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Architectural icon: rail station and rotundas
Culture:

Architectural icon: rail station and rotundas

by Sarita Rao 2 min. 08.02.2022 From our online archive
You may have passed through it or possibly discussed it for the Sproochentest, but have you ever stopped to admire this Baroque building?
The central station was designed to give the impression of a Baroque palace
The central station was designed to give the impression of a Baroque palace
Photo credit: Photo: Gerry Huberty

Built between 1907 and 1913 in the Moselle Baroque style which was experiencing a revival in Luxembourg, the central rail station is the design work of a trio of German architects, Rüdell, Jügsen and Scheuffel.

The existing building replaced the original timber framed one that was erected in 1859 in what was largely wasteland, used for grazing sheep. In 1861 the Passerelle Viaduct connected the station to the city, but the new building was probably a testimony to the economic boom in steel production at the start of the 20th century.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Designed to give the impression of a Baroque abbey, the imposing clocktower was placed in a direct line with the Avenue de la Liberté and the Adolphe Bridge so that it can be seen from a considerable distance away.

Since 1989 it’s been a listed building.

In the entrance hall a mosaic window shows the outline of the city, and the hall ceiling was repainted by  Luxembourg artist Armand Strainchamps. There is a portrait gallery of national monarchs and statesmen in the side wings.

The royal pavilion was completed in 1913 and was used by the Grand Ducal Family and their guests as a reception room until 1983.

In 2006, a six-year project saw the renovation of the station buildings to include a new forecourt, entrance porch and the glass passenger hall, as well as expanding the platforms, adding a passenger subway, lifts and a new ticketing system.

A new footbridge opened in December 2021 to link the station to Bonnevoie. A symbol of renewal for the train station it has a modern design with curved glass windows and an undulating roof. It has six stairwells and six elevators to provide barrier-free access to the platforms. 

The Rotondes cultural centre was originally an engine shed Photo: Gerry Huberty
The Rotondes cultural centre was originally an engine shed Photo: Gerry Huberty

The two railway rotundas on Rue de Bonnevoie can be accessed over the pedestrian bridge and were constructed in 1875. Originally engine sheds and workshops, their unusual turntable shape with an iron skeleton and large areas of glass, earned them listed status in 1991. One Rotunda is today a cultural centre.

You can walk about the central railway station freely, but if you want a tour of it and the surrounding architecture in the Gare quarter, the Luxembourg City Tourist Office has produced a brochure in English.


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