Desolate factories in Esch-sur-Alzette, Source: Emile Hengen via Esch2022

Esch will kick off the European Capital of Culture 2022 with a rocket blast-off

Esch will kick off the European Capital of Culture 2022 with a rocket blast-off

Less than 30 days before the opening night, the organisers present some tidbits for the historic event

The team at Esch2022 is getting ready to kick off this year’s European Capital of Culture and the yearlong celebration of art. According to recent announcements, visitors will be treated to a rocket lift-off, symbolising the city’s push for the future.

With less than 30 days until the opening ceremony, the events spread out throughout the whole year are slowly filling up with performers, expert discussions and collaborative initiatives aimed at the future of the region, enriched through culture.

In 2022, three cities will hold the title ‘European Capital of Culture’ – Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg, Kanaus in Lithuania, and Novi Sad in Serbia.


Details on the spectacular opening ceremony are starting to trickle in. According to a recent announcement, the former industrial blast furnace in Belval will turn into a Cape Canaveral-type of platform and viewers will be treated to a literal launch of a rocket, that will soar over the skies of Esch.

The rocket will need the help of citizens, however. Everyone attending the event will be equipped with a bracelet and there will be giant batteries on-site. How exactly all of this fits together remains a mystery at this point and event organisers would like to keep it this way.

At the same time, the whole of Esch-sur-Alzette will turn into a festival stage for the entire day. In Esch-Belval, the building of the University at the Rockhal will serve as a stage for artists and a concert with 120 musicians. At the city centre, the municipal building will become a control base, via 3D mapping, while Rue de l'Alzette and Place de la Résistance will be jam-packed with entertainment.

According to the Ministry of Health, Luxembourg will be able to accommodate 25,000 visitors, spread between two cities. Regrettably, the ministry has said that masks will still be mandatory, and, despite admissions being free, there is a cap on visitors to certain events. So hurry up and book a ticket.

Reimagining the industrial past of one of Europe’s steel powerhouses  

Esch-sur-Alzette was an industrial powerhouse for Luxembourg, with its mine, and steel and iron foundry pushing the country’s economic growth through much of the 20th century. However, de-industrialisation led to the closure of the industrial facilities, leaving a wasteland, a familiar situation for many European countries.

The local government, though, has been doing much to try and turn the desolate ex-industrial sites and foundries into something fit for the contemporary age. Some of them have become cinemas, others – student accommodation and others still are part of the university campus.

Furthermore, one of the main focuses of Esch2022 is re-imagining the future. This includes the Future Frequencies project, by Frank Wiedemann & Matthew Herbert. The project focuses on the creation of a new unique sound universe for the Esch2022 region and for Europe.



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