Visiting the former ARBED building, Luxembourg City: grand enough for a Grand Duke

Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Arcelor Mittal building
Arcelor Mittal building | Source
Grand Duc Henri on September 29th 2006
Grand Duc Henri on September 29th 2006 | Source
Map of Luxembourg
Map of Luxembourg | Source

An impressive frontage in the Grand Duchy's sedate capital

Tourists sometimes mistake this grand building for the Grand Ducal Place, here in Luxembourg City, the Grand Duchy's capital.

Although they are wrong, the truth is nearer than it may seem. The building has been regarded as so opulent that it has sometimes even been referred to as a 'palace'. The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, does, in fact, sometimes use this fine building as a backdrop for ceremonially reviewing troops. What with dress uniforms, the architecturally impressive frontage and the presence of the Grand Duke, it all makes for a rather splendid occasion.

For many years, its purpose was to provide the headquarters for the ARBED steel conglomerate. Commenced in the 1920, it was completed in 1922. Its architects were René Théry, who specialized in high class buildings, many of them in Brussels, Belgium, and Sosthème Weis; following the premature passing of Architect Théry, before the completion of his work on the building, the task was assumed by Architect Weis.

In recent years, the building has also been used for university-level classes.

The name ARBED has a somewhat complex history. The acronym stands for the amalgamation of a number of steelworks: Aciéries réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange . The original business dates from the establishment of a furnace in 1837. ARBED, Aceralia and Usinor merged in 2002. In 2006, ArcelorMittal was formed in 2006. The companies represented by these various names have been to a considerable extent responsible for the extraordinary economic strength of this small European country.

But despite the name changes over the years, the building's fine lines can still contribute to some rather splendid occasions.

Also worth seeing

Among the numerous visitor attractions in Luxembourg City are the Grand Ducal Palace, the Pont Adolphe overlooking the scenic Pétrusse valley and the Cathedral.

Bastogne , Belgium (distance: 71 kilometres) has a striking monument to, and many associations with, the Battle of the Bulge and its victims.

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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 North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines which fly to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). 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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