Join the festivities as Esch becomes European Capital of Culture
As Esch-sur-Alzette becomes one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2022, there’s a host of cultural entertainment, live music, community and nature projects to sample as part of the Remix Culture year-long festival.
Esch shares this title with Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, and Novi Sad, the second city in Serbia. The celebrations also incorporate Differdange and ten other southern Luxembourg municipalities, plus eight French ones in the Haut Val de l’Alzette.
The overarching Remix Culture festivities bring together four subsections – Remix Art, Remix Europe, Remix Nature and Remix Yourself that are designed to get people involved in the celebrations but also support the sustainable development that has been a hallmark of Esch’s regeneration and own remix in the past few decades.
Esch and the Red Earth region was once the industrial hub of Luxembourg, and you can read about its history in our In the Neighbourhood article. Significant regeneration saw the creation of a business, research and university campus at the former steelworks of Belval. That, coupled with its legacy of Art Deco and Nouveau architecture and the fifty or so murals that adorn many of its public buildings, has given Esch the local culture crown of Luxembourg in recent years.
It is also culturally diverse with strong immigrant populations of Portuguese and Italians, but more recently people from Montenegro, Cape Verde, Morocco and Senegal. Which is why, in addition to showcasing the region's greatest talents, Esch2022 is designed to empower the local population, to strengthen its common identity and create a new legacy for the city that will foster both personal growth and cultural diversity.
What’s the programme for Esch2022
You can get involved in tens of projects across Esch and the region and thousands of events taking place throughout the year at eleven institutions and 34 non-profit organisations including Kulturfabrik, Théâtre d’Esch, the National Museum of Resistance and Human Rights, Konschthal, Bridderhaus, Bâtiment IV, and the music conservatory.
Kulturfabrik is organising the “Where is the Cool” indoor festival. The city’s theatre will showcase contemporary performances as part of “Panorama”, which will sketch a portrait of the “man of Esch”, revealing his industrial past, relationship to others, and popular culture. It will also host the “Other Stories” festival, and several shows dedicated to young audiences.
The music conservatory is producing a musical comedy retracing the history of the city entitled “Sl’Esch”, whilst in autumn, the artist residency centre, Bridderhaus, will host “Le Salon d’Helen Buchholtz”, putting the spotlight on this composer, born into a retail trade family in Esch in 1887.
Re-opening at the end of February, the National Museum of Resistance and Human Rights will explore the concept of resistance in is wider context, reflecting on the inclusion of minorities and alternative ways of thinking about human rights.
New gallery and cultural space Konschthal, will team up with Kaunas 2022 to present the work of Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicus, whilst there will also be a project to bring together a large group of artists collaborating on projects, entitled “De terres rouges en terres rouges”.
A new cultural venue, located in a former industrial wasteland in Schifflange, Bâtiment IV will host Remix Hariko. The University of Luxembourg will present several projects including work for the AI & Art Pavillion on the future of art and intelligence, and Remix Science: The sounds of data, organised in partnership with the Luxembourg National Research Fund and Rockhal.
There’ll also be a pop-up radio station in the Radio Art Zone which will broadcast a series of programmes from Bridderhaus over 100 successive days from mid-June to late September, with Radio Ara working in collaboration with international radio stations such as Resonance FM in London.
Highlights - January to March
Remix opening – 26 February
In two locations – the centre of Esch and Esch-Belval, the REMIX Opening Ceremony will take place on 26 February from 16.00 to 23.00 with stages. Spots on every street corner will be showcasing live music, DJ sets, dance performances, projections and light installations, and live entertainment.
You can book free tickets for these events here, and you’re encouraged to take a quiz to check out your profile – Iron Furnace, River Alzette, New Horizons or Red Earth to find out what connects you to Esch2022.
Professional or just enthusiastic about dance? Why not share your steps and moves on social media, as part of Esch2022 Moves. If you’re good, you’ll get the chance to showcase your performance (and win tickets to the Black Eyed Peas or Imagine Dragon concerts at Rockhal), with categories for air, water, fire and earth moves.
Escher Theatre will be hosting a polyglot performance by Transquinquennal which highlights the fact that local Luxembourgers often speak Italian and Portuguese in addition to French, German and Luxembourgish. Five actors, who do not speak the same language, explore the opportunities, and the pleasures, in misunderstanding, and the cliches of other cultures. Performances take place 28-31 January.
Käerjeng will be the setting for the Fire Festival on the weekend 5-6 March, a twist on Buergbrennen that invites artists to create and burn fire sculptures inspired by the American festivals such as the Burning Man in Nevada and the Fire Arts Festival of California. The sculptures will be formed of carved tree trunks, wood and straw and there’ll be a series of lectures looking at ancestral European customs that chase away winter.
The town will also host the Salon des Saveurs from 18-20 March, which will showcase a large variety of regional products emphasising the social and ecological importance of food, and representing the diverse range of artisanal products from the rural regions of the Grand Duchy. There’ll be various panel debates and talks to promote discussion between producers and consumers on issues such as the ecological footprint of food, its impact on the landscape, and zero waste, 0km-to-plate and other objectives.
There are events going on in the region and in Esch continuously, and you can take a look at the upcoming agenda here. There's a dedicated area on Youtube with videos of performances or places to discover in the region.
You can find out more about the towns and villages taking part in the festival including Esch-sur-Alzette, Dudelange, Differdange, Petange, Redange, Rumelange, Kayl, Bettembourg, Sanem and Mondercange, and their local agenda of events here.
If you want to volunteer to help at events or to become a community ambassador for your region or town, you can find out more here.