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Visiting Fennange, Luxembourg: remembering Michel Lentz, author of the Grand Duchy's national anthem

Updated on September 29, 2014
Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Fennange seen from the south (2008).
Fennange seen from the south (2008). | Source
Michel Lentz (May 21, 1820 September 8, 1893) was a Luxembourgian poet. He is best known for having written Ons Hemecht, the national anthem of Luxembourg.
Michel Lentz (May 21, 1820 September 8, 1893) was a Luxembourgian poet. He is best known for having written Ons Hemecht, the national anthem of Luxembourg. | Source
Map location of Fennage (Fenneng), Luxembourg
Map location of Fennage (Fenneng), Luxembourg | Source

...and was Michel Lentz remembering 'perfectly matching' Fennange?

In Letzebuergesch, designated Luxembourg's national language, the opening line of the country's national anthem is as follows:

Wou d'Uelzécht durech d'Wisen zéit ...

The official English translation of these words goes like this:

Where the Alzette flows through the meadows ...

The 'Alzette' here refers to one of Luxembourg's principal rivers. As pointed out by the municipal magazine of Bettembourg, of which the village of Fennange (Letzebuergesh: Fénnéng ; German: Fenningen ) forms a part, Fennange 'matches perfectly' the words of Michel Lentz in the opening line of the national anthem (1). While the Alzette rises near Audun-le-Tiche in eastern France, prior to reaching the capital, Luxembourg City, it flows through unspoiled meadow country, bypassing a number of villages but being very much part of the village scene at Fennange.

The national anthem by Michel Lentz also refers to other of Luxembourg's rivers, the Sure and the Mosel. Interestingly, the anthem was first performed in 1863 at Ettelbrueck, a symbolically important location because it marks the confluence of the Alzette and Sure rivers. In turn, it may thus be argued that Fennange evokes the idealized image of Michel Lentz's opening lines of the national anthem.

But it also begs the question: was Michel Lentz remembering Fennange when he wrote these words?

Interestingly, also, people from Luxembourg often think of Fennange as part of a group of localities, the residents of which share certain facilities and regularly participate in common activities. Thus, the trio: Huncherange-Noertzange-Fennange are not unusually considered as a collective whole. One example of local, cultural collaboration is a young people's orchestra, named for these three localities, which has travelled for performances in the region.

Well-known person from Fennange

Maggy Stein (1931-1999), sculptor who studied under Lucien Wercollier, has a gallery dedicated to her work at the Château de Bettembourg .


(1) Gemengebuet 73/2010, December 14, 2010, p. 50

Worth seeing

At Fennange itself, its small, stone chapel, with its distinctive little spire, has Roman artifacts.

Luxembourg City (distance: 14 kilometres) has numerous visitor attractions, a few of these being the Pont Adolphe over the Pétrusse Valley, the Grand Ducal Palace and the Cathedral.


How to get there: The nearest large international airport to Fennange 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 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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