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Luxembourg City – home to the 'elite' and 'jetset'
Luxembourg

Luxembourg City – home to the 'elite' and 'jetset'

2 min. 24.08.2015 From our online archive
In a letter addressed to Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer, a group of student and political organisations have called the Grand Duchy's capital “repugnant”, saying it is turning into a “gated community” for the wealthy.

(CS) In a letter addressed to Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer, a group of student and political organisations have called the Grand Duchy's capital “repugnant”, saying it is turning into a “gated community” for the wealthy.

The letter was penned by the “Jonk Lénk”, national students' union UNEL and art collective “Richtung 22”.

In it, the group says that there is no social plan in the City, which has become home to the “elite” and the “local jetset”. The authors criticise the overwhelming presence of luxury boutiques and expensive cafés and clubs.

“Why do you tolerate that your city becomes a huge 'gated community' in which businessmen claim 'law and order' to chase poverty out of sight from their wealthy clients,” the letter asks the mayor.

The outcry comes after complaints over the presence of beggars in the streets of the capital. Lawyer Gaston Vogel had kicked off the debate by sending an open letter to the mayor, in which he slammed the beggars as “insolent” and “disgusting.”

Polfer had replied by saying that she was aware of the issue, while at the same time reminding Vogel of a more appropriate tone. She also said that a difference should be made between organised gangs of beggars and people in genuine need of help.

In the aftermath of the exchange, a number of shopkeepers in the capital came forward with footage of homeless people camped outside of their stores, urinating and defecating into the streets and showing drunk, rowdy behaviour.

The “Jonk Lénk”, “Richtung 22” and UNEL have now issued an appeal that the City is for everyone and should not be reserved for a rich elite of customers.

They also said that all inhabitants should be protected, also those less fortunate in life, and that more efforts should be made in the fight against poverty. Finally, the group said that the Grand Rue is not a nation branding window display for Luxembourg, but “should reflect our society."

“Be honest and admit the failure of our social system instead of building Disneyland backdrops,” the letter said.

Adopting the same turn of phrase as Vogel in his letter to the mayor, the group said that the citizens of Luxembourg no longer feel heard and have had enough.

And while Vogel said that tourists were unlikely to return because of “feelings of anger and disgust” over the presence of beggars, the letter published Monday asked: “According to you, what memories will an ordinary tourist keep of your lousy, elitist city?”