ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Bivels, Luxembourg, on the Our River: shadows, colours and borders blend

Updated on May 16, 2018
Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
Drawing by Victor Hugo representing the Our Valley around the village of Bivels, 1871
Drawing by Victor Hugo representing the Our Valley around the village of Bivels, 1871 | Source
Nico Klopp's 1930 painting, Road at Bivels
Nico Klopp's 1930 painting, Road at Bivels | Source
Map location of Vianden, Luxembourg
Map location of Vianden, Luxembourg | Source

A powerful sense of toposemantic oneness?

Bivels, part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's Canton of Vianden, has been the subject of interest to artists. Two well known representations, one a sketch, the other an oil painting, are respectively by the celebrated French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who spent time in exile at nearby Vianden, and by the Luxembourger artist Nico Klopp (1894-1930).

In my view, both these representations are, each in its way, brilliant.

Victor Hugo's sketch of Bivels, 1871

The sketch — on the surface, simple — well expresses a number of the topographical and toposemantic features around Bivels. We clearly see the meandering Our River , which marks the border between Luxembourg and Germany. There is a strong sense also of the contrast between light and shade and of the contours of the hills above the meandering river, and, in a rather engaging way, it is hard to see where the shade ends and the contour forms begin. Its very understated character as a sketch actually seems to add to the sense of elusiveness and mystery.

Nico Klopp's painting, Road at Bivels, 1930

Klopp was a part of the Salon de la Sécession school of artists in Luxembourg, influenced by Expressionism and Fauvism, and it is evident that Klopp identified with various of the salient themes of these movements, including the expression of emotional experience and experimentation with colours in a manner which goes beyond representational and realistic aspects of painting. Having said this, even in Klopp's use of colour in his 1930 painting, 'Road at Bivels', reproduces something of the strong interplay of light and colour which occur naturally on the hill contours in the Our Valley around Bivels. In the painting, form, colour and shadow are strong elements, but there is also a deep tension between each of these elements, the division between which remains yet somewhat elusive.

Thus each of these works in its own way seems to capture, by its creator's use of light, colour and form, something of the images of topographical similarities which occur on both sides of the Luxembourg-German border around Bivels, relatively remote as it is from Luxembourg City. As if to say, whereas legally and nationally the boundary almost screams its distinctions, yet toposemantically the form and psychology of the territory suggest a oneness, even amidst the contrasts of form, shadow and colour.

Thus also, both the scenery and topography around Bivels, and the paintings themselves, can be a moving experience.

A note on spelling

This place spells its name in three ways, or, at least, has done so in the past. 'Bivels' is the usual spelling in French. Whereas in Létzebuegesch, the national language of Luxembourg, the spelling is 'Biwels'.

Interestingly, the French title of Nico Klopp's painting of Bivels has the spelling 'Bievels'.

Also worth seeing

A footbridge connects Bivels with Germany, close to the Medieval and partly ruined castle of Falkenstein .

Vianden (distance: 3.6 kilometres) is a picturesque town on the Our River , with a museum dedicated to Victor Hugo and a fine, Medieval castle.

Be sure to visit also the photogenic and historic Luxembourg City (distance: 54 kilometres).

Clervaux (distance: 27 kilometres) has a fine castle, distinguished ecclesiastical architecture and Battle of the Bulge memories.

Grevenmacher (distance: 53 kilometres) has a picturesque old chapel situated at the top of a long set of steps.

Nennig , Germany (distance: 71 kilometres) in the Saarland, has an interesting Roman villa museum, with a fine mosaic.

Trier , Germany (distance: 57 kilometres) is an ancient city with many architectural treasures including the Porta Nigra , dating from Roman times.

Audun-le-Tiche , France (distance: 75 kilometres), situated adjacent to the border with Luxembourg, has a Merovingian necropolis museum.

Bastogne , Belgium (distance: 53 kilometres), is visited by many Americans on account of its Battle of the Bulge associations .


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 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. Please 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.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)