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Esch 2022, A new destiny with culture

By Press release February 28, 2023
Esch, opening ceremony Esch, opening ceremony Photo by EcocNews

The title of European Capital of Culture is more than just the headline of a cultural year. It is a large-scale project that is intended to have a long-term effect, bringing about lasting change for a region and its inhabitants.

The European Commission’s requirements are clear and involve careful preparation work before, during and after the project. The full effects of the project will only become apparent in the years that follow. During the press conference on 23 February 2023, a selection of the first effects, consisting of feedback from the general population or, more precisely, from those who attended the events, was presented thanks to a variety of studies. Some of these studies were carried out in collaboration with ILRES.

Extensive research work over the past three years

Esch2022 has established a new perception of the region as a cultural destination. The project has also made it possible to develop new cultural offers and attractions and is contributing to the transition of its region. Since 2020, numerous studies have been carried out in order to respond to the European Commission’s request to assess the impact of the project.
The studies carried out in collaboration with ILRES over the last three years included the following objectives

to evaluate the image of the Esch2022 region and to measure the impact that Esch2022 has had on it. However, it takes many years to transform the image of a region and so this study is intended to be repeated in the following years.
to obtain data and information about the awareness of the project, the participation of the public and its impact at different levels in the Esch2022 region.
to assess the level of satisfaction of visitors at a large number of events.

I) A selection of results

Awareness of the project

Awareness of the new cultural infrastructures and main events of Esch2022

Many cultural facilities have been developed within the framework of Esch2022, whether they are new constructions or renovations of existing infrastructures.
Their awareness varies and is logically greater in the Esch2022 area than at a national level. For example, 30 % of Luxembourg residents and 41% of the inhabitants of the Minett region have already heard of the Ariston in Esch-Alzette. For the Konschthal in Esch-Alzette the percentage is 19% and 21% respectively, for the Möllerei in Esch-Belval 16% and 20% and for the L’Arche in Villerupt in France, 11% and 14%.

The Belval site in its entirety has proven to be a place with a significant cultural and touristic vocation.

Among the events organised in the course of 2022, festivals and larger events have a particularly high level of awareness. On a national level, 56% of residents have heard of the Belval Open Air, 56% of the Nuits de la Culture in Esch, 51% of the Esch2022 opening ceremony and 47% of the Cavalcade in Petange.

Attendance and origin of the visitors of the events organised in the framework of Esch2022

At national level, around a quarter of the population participated in a cultural event organised within the framework of Esch2022. In the Esch2022 region, this percentage reaches more than 40%.
In the entire Esch2022 region (France and Luxembourg), the satisfaction survey carried out by ILRES among Esch2022 visitors (more than 4,000 visitors intercepted) seems to indicate that 60% of the visitors were from Luxembourg, 27% from France and 13% from other countries, mainly Germany and Belgium.
More than half of the visitors (57%) came from the Esch2022 region

Satisfaction of visitors to the events organised in the framework of Esch2022

83% of visitors say they are satisfied or totally satisfied with the event they attended. This result has remained consistent since the beginning of the evaluation in March 2022.
The level of satisfaction of people living in France (87% satisfied) is higher than that of Luxembourg residents (80% satisfied).
Nearly 9 out of 10 event participants are satisfied with the venue or infrastructure, the theme, the hospitality, the quality of the experience and the organisation of the event.
The level of satisfaction is high for the main types of events: concerts (89%), festivals (81%), exhibitions (82%) and shows/performances (86%).


Potential impact on the cultural habits of participants in the Esch2022 programme

More than 50% of Esch2022 participants believe that their participation in Esch2022 will have an impact on their cultural habits. The younger the audience, the higher this proportion. (It varies from 30% among 55–64-year-olds to 62% among 16-34-year-olds).
Around 80% of those who believe that Esch2022 will have an impact on their cultural habits say that they will pay more attention to the cultural offer (86%), attend cultural events more often (82%), leave their comfort zone to explore new cultural activities (79%), and be more open to new types of experiences or events (73%).
Among the participants who do not live within the Esch2022 territory, a majority or a relative majority of respondents are particularly positive about the Esch2022 region and the possibility that they will return to visit or engage in a cultural activity there.
Impacts and consequences for the Esch2022 region

Regarding the strengthening of the local identity and cross-border exchanges in the Minett region, 44% of the residents of the Minett region believe that Esch2022 has strengthened the link between the Luxembourg municipalities in the Esch2022 region. 36% of the same residents believe that Esch2022 has strengthened the link between the French and the Luxembourg municipalities in the Esch2022 region. These proportions increase significantly when asking participants who took part in an event organised within the framework of Esch2022. For the latter, these proportions are 58% and 42% respectively.
At national level, 62% of residents agree that Esch2022 has provided the population of the South with a major cultural offer throughout the year. 61% believe that Esch2022 has helped to highlight the region’s industrial heritage. Furthermore, Luxembourg residents agree that Esch2022 has been an important step in the development of the South of Luxembourg (51% agree) and that Esch2022 has contributed to the development of tourism in the region (a relative majority of 49%).
At the national level, a majority of respondents think that the title of European Capital of Culture has helped to improve and develop the cultural infrastructure of this territory (67%), and has improved the visibility and image of this region.
The satisfaction survey carried out on the whole territory of Esch2022 shows that 7 out of 10 people agree that having Esch as European Capital of Culture is a source of pride for Luxembourg. This percentage ranges from 64% in Luxembourg to 84% in France. In general, French people and visitors from other countries are more positive than Luxembourgers on many aspects.
Another aspect that is positively perceived is the socio-cultural impact. On a national level, a majority agree with the statement that Esch2022 has allowed the population of the Minett region (Esch2022 territory) to access new types of cultural experiences (70%) and to attract people to culture who are usually less interested in cultural events (61%). However, fewer think that Esch2022 has helped to build bridges between popular and elitist culture (44%).
Esch2022 is perceived as a necessary and useful investment for the South of Luxembourg. A majority of Luxembourg residents agree with the statement that the South of Luxembourg needed this type of investment in culture (65%), that Esch2022 has helped to fund many investments in the South of Luxembourg (54%) or that Esch2022 has strengthened the economic development of the region (50%).

The image of the Minett region and the Esch2022 territory

The image of a region is an aspect that is extremely difficult to change among the inhabitants of that region. This is why the image of the Esch2022 region and the Esch2022 project is always more positive among foreign visitors than among Luxembourg residents. While the Minett region has a positive image among the resident population, this is still not the case for Esch-Alzette. However, the image study has shown that the outlines of this image have changed for the better among Luxembourg residents.
There has been a slight improvement in the positioning of the Minett region for cultural activities. Taking part in a cultural activity is the main reason for visiting the Minett region (sometimes or regularly).
The Minett region enjoys a very good image among its inhabitants but also a favourable image at national level (except when it comes to recommending the region as a place to live).
The aspect that has developed most favourably in Esch-Alzette since 2021 is the cultural offer, followed by sports activities.
People who have participated in Esch 2022 events now have a better image of the region.

II) Methodology of the studies

The satisfaction survey:

Evaluation through a satisfaction survey carried out at more than 150 events throughout the title year: interviewing the visitors in situ (4,220 interviews) and inviting them to give their opinion the next day through an online questionnaire or inviting those who had ordered a ticket directly online at www.esch2022.lu (+/- 1,800 interviews).

Image studies:

These studies are based on the ILRES panel. A first image study was carried out in July 2021 before Esch2022 was launched, the second after the closing ceremony in January 2023 (+/- 1,500 interviews per wave). Over 1,100 people interviewed in the first survey also participated in the second.

Awareness/participation/impact study:

The evaluation of the awareness, the participation and the impact of Esch2022 was carried out through two studies: the first one in December 2021 before Esch2022 was launched, the second one in February 2023 (+/- 1,300 interviews each). The 2023 study was carried out using the ILRES panel among people who had never taken part in a survey about Esch2022.


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