Schueberfouer – the city's famous fair explained
The last weeks of August usually signify the start of three weeks of adrenalin-filled fun and over indulgence with fried food, also known as the Schueberfouer. Attended by some 2 million people from the greater region, it’s filled with fun fair stands, carousels, roller-coasters, fried fish and gromperekichelcher. This year’s fair was due to be held from 20 August to 8 September, but the main event has been cancelled. Fear not, there are plenty of ways you can still celebrate it and have some fun.
The history of the fair
John the Blind, the Count of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia founded the fair in October 1340 as an eight-day market to mark Saint Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). It was of great economic importance to the region as Luxembourg held a central place on the road connecting Italy to Flanders. Originally it was the place to buy your pottery and porcelain, cloth and household goods, as well as farming produce and cattle.
From the 16th century onwards it became one of the region’s biggest cattle markets and you could buy pigs, goats, sheep and even horses. The fair was originally held on the Plateau Saint Esprit, by the remains of the city’s fortress “Schuedbuerg”, but because the area was narrow, it moved in 1610 to Limpertsberg, north of Allée Scheffer, after a wooded area was cleared to provide the perfect large space.
From the 18th century onwards, it grew to become more than just a market, with concerts, dances, and games of skill. By 1840 the first rides were set up. In 1893 as Limpertsberg became more urbanised and the dismantling of the city’s fortress walls began, Schueberfouer moved to the fields of Glacis. In the early 20th century a Ferris wheel and rollercoaster joined the fair, and a Braderie was also added in 1929.
There are two schools of thought on where the name Schueberfouer comes from. Some say it derives from the original location at Schuedbuerg, which gave it the name Schuedebergermesse, that later became Schueberfouer (Fouer means fair). Others say that it derives from the German word Schober which can mean barn or stack, symbolising where the harvest would be kept, as Schueberfouer was firstly an agricultural and harvest festival.
On Kiermessonndeg it’s the tradition for musicians to roam Luxembourg City playing the Hämmelsmarsch or Mutton March. They are accompanied by a shepherd and several beautifully manicured, ribbon-wearing sheep. There’s a fountain in the old town depicting this scene. The music was also played at the opening of the fair, amidst the herd of sheep. The lyrics to the Hämmelsmarch were written by Luxembourgish poet Michel Lentz, and the opening ceremony brings together the musicians, sheep and the Mayor of the City, together with many politicians who are invited for a tour followed by Kiermesham (ham) and Kiermeskuch (cake).
Lämmy the mascot
The Schueberfouer mascot is Lämmy a sheep dressed in the traditional 19th century musicians blue peasant clothing. He was created by cartoonist and artist Emile Schlesser (aka Milli), and he adorns much of the packaging for the goodies you can purchase at the fair.
Fouerfësch is whiting fried in a beer batter, but revellers also enjoy gromperekichelcher (fried potato cakes), churros (a type of doughnut), toasted almonds and nougat and a glass of Crémant or beer.
There are usually over 200 stalls, stands and rides, including some of the latest thrill rides. The fair also ends with an amazing firework display.
What’s happening this year?
If you’re missing the rides and the food, don’t worry, the summer festival D’Stad lieft (City Alive) has again replaced the Schueberfouer with various free rides and food stalls in a number of locations around the city. These will be available until 12 September.
Thrill rides will be available at Fun um Glacis from 21 August to 12 September, whilst there is an old time funfair in Kinnekswiss park and various smaller rides and games like hook-a-duck at parks and squares throughout the city. Theatre Plage has taken up residence again at Place du Théâtre in the old town, creating a beach atmosphere with a 350m² sand area, deck chairs, umbrellas, a piano, petanque and beach toys.
You can find a list of all the funfair locations, dates and times in our article Summer music and fun in the city.
You can catch the spirit of Schueberfouer in this video: