Visiting the Georges Wagner Bridge at Sevenig (Our), Germany: linking with Belgium and named for a Luxembourg leader

Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Georges Wagner Bridge, Sevenig
Georges Wagner Bridge, Sevenig | Source
Map location of the Bitburg-Pruem district of the Eifel region.
Map location of the Bitburg-Pruem district of the Eifel region. | Source

Over an international boundary, bringing people closer together?

Why would a bridge — the Georges Wagner Bridge — which links Germany with Belgium be named for a prominent person from Luxembourg?

Who was Georges Wagner?

These two questions are provoked by the name of this bridge, set in the picturesque Our Valley, which marks part of the border between Germany and Belgium, and, more particularly, the Bitburg-Pruem district of the Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz ) and the German-speaking Ostkatone of Belgium's Liège province.

In the first place, Georges Wagner was mayor of Clervaux, in the nearby Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and a member of Luxembourg's Chamber of deputies (where he also served as Deputy Speaker). Following the success of the German-Belgian Nature Park (German: Deutsch-Belgisch Naturpark), he also successfully worked for the establishment of the German-Luxembourg Nature Park, which includes a significant proportion of the northern hill country of Luxembourg and of the neighbouring Eifel region of Germany.

Georges Wagner was also a prime mover of the European monument and park in neighbouring Ouren, approximately 150 metres west of the bridge which is named for him. Near this park, the boundaries of Lieler, Luxembourg, Ouren, Belgium and Sevenig, Germany, meet. Thus, given the proximity of Luxembourg, of which country Georges Wagner was a national, it would seem not at all inappropriate for the bridge between Germany and Belgium at Sevenig and Ouren to be named in memory of this prominent local leader from Luxembourg.

But I wonder, also, more broadly, whether there is further symbolism involved also? Given that many, prominent Luxembourg nationals have been involved in encouraging and sharing some of the leadership in the 20th and 21st centuries' process of European integration, maybe it is not surprising that the broader metaphor suggested by an international bridge should be named for someone of a nearby country that has contributed to bringing other Europeans more closely together?

The original bridge dates from the 1970s. Partial rebuilding of the bridge was recently completed, with some wooden portions being replaced by more permanent metal parts, given that over more than three decades some of the wood had undergone the effects of weathering.

Spelling and disambiguation

Some German sources refer to the 'Georg-Wagner-Bruecke': this reflects the usual German spelling of the first name. Interestingly, in Luxembourg, it is not unusual — indeed, very widespread — for people to have a family name of Germanic origin and a given name in French spelling.

Interestingly, the Bitburg-Pruem district has two localities known as Sevenig: this is why the Sevenig on the Our river, at the border with Belgium's Ouren, is sometimes referred to as 'Sevenig (Our)'.

Also worth seeing

In Sevenig (Our) itself, in the lower village, the church of Sankt-Johannes dates partly from the 18th century, restored in the 19th century. In feudal times, the village belonged to the lordship of Dasburg.

Ouren , Belgium (distance: approx. 1 kilometre); the Peterskirche (St. Peter's church) dates from 1741.

Lieler , Luxembourg (distance: approx. 3 kilometres); this village has an interesting church building with some Medieval features.

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How to get there: The nearest large international airport to Sevenig is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel (distance from Sevenig to Luxembourg: 78 kilometres). For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. 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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