Sunday, June 16, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Ons Heemecht, Luxembourg's National Anthem

The name of Luxembourg's national anthem is Ons Heemecht which translates to 'Our Homeland' in English. Its lyrics are taken from the first and the fourth and last verse of a poem by the same name written by Michael Lentz in 1859.

With his words, Lentz, a Luxembourgish poet, wanted to convey a powerful feeling of patriotism and at the same time express the message of freedom. Unlike many other anthem of the time, Ons Heemecht does not invite to combat but instead calls for peace. The lyrics are a representation of Luxembourg during that time, a nation which had found independence and lived in an atmosphere of harmony and prosperity.

Five years later, composer Jean Antoine Zinnen wrote a melody for the poem and it was firstly performed in public in Ettelbreck in 1864 when the Allgemeiner Luxemburger Musikverein which was later renamed into Union Grand-Duc Adolphe, the national umbrella organisation for music societies, bands, choirs and orchestras, celebrated its first anniversary.

On 25 May 1865, on the occasion of a music festival in Vianden, Ons Heemecht was performed for the first time with an instrumental accompaniment.

In 1895, the first and the last verse of Ons Heemecht became the Grand Duchy's national anthem but it wasn't until 1993 that the anthem was by law elevated to one of Luxembourg's national emblems.

video
Source: RTL

Original version in Luxembourgish

Wou d'Uelzecht durech d'Wisen zéit,
Duerch d'Fielsen d'Sauer brécht,
Wou d'Rief laanscht d'Musel dofteg bléit,
Den Himmel Wäin ons mécht,
Dat ass onst Land, fir dat mir géif
Heinidden alles won.
Onst Heemechtsland, dat mir sou déif
An onsen Hierzer dron.
Onst Heemechtsland, dat mir sou déif
An onsen Hierzer dron.

O Du do uewen, deem seng Hand
Duerch d'Welt d'Natioune leet,
Behitt Du d'Lëtzebuerger Land
Vru friemem Joch a Leed!
Du hues ons all als Kanner schonn
De fräie Geescht jo gin.
Looss viru blénken d'Fräiheetssonn,
Déi mir sou laang gesin.
Looss viru blénken d'Fräiheetssonn,
Déi mir sou laang gesin.

Poetic Translation into English by Nicholas Weydert

Where the Alzette slowly flows,
The Sura plays wild pranks,
Where fragrant vineyards amply grow
On the Mosella's banks;
There lies the land for which we would
Dare everything down here,
Our own, our native land which ranks
Deeply in our hearts.
Our own, our native land which ranks
Deeply in our hearts.

O Thou above whose powerful hand
Makes States or lays them low,
Protect this Luxembourger land
From foreign yoke and woe.
Your spirit of liberty bestow
On us now as of yore.
Let Freedom's sun in glory glow
For now and evermore.
Let Freedom's sun in glory glow
For now and evermore.

Translations into 21 more languages are located at Luxembourg.lu. 

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