Visiting Luxembourg City and its railroad station: pre-World War One monumentality

Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Luxembourg railroad station clock tower
Luxembourg railroad station clock tower | Source
Liberty Avenue, Luxembourg City, linking the railroad district with the Downtown City. By Josy Linkels.
Liberty Avenue, Luxembourg City, linking the railroad district with the Downtown City. By Josy Linkels. | Source
Map of Luxembourg
Map of Luxembourg | Source

Reminiscent of past, German economic influence

The tower of Luxembourg City's monumental railroad station is a very conspicuous landmark right alone the Avenue de la Liberté , linking it to the Pont Adolphe in the downtown area. (I have included, right, a photo of a painting by Josy Linkels, showing the tower of the railroad station seen along the length of the Avenue de la Liberté .)

It dates from the years preceding World War One, built between 1907-1911, to be precise. Like the railroad station in Metz, France, 64 kilometres away, this huge, solid structure's origins relate to the influence of the German Empire. Whereas the area around Metz in present-day France was annexed to Germany between the Franco-Prussian War and the end of World War One, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg preserved its independence, but was nethertheless deeply influenced by the German economy; indeed, it was part of the German Customs Union (German Zollverein).

Interestingly, Luxembourg's assertion of its independence, expressed in its national motto: Mir woelle bleiwe wat mir sin (We wish to remain what we are)(1), has to a considerable extent been in relation to remaining separate from Germany. The German economic and railroad links prior to World War One arguably seem to belie such assertions of independence — or do they? The fact is that in the history of Luxembourg, economic integration with neighbouring countries has not been seen in terms of sacrificing its constitutional independence. Those who consider the place of Luxembourg in the history of the European Union should remember that for the people of the Grand Duchy issues of sovereignty are reinforced rather than lost by the small country's participation in supra-national, economic integration. (Or so goes the theory.)

In any case, the German architectural partnership Ruedell, Juesgen and Scheuffel were responsible for the building. The structure is executed in Moselle Baroque style. A stained glass window in the interior hall depicts the Luxembourg City skyline. This building replaced a previous, wooden building dating from 1859, when Luxembourg City hosted a Prussian garrison, in place under the provisions of the Congress of Vienna, 1815 (again, this significant link was with what is now Germany).

Note

(1) A bay window feature at a house in rue de la Loge in the city, which incorporates a painted national motto, is often photographed by visitors to Luxembourg.

Also worth seeing

In Luxembourg City itself, and, particularly, not far from the railroad station, other notable structures include the former ARBED building, the State Savings Bank building at the place de Metz , the Pont Adolphe and the Saint-Quirin chapel. Other noted buildings further afield in the city include the Cathedral and the Grand Ducal Palace.

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How to get there: The nearest large international airport is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel, from where car rental is available. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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