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Visiting Luxembourg City and Fort Thuengen: one of its major sights dating from 1732

Updated on December 13, 2012
Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Fort Thuengen, 1893, Luxembourg City
Fort Thuengen, 1893, Luxembourg City | Source
Fort Thuengen, Luxembourg City
Fort Thuengen, Luxembourg City | Source
Map of Luxembourg
Map of Luxembourg | Source

Acorns and all sorts of spellings

The Kirchberg (French & German spelling; Létzebuergesch: Kierchbierg ) suburb of Luxembourg City is often spoken of in relation to the various European institutions which are situated there, but it also has one of the City's major historical sights: Fort Thuengen.

The Fort was built in 1732 and further strengthened in 1836 and 1860. The Fortress was named for its Austrian commander Adam Sigmund von Thuengen (1687-1745)(1).

Much of the original complex was demolished following the Treaty of London, 1867, when the Grand Duchy was demilitarized, but three conspicuous towers remain of the Fort. These towers resemble a sprig of acorns and thus the Fort has come to be called Three Acorns also, in popular parlance. This being Luxembourg, even popular nicknames have their three separate spellings. In French, the Fort is popularly known as Trois-Glands. In Létzebuergesch, designated the national language of the Grand Duchy, the term used is Dräi Eechelen . In German, it is colloquially known as Drei Eicheln .

The City park in which the Fort is situated is also named for the Three Acorns.

The round tower design of the Three Acorns, and another local sight, the Malakoff Tower, have a very similar design; the difference being that Fort Thuengen can boast three towers, not one.

In recent years, the Fort has undergone a program of refurbishment and was picked for the site of a new art museum, known as Mudam (1), which adjoins the structure.

As well as a contemporary photograph of the Fort, I have supplied one which dates from the late 19th century century. This older photograph, if examined closely, will show that even by the end of the 19th century the structure had become somewhat overgown, clearly indicating years of redundancy from an active military use.

November 27, 2012


(1) However, already existing fortifications on the site had been previous built following plans by the French military engineer Vauban.

(2) 'Mudam' stands for (in French) Musée d'art moderne Grand-Duc Jean (German: Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst ; Létzebuergesch: Musée fir zäitgenëssesch Konscht ); interestingly, the German and Létzebuergesch wording here is regarded as descriptive rather than formal. Sometimes, the abbreviation 'MUDAM' (i.e., in capitals) is preferred. The Museum is thus patronized by former Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921-) and its permanent collection contains works by well known artists such as Andy Warhol.

Also worth seeing

In Luxembourg City itself, visitor attractions include: the Pont Adolphe over the picturesque Pétrusse Valley; the Grand Ducal Palace; the birthplace of Robert Schuman; Place Guillaume II , the Cathedral; the Gelle Fra monument; and many others.


How to get there: From Luxembourg Airport (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel, car rental is available. For North American travellers who make 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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