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Activists offer tours dissing Luxembourg's colonial links
Decolonisation

Activists offer tours dissing Luxembourg's colonial links

by Yannick LAMBERT 17.06.2021
Never a colonial power in its own right, Luxembourg had many ties through other countries
Artists last year boarded up a memorial of Nicolas Cito, a Luxembourg engineer who oversaw works on a railway in Congo
Artists last year boarded up a memorial of Nicolas Cito, a Luxembourg engineer who oversaw works on a railway in Congo
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Activists in Luxembourg are offering guided tours of the country's capital aimed at questioning the Grand Duchy's colonial links, a point the groups are saying needs more attention even if the country never had any colonies.

The tours, organised by the artists' collective Richtung22 and the anti-racist organisation Lëtz Rise Up, are designed to "inform the public about the existence of Luxembourg's hidden colonial past," the groups said on Thursday.

"The state and Luxembourg workers took an active part in colonisation, particularly in the Belgian Congo. However, Luxembourg's influence extended beyond (that)," they said in a joint statement.

The tour stops at various locations that have connections to colonialism, such as the Heintz van Landewyck tobacco company and two "human zoos" where people were exhibited as if living in African villages, in 1912 and 1929. Part of the tour also deals with relations between banks in Luxembourg and the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Last year, the artists called on Luxembourg to take responsibility for its colonial involvement in the Congo in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that started in the US and spread around the globe.

Luxembourg has failed to fully live up to its claim of being a multicultural and open country, lawmakers said last year, during a debate about racism in the wake of the George Floyd protests.  

The activists behind the tours are demanding an "official and public apology from the government, the church and the Luxembourg monarchy" for the country's past involvement in "colonialism and neo-colonialism". They also call for a more diverse representation of "racial minorities in the media" as well as "the training of journalists in racial justice issues."

The first guided tours in English will take place on Friday 26 June at 7pm. 


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