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Esch2022: Around 32,000 guests at the Opening

By press release February 28, 2022
Esch 2022, the opening ceremony Esch 2022, the opening ceremony Photo by EcocNews

With the launch of a virtual space rocket entirely drawn by children in order to promote a peaceful future, the European Capital of Culture was officially kicked off / Around 18,000 people on site and 14,000 people from 50 countries followed the livestream of the event

This past Saturday, 26 February 2022, the cross-border project Esch2022 was successfully launched during its completely sold-out opening event. The title “European Capital of Culture” will be held by the town of Esch-Alzette, its surrounding ten Luxembourg municipalities of the Pro-Sud association and the eight neighbouring French municipalities of the CCPHVA (Communauté de Communes Pays Haut Val d'Alzette).

The official part started at 5:30 pm in front of the Town Hall in Esch-Alzette and marked the beginning of a multifaceted evening programme that lasted several hours celebrating the launch of the European Capital of Culture. The one-hour ceremony at the beginning featured speeches by Nancy Braun (Director General of Esch2022), Georges Mischo (President of Esch2022), Sam Tanson (Minister of Culture of Luxembourg), Clément Beaune (Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, French Gouvernment), Margaritis Schinás (Vice-President of the European Commission for Promoting our European Way of Life) and Mariya Gabriel (European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth).

The presentation of the official certificate by the European Commission to the President of Esch2022, Georges Mischo, on behalf of the city of Esch-Alzette and the participating municipalities, as well as the ribbon cutting including all the mayors, was followed by a programme of 19 concerts by local bands on four different stages as well as two concerts in the Rockhal by “Future Frequencies” with local musicians, who presented the “Sound of Europe” created especially for Esch2022. The approximately 18,000 visitors in the center of Esch-Alzette and Esch-Belval also had the opportunity to get creative and actively participate at many different stations.

The highlight was the launch of a virtual space rocket that was entirely designed by children in the framework of a drawing contest organised in autumn 2021 with 350 students from Luxembourg and France on the subject of visualising the future of space. The rocket, as well as the Esch2022 project itself, symbolises a peaceful future in a united Europe.

“We are all very satisfied and happy, that so many people have joined us in the celebration of Europe and its diverse culture during the official launch of Esch2022, especially in times like these”, says Nancy Braun, Director General of Esch2022. “On behalf of all the municipalities, participants and supporters, I look forward to welcoming many guests in the entire Esch2022 region over the course of the upcoming year and beyond.”

Active participation was and still is a top priority

More than 1,200 dedicated and passionate people contributed, both behind the scenes and on stage, to the success of this major event. Some 500 service providers and employees, more than 350 creative and performance artists, 250 Remixers (volunteers from the Esch2022 community), around 50 security guards as well the members of 26 local associations and 7 scouts associations were a part of the evening.

His Royal Highness the Grand Duke and Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess as well as Prime Minister Xavier Bettel also took part in the REMIX Opening, along with other representatives of the Luxembourg and French governments. Esch2022 has been under the “Haut Patronage” of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess since February 2020.

Municipalities in the spotlight

Around 160 projects with more than 2,000 events will take place in the participating municipalities in the course of Esch2022. About a third of the programme will be organised in cooperation with the two other European Capitals of Culture, Kaunas and Novi Sad.

In addition to all the exhibitions and events that will take place in the city of Esch-Alzette and the university district of Esch-Belval throughout the whole year, the participating municipalities in Luxembourg and France will each have their turn in the spotlight. The municipality of Käerjeng, for instance, will kick things off with its “Festival de Feu” on the first weekend in March. The programme of events in Esch-Alzette and Esch-Belval, as well as those organised in the various municipalities, can be found online here.

First exhibitions opened in Esch-Belval

On Sunday 27 February, the first two exhibitions developed by the Capitale Européenne de la Culture 2022 a.s.b.l. in cooperation with local and international partners opened in the presence of the curatorial teams and several artists. In the former and extensively refurbished industrial building “Möllerei”, Esch2022 invites you to the exhibition Hacking Identity - Dancing Diversity conceived in collaboration with the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe and curated by Anett Holzheid and Peter Weibel. The exhibition runs until mid-May and gathers the works of 26 internationally acclaimed artists whose work explores phenomena of dissolution, metamorphosis, and multiplication of identity in the age of digital technologies.

The exhibition Remixing Industrial Pasts: Constructing the Identity of the Minett at the Massenoire puts industrial history in the spotlight. The central theme of this historical exhibition is the continuous process of change and transformation of the Minett region from the end of the 19th century until today. Based on a research project by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), which was funded by Esch2022, the Italian artist collective Tokonoma and the architectural firm 2F Architettura have translated the researchers' findings into a both historical and artistic exhibition.


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