Luxembourg City Walking Tour (with Subtitles) 2021 / History & Culture / Top Things To Do
We start our tour on Place des Martyrs with a “Mother and Child” statue by British sculptor Henry Moore. The former headquarters of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, point to the historical importance of the steel industry in Luxembourg’s economy. The “Groussgaass” pedestrian street is the main shopping street in the old center of town. Luxembourg City is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and as of early 2021 has a population of 125,000 inhabitants. The city lies at the heart of Western Europe, situated 213 km by road from Brussels, 372 km from Paris, and 209 km from Cologne.
In 2021 Luxembourg was ranked the world’s richest country by the IMF, with a GDP per capita of 131,782 US dollars. Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German, and the national language of Luxembourgish. In 2019, the country had a population of 626,108, which makes it one of the least-populous countries in Europe, but by far the one with the highest population growth rate. Foreigners account for nearly half of the country’s population, and they even represent 70% of Luxembourg City’s population. The city's population consists of 160 nationalities. With an area of 2,586 square kilometers (998 sq mi), Luxembourg is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe.
In international rankings, Luxembourg is consistently on top for personal safety and for quality of living. Jan Palach Square was named after the Czech student whose self-immolation was a political protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies in 1968, ending the Prague Spring. The Place d’Armes is a square filled with restaurants and cafés, attracting large numbers of locals and visitors, especially in the summer months. The Cercle Municipal housed for a time in the 1950s and 1960s the European Court of Justice. A plaque on the building reads: “On this square, on 10 September 1944 the people of Luxembourg warmly welcomed its liberators, the valiant soldiers of the US 5th Armored Division and their royal highnesses Prince Felix of Luxembourg and Prince John hereditary grand duke of Luxembourg.” The City Hall on Place Guillaume II, completed in 1838, is the centre of local government and used as the office of the Mayor of Luxembourg City.
The equestrian statue of William II, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from1840-1849, is currently almost invisible behind a construction fence. Notre-Dame Cathedral was built as a Jesuit church from 1613. The cathedral is a noteworthy example of late gothic architecture; however, it also has many Renaissance elements and adornments.
After the Jesuits had left the city in 1773, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria gifted the church to the City of Luxembourg in 1778, and it became the new parish church under the name "Saint Nicolas et Sainte Thérèse". It received the name "Notre-Dame" on 31 March 1848. When Luxembourg was elevated to a bishopric by Pope Pius IX on 27 June 1870, the Notre-Dame Church became Notre-Dame Cathedral. The crypt of the cathedral contains the remains of Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses of Luxembourg.
From 1935 to 1938 the cathedral was enlarged and expanded, including a new exit and square. The Gëlle Fra (Luxembourgish for 'Golden Lady') memorial in Luxembourg City is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during both World Wars and the Korean War. When Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi forces in World War II, the Germans dismantled the memorial on 21 October 1940. Many years later, in 1980, the statue was found hidden under neath the main stand of the national stadium, and the monument was finally restored to its original design in 1985.
The Golden Lady even traveled all the way to China for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, where she was exhibited at the entrance of the Luxembourg pavilion. The Adolphe Bridge was built between 1900 and 1903 and at the time of construction, the central span was the largest stone arch in the world. This design was later replicated in a bridge over the River Garonne at Toulon and was copied in concrete for the Walnut Lane Bridge in Philadelphia. A statue of former Grand Duchess Charlotte (1896-1985) stands in front of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Chamber of Deputies is the unicameral national legislature of Luxembourg. It is made up of 60 seats. It was build in 1860 as an annex to the Grand Ducal Palace. The Grand Ducal Palace is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and where he performs most of his duties as head of state of the Grand Duchy. The building was first the city hall of Luxembourg from 1572 to 1795, the seat of the prefecture of theFrench Département des Forêts in 1795, and then the headquarters of the Luxembourg Government in 1817. With the accession of the House of Nassau-Weilburg in 1890, the palace was reserved exclusively for the Grand Duke and his family.
The National Museum of History and Art can be visited free of charge. This very interesting museum displays artworks and artefacts from all epochs of Luxembourg history. Saint Michael’s Church is the oldest extant religious site in Luxembourg City. The first church was built on the spot in 987 as the castle chapel for the Count of Luxembourg. However, over the following centuries, the building was destroyed, rebuilt, and renovated several times. Its current appearance dates to 1688, and unites Romanesque and Baroque architectural styles, pre-dating the national Moselle Baroque style.
We finish our visit with a view from what has been described as Europe’s most beautiful balcony. Thanks for watching! If you liked the video, please subscribe for more to come.