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Esch2022 presents its programme

The organ in Saint Martin's Church in Dudelange The organ in Saint Martin's Church in Dudelange Copyright: FIMOD

Esch2022 presented the cultural programme of the European Capital of Culture project, along with all the associated projects related to tourism and sustainable development.

On 28 October, the Esch2022 team presented the programme of the European Capital of Culture project at the Rockhal in Esch-Belval. The cultural programme is intended to be a lively reflection of the cultural diversity of Luxembourg's south and the neighbouring part of France. Under the leitmotif Remix Culture, Esch2022 celebrates the history, present and future of a cross-border region in the heart of Europe. The Esch2022 area, which includes 11 Luxembourgish and 8 French municipalities, is to become a beacon of culture, sustainability, tourism, exchange and encounters through around 160 projects with more than 2000 events.

“Our vision for Esch2022 is closely related to the European idea. With the Esch2022 project, we want to give people the tools they need to shape a future together that is based on a strong community and multicultural exchange. Through open dialogue and a new sense of belonging, we want the whole Minett region to become aware of its unique European identity and all the opportunities it brings. We also want to create new perspectives through the cooperation with the two other European Capitals of Culture, Kaunas 2022 and Novi Sad 2022,” says Nancy Braun, Director General of Esch2022.

The Esch2022 programme revolves around the participatory experience of the people from the region and the visitors. Following the guideline of co-creation and participation, the programme aims to reflect a balance between the diverse cultural potential of the region and the international scene. Through 130 projects, which are the result of a public, cross-border call for projects, the local arts and culture scene of the participating municipalities and cultural centres form the mainstay of the programme. It includes the disciplines of performing arts, dance, theatre, music, visual arts, architecture, design, cultural heritage, literature, audio-visual film and young audience as well as multidisciplinary projects.

“Esch2022 consists of 19 municipalities joined in one European Capital of Culture and united around one theme: culture as a fundamental expression of what defines the region and its future. We want to offer both the region's citizens and the international visitors inspiring experiences that go beyond our material needs and that celebrate art, creativity and culture - from showcase exhibitions and festivals to inclusive community programmes,” says Françoise Poos, Cultural Programme Director.

Besides the city of Esch-Alzette, every one of the Pro-Sud municipalities (Bettembourg, Differdange, Dudelange, Esch-Alzette, Käerjeng, Kayl/Tétange, Mondercange, Pétange, Rumelange, Sanem, Schifflange) as well as the eight French municipalities will be in the spotlight for one month each. The first three are Käerjeng, Pétange and then Bettembourg. Käerjeng will be all about fire with the Festival de Feu, while also showcasing the many different flavours of our region with the project “Au Goût du Terroir”. In Pétange, they will celebrate Carnival in all its forms, turning it into a great cultural festival that goes far beyond the borders of Luxembourg. Bettembourg celebrates literature as a cultural bond and invites you to travel between the lines of young literary creations and to debate the influence of artificial intelligence on our everyday lives.

Internationally renowned cultural venues such as ZKM| Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica (Linz), HEK (House of Electronic Arts), Basel, will concentrate on the visitor experience as well. The focus is on contemporary art at the interface of technology, science and society within the framework of major exhibitions on the site of Esch-Belval, where the industrial past meets the digital future. Exhibitions and artists include artist, dancer and choreographer Cecilia Bengolea; the French group KompleXKapharnaüm with their project Bloom, The Magazine Residency by CNA (Centre national de l'audiovisuel) & Kaunas Photography Gallery; Escape Room SDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption by Rotterdam School of Management, Amaze Design & the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development in Luxembourg; Synaesthesia by the Luxembourgish jazz trio Reis-Demuth-Wiltgen in collaboration with video artist Emile V. Schlesser.

Esch2022, not just a year, but a sustainable project

“By laying the foundation for a long-term cultural, urban, social and economic transformation of an entire region that shares a European past and identity, Esch2022 is a truly European project where culture is the cornerstone and main driver of a common, unifying vision,” says Sam Tanson, Minister of Culture of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The Esch2022 programme aims to support artists and local actors in the participating cities and towns. The promotion of access to culture, education through culture as well as economic development through culture play a central role. The project also aims to improve the perception of the former economic centre of Luxembourg. For a sustainable tourism development, Esch2022 wants to further expand the existing offer and presents new cycle paths (Minett Cycle), hiking trails (Minett Trail), unusual accommodation and modern technology like virtual and augmented reality (Urban Timetravel). The aim is to make the history, present and future of the Land of the Red Earth, which has been part of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) since 2019, perceptible and tangible.

“Conscious and aware of the climate crisis and the Agenda 2030 with its goals for a long-term ecological, economic and social development, sustainable development is a key concern for Esch2022. Esch2022 wants to live up to its responsibility for the 2000 events by supporting all the participants in their efforts to become more sustainable,” says Matthieu Gillieron, Sustainable Development & Climate Coordinator of Esch2022.

With the aim of offering instruments and solutions for more sustainability to the 130 project partners and local actors, the European Capital of Culture has developed a sustainability charter in a participatory process. The focus is put on sustainable tourism and accommodation, food, waste management, local economy and participation, communication as well as mobility and accessibility.

In order to implement specific measures, Esch2022 has presented the initiative “ELO” (Luxembourgish for “now”) on Press Day. ELO aims to collect solutions and best practices in Luxembourg and create networks so that artists, event organisers, associations, municipalities or companies can integrate sustainable concepts into their projects.

“To make the project Esch2022 as sustainable as possible, we believe that one approach is to rely on a network of local actors. And that is exactly what the ministry supports and promotes. ELO should benefit the entire region and even the entire country, and it should endure and constantly evolve”,

says Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Visions, territorial development and cross-border exchange

"Culture is without a doubt one of the pillars that improves the quality of life of our citizens which is at the heart of all the considerations and actions of our Ministry," says Claude Turmes, Minister of Spatial Planning of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

With an area of 273 square kilometres, 122 different nationalities and 5 common languages, the Esch2022 area is a melting pot of a great variety of different influences. Esch2022 hopes to promote territorial development through the fresh impetus of a European Capital of Culture project as well as through the networking of culture professionals. New cultural institutions have already been created, such as the Konschthal, an art gallery, the Bridderhaus, an infrastructure for artists' residencies, or the conversion of the former cinema Ariston in order to extend the Escher Theatre’s offer to a younger audience. Another example is a new museum in Kayl dedicated to labour research ̶ past, present and future, and also the extension of the Musée National de la Résistance as well as the renovation of the future exhibition spaces Möllerei and Massenoire in Esch-Belval. New spaces of creativity, culture and social integration have also been created in collaboration with the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte. On the French side, the Arche, a multidisciplinary cultural centre in Micheville, will open its doors in January. The cultural programme is intended to fill these centres and culture houses with life.

Strong partners for the south, the border region and its creative forces

Esch2022 wants to use culture as a driving force for creating partnerships. During Press Day, the project leaders presented 57 companies that have enrolled in the matchmaking platform Business for Culture Club. This initiative was launched by Esch2022 in order to bring different players closer together. Beyond 2022, the Business for Culture Club is intended to be a network for culture creators and actors from the business world. Local, national and international companies thus have the opportunity to support associations, cultural institutions, artists and creative people in the form of services, material or through financial means. A novelty for Luxembourg.

During Press Day, BMW Belux and Arcelor Mittal were presented as ‘Main Partners’. Luxair and Luxlait also came on board as supporting partners. Accor, Bofferding, CFL, Poll-Fabaire and Tice were already known.

“We are delighted that these companies and institutions have decided to actively support the mission of Esch2022 - as ‘Main Partner’ or as ‘Supporting Partner’. We hope to establish even more partnerships between now and the launch of Esch2022 on 26 February 2022. By the way, companies can still enrol in the Business for Culture Club“, explains Anne-Catherine Richard, Head of Partnerships.

Esch2022's original target was to reach 5 million euros through the support of their partners. This target was reduced to 3 million due to the health crisis.

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