylbaach flows. At that time, many people moved here to meet the demand for labour in the surrounding factories. Overlooking the trees and visible from afar thanks to its conical apex topped by a cross, the Monument National des Mineurs (National Miners’ Monument), built in 1978, bears witness to this period in history and pays tribute to all the miners who lost their lives in the course of carrying out this work. You also can’t miss the small cave close by where the “Léiffrächen” (Beloved Virgin) representing Our Lady of the Miners can be found. This has been a place of pilgrimage since 1753.
During the iron and steel era, Kayl/Tétange also attracted many other entrepreneurs and industrialists, such as Pierre Schiltz and his mining lamp factory, the Massard foundry, which is still in operation today, or the emblematic Schungfabrik. Originally a modest shoemaker’s shop, Mathias Hubert’s small business quickly became a large factory employing 25 workers when it opened in 1912, and 70 only five years later. But what did it specialise in? The answer is: Steel-capped work shoes for miners. With the decline of the steel industry, the Schungfabrik was finally closed in 1966, before being bought by the municipality, which turned it into a cultural centre in 1990. Today, the site hosts numerous events and has recently been extended to include the Musée Ferrum. The latter includes a local history museum and a gallery dedicated to the work of painter Emile Kirscht, who lived in the area from 1913 to 1994.
The closure of the mines and the departure of several industries has allowed nature to reclaim its rights over the surrounding landscape, creating a number of hiking and mountain biking trails that bear the traces of past activities but that are rich in flora and fauna, including rare orchids and butterflies.