Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Luxembourg National Day Events (June 22-23)

It’s the big day, folks: today is the start of celebrations marking the Fête Nationale, Luxembourg’s National Day. The weather looks a bit iffy at the moment, but claims that the rain should move out of Luxembourg Ville by about 6pm…let’s hope their forecast is correct, because we’ve got a lot to do this evening!

While the actual National Day is tomorrow, June 23, the celebrating starts today with concerts all over town (and all over the country), a torchlight parade, a dazzling fireworks display and more food and drink stands than a merry-maker would ever need to make merry. Read on for the schedule.

For information about traffic diversions for National Day, click here (in French).

Live outside of Luxembourg Ville? Check out the News352 roundup of events throughout Luxembourg here.

A Bit of History

Luxembourg National Day began as Groussherzoginsgebuertsdag, or “the Grand Duchess’s Birthday.” It was a celebration to commemorate the birthday of Luxembourg’s beloved Grande Duchesse Charlotte, who reigned from 1919 to 1964. Her birthday was actually January 23, but in 1962 the date of the celebration was changed from January 23 to June 23 because the weather was much more pleasant five months later in the year.

When her son, Grand Duke Jean, took the throne in 1964, the date of the celebration remained the same, but its purpose became a bit broader; in addition to celebrating the Grand Duke (or Duchess) the festivities also mark a national day of pride.

June 22 Agenda

Free concerts begin in the Place d’Armes as part of the final day of the Fête de la Musique. Full schedule here.   

Solemn changing of the guard in front of the Grand Ducal Palace.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will pay a visit to Oberanven (Municipality of Niederanven)

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess will pay a visit Esch-sur-Alzette.

Music will fill the air in Place Guillaume II when the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg strikes up cinematic tunes you’ll recognize for “Kneudler Goes Showtime”.

Torchlight Procession. A procession of firefighters, scouts, clubs and community organizations will march through town holding torches. The procession will begin on Boulevard Royal, continue down the Grand-Rue, onto Rue du Fosse and will end in Place Guillaume II, where the military band will perform in the presence of members of the Grand Ducal family.

Click here for a map of the torchlight procession route.

Fireworks. A large and dazzling fireworks display presented in honor of the Grand Duke will take place over the Pont Adolphe. If you can see the sky above the bridge or the Pétrusse Valley from where you’re standing, you should have a great view. (It gets crowded, so find your spot early.)

Concerts and merry-making continue throughout town; the last concert ends at 4am at the Rue du St-Esprit stage.

June 23 Agenda

10am - 6pm
Kanner Spillfest. Games and activities for children will take place all day long in the Pètrusse Valley by the Schlittenhiwwel, the large grassy sledding hill. Adding to the fun, free rides will be given all day long on the tourist train, the Pètrusse Valley Express; rides depart from Place de la Constitution in front of the Gëlle Fra.

Te Deum. The Te Deum is a religious ceremony that takes place inside Cathédrale Notre-Dame. It is attended by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess and members of the Grand Ducal family, as well as national and city government officials, foreign diplomats and dignitaries. While the service is open to the public, seats are limited, so the best viewing point will actually be from your couch, as the ceremony is typically televised on RTL.

101 Gun Salute. A typical honorary salute of 101 guns will be fired from the Fetschenhof, in Clausen; you’ll hear it throughout the city.

Call to Arms. The prise d’armes, or call to arms, will take place outside of the Cathedral before Grand Duke Henri and the hereditary Grand Duke, Prince Guillaume.

Parade. A military parade will proceed down Avenue de la Liberté. If you head toward Martyrs, you’ll be in a prime spot to watch. For a map of the parade route and traffic deviations, click here.

Free Concert. Amicale Garnisounsmusek Dikkrech performance in Place d’Armes.

Free Concert. Big Band Opus 78 & Ladies of Soul will perform, featuring Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer. This will take place in Place Guillaume II.

Additional Information


  1. Great summary. Thanks !

  2. I hope the weather cooperated for all the festivities. I hope you enjoyed lots of beer, sausages and some great fireworks!

  3. Thanks so much for the summary. I only found out about the Children's Festival by reading your Luxemblog. We took the tourist train down to the Petrusse Valley and our 1 year old had a wonderful afternoon of play. The adults had a great time too!

  4. That's great to hear - and I'm glad the weather held off so you could enjoy the festival!