Esch – a unique melting pot
In the south of Luxembourg, people of 120 nations live side by side. More than 60 percent of Luxembourgers have a migrant background. This diversity can be felt on all cultural levels, whether culinary, artistic or linguistic. Multilingualism is an important characteristic of our region. Luxembourgish as the national language, French and German are currently spoken in everyday life. And just as languages mix, so do identities – it is the mixture of individualities that forms the unique identity of Luxembourg’s southern region.
REMIX YOURSELF – To good neighbourship!
During Esch2022, we want to overcome the boundaries between the Luxembourg Pro-Sud region and the French CCPVHA communities. The focus will lie on mutual exchange rather than parallel societies. Promoting social coexistence and bringing the Luxembourg Pro-Sud closer to the French CCPVHA is one of the goals of the ‘REMIX YOURSELF’ chapter. Various projects such as ‘Biergerbühn’, in which people of all ages and backgrounds will take part in a theatrical performance, are aimed at promoting awareness of the region’s cultural diversity. The project ‘EKINOX’ by the cross-border theatre centre NEST looks at the daily commute between the physically close yet socially distant realities of towns in France and Luxembourg to either side of the border.
Southern Luxembourg – a history of migration
The history of Esch has been strongly marked by the successive waves of migrant workers, beginning with the Italians who participated in the reconstruction of the country in the aftermath of the Second World War. But even before that, the development of the steel and iron ore industry, which began in the second half of the nineteenth century, was accompanied by a long history of migration that continues to shape the culturally diverse image of our region. A particularly striking example is the ‘Italian Quarter’ in Dudelange: In the 1950s and 1960s, it was almost exclusively populated by Italian nationals, and to this day, it culturally still leans towards Italy. Another important community that shaped the image of the south of Luxembourg are the Portuguese. Numerous immigrants from Portugal have been coming to Luxembourg since the 1970s, making the Portuguese the largest immigrant community in the country today. This is reflected by the fact that there are four partnerships between Pro-Sud communities and Portuguese towns. The collective memory of Luxembourg’s south is one big jigsaw whose many pieces form a great, diverse entity. Drawing on this diversity, the project ‘Sonomaton’, for instance, will create an archive of our common culinary heritage.
French, Portuguese, Italian or Luxembourgish?!
What defines us as Lëtzebuerger is our shared differences. It is precisely because we come from different backgrounds that we form a unique and, importantly, solidary community. Esch2022 invites each and everyone to tell their stories and exchange their thoughts in a space where it once seemed inconceivable to live without borders and shape the future together – REMIX YOURSELF!