Visiting the town of Vianden on the Our River: among the most picturesque localities of Luxembourg

Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Bridge at Vianden
Bridge at Vianden | Source
Medaillon of Monument dedicated to Edmond de la Fontaine (alias Dicks) by Nina Grach-Jascinsky (1966), place named "Dicksgaertchen", Vianden, Luxembourg.
Medaillon of Monument dedicated to Edmond de la Fontaine (alias Dicks) by Nina Grach-Jascinsky (1966), place named "Dicksgaertchen", Vianden, Luxembourg. | Source
Memorial to R. Engelmann at Vianden
Memorial to R. Engelmann at Vianden | Source

Links with various writers

Through guide-books to Luxembourg it is well-known to foreign visitors that the town of Vianden (Letzebuergesch: Veianen ; French and German: Vianden ) was a place of residence by Victor Hugo. Thus, to many French-speakers, Vianden may represent a Francophone, cultural outpost close to the German border, made famous by one of the French language's most celebrated writers.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is, in fact, trilingual in French, Letzebuergesch and German, and, to the visitor, vivid reminders of these three elements are strongly present at the town of Vianden. The presence of a Victor Hugo Museum in the town, located by the bridge over the picturesque Our River, is ample evidence of an example of French cultural presence.

Germany, and more precisely the village of Roth-an-der-Our, where German alone is the official language, is withing walking distance of Vianden's Dowtown area. Geographically, Vianden occupies an interesting location, with even psychological significance. For many kilometres, the border between Luxembourg and Germany runs along the valley of the Our River (French and Letzebuergesch: Our ; German: Our and sometimes seen written: Ur ). Later, the Luxembourg-German border runs along the Sûre River (French: Sûre ; Letzebuergesch and German: Sauer ) and subsequently the Mosel River (French: Moselle ; Letzebuergesch: Musel ; German: Mosel ). However, in the vicinity of Vianden, the territory of Luxembourg extends east of the Our River; thus, part of the town of Vianden is geographically contiguous with the German village of Roth-an-der-Our (see below), in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate. Indeed, Roth-an-der-Our in some ways is virtually a suburb of Vianden.

To many local, speakers of Letzebuergesch (designated the national language of the Grand Duchy) the town is indeed a cultural centre but this includes its association with Letzebuergesch-speaking writers. These writers include Dicks (Edmond de la Fontaine) (1823-1891) and René Engelmann (1880-1915). Dicks is known as the national poet of Luxembourg; his verse is widely known in the country. A local justice of the peace, he lived in Vianden during the last decade of his life. René Engelmann, born in Vianden, was a schoolteacher and writer of novella, and was regarded as an expert in Letzebuergesch orthography, which was influenced by his views on its standardization. He also published on Letzebuergesch's Vianden dialect.

Another writer with a strong connection with Vianden is historian Théodore Bassing (1867-1926), a long-serving, local municipal official who wrote very knowledgeably about about the Our Valley; some of his writings were published in German.

One of the significant buildings in the town is the 'Trinitarierkirche'; this church dates from the 16th century. Museums devoted to arts and crafts, to children's toys, and to caricatures and cartoons, are also located in the town.

Vianden is located in the district of Diekirch (French and German: Diekirch ; Letzebuergesch: Dikrech ), in the Oesling region (French: Oesling ; Letzebuergesch: Éislek ; German: Ösling or Oesling ).

Also worth seeing

Up a steep hill from the town of Vianden , is Vianden Castle (distance: 2.1 kilometres).

Nearby Bivels (distance: 3.7 kilometres) is a picturesque village on the Our River.

Roth-an-der-Our , Germany (distance: 2.6 kilometres); the main part of this village on the Our River is three-quarters surrounded by the territory of Luxembourg; its noted buildings include a 17th century castle and a towered gate.

Further afield, the Mullerthal (distance: 25 kilometres) is a rocky, forested area known as Luxembourg's Little Switzerland.

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How to get there: The nearest large international airport to Vianden is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. 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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