Programme, Esch2022 - news, Territory

Focus on Kayl/Tétange and MUAR

Théo Mey: the worker Roger Thull. Photo: library of the City of Luxembourg

The two towns of Kayl and Tétange are located in the south of Luxembourg. Although the two localities have expanded and merged over time, they differ in terms of the geological deposits unearthed during excavation campaigns. Thanks to the boom in iron mining that started around 1840, Kayl/Tétange became an El Dorado for steelmakers, attracting a growing workforce, both from Luxembourg and abroad, who eventually settled in the area.As part of Esch2022, the commune of Kayl/Tétange will be in the spotlight from 22 November to 22 December 2022 through a series of projects, including two exhibitions on display in a new museum.

The MUAR – Musée vun der Aarbecht (in English: Museum of Labour), a project initiated in the framework of Esch2022, European Capital of Culture, is based at the Schungfabrik, a former shoe factory. The first museum of labour in Luxembourg, its acronym combines the past (the museum’s heritage mission) and the future, MUAR meaning ‘tomorrow’ in Luxembourgish. One of the aims of the MUAR is to explore topics that are relevant to the world of work from a perspective combining past, present and future.

As part of Esch2022, the museum will present the exhibition ‘Working Class Heroes’, which aims to familiarise national and, hopefully, international audiences with the socio-political work of three local figures: Jean-Pierre Bausch (1891–1935), Léon Weirich (1878–1942) and Jean Schortgen (1880–1918).

According to Marie-Paule Jungblut, curator of the exhibition: ‘We are aware that our exhibition will never be able to provide an exhaustive account of the historical reality. By structuring the exhibition around different thematic islands linked to the professional and domestic realms and approaching the past in a playful way through artistic imagination, we want visitors to get a better appreciation of the experience of miners and their families, and understand why and how Jean Schortgen, Jean-Pierre Brausch and Léon Weirich wanted to improve their living conditions. To do so, we will focus on the parliamentary activity of these three politicians.

The exhibition also unfolds in the temporary exhibition space of the Musée FERRUM (Espace Kirscht) as well as in the commune of Kayl/Tétange and its surroundings. The space in the Musée FERRUM will act as a focal point that takes visitors on an intense journey through the different strata of the miner’s daily life: work, housing, leisure, dependence, but also hope for a better tomorrow.’

Prior to the opening of the first exhibition at the MUAR in May 2022, the public are invited to visit the museum’s website ( and to participate in workshops, lecture evenings and regularly scheduled conferences.

Practical information
Exhibition dates: 01.05.-25.09.2022
Venue: Espace Kirscht – Musée FERRUM (14, rue Pierre Schiltz, L- 3786 Tétange)
Opening hours: Thursday, Friday 4-8 pm / Saturday, Sunday 2-6 pm
Entrance fee: €5 (free for students under 26)

From October to December 2022, the MUAR will also host the exhibition from Kaunas ‘The Great Industry’, curated by AuksAuksė  Petrulienė PetrulienAuksė  Petrulienė, at the Musée FERRUM in Tétange. Since 2017, a collective of contemporary artists, in cooperation with managers and former employees of factories in Kaunas, has been exploring the fundamental contradictions between history and fiction, authentic knowledge and illusion, humans and machines, anguish and humour. Their findings highlight the grotesque aspects of the lives of Soviet factory workers, who had to strike a balance between the official Soviet public sphere and the Lithuanian private sphere.

The third exhibition in this ‘Great Industry’ cycle initiated in 2017 will explore the pathology of Soviet industry, its title suggesting an ironic take on the subject. Inkaras, the factory on which it focuses, was not just famous for the sneakers it produced, a sort of Soviet-style ‘Converse’ of poor quality (though highly sought-after at the time). In 2000, it became the site of a large hunger strike by its employees, which marked the birth of the national workers’ union in Lithuania. The connection between the Kaunas shoe factory and the former shoe factory housing the MUAR in Kayl/Tétange became evident in the context of Esch2022, European Capital of Culture!

Based on key aspects from the history of the local community, ‘The Great Industry 2022’ at the Musée FERRUM will bring together documentary photos, examples of industrial production and works of contemporary art from previous exhibitions (2017–2020) curated by the Kaunas-based community platform ‘Backup Stories’.
Producers: Kaunas Factory ‘The Anchor’

Practical information
Exhibition dates: 07.10.–17.12.2022
Venue: Espace Kirscht – Musée FERRUM (14, rue Pierre Schiltz, L- 3786 Tétange)
Opening hours: Thursday, Friday 4–8 pm / Saturday, Sunday 2–6 pm

Entrance fee: €5 (free for students under 26)