Saturday, June 22, 2013

National Day: Schedule

This weekend is Luxembourg's weekend of the year! Tomorrow is the country's National Day but celebrations are already kicking off today. Tomorrow's festivities will be shown live on TV and also be streamed by the country's biggest newspaper, Wort - we will make sure to post links in time. Until then, here's an exhaustive (and exhausting) schedule about what will go on in the Grand Duchy Grand Ducal Family-wise in relation to National Day.

Palais grand-ducal

National Day traditionally starts with the changing of the guard at the palais in the afternoon hours. It's not a major celebration and thus there isn't any royal attendance but a nice little spectacle nonetheless.


The Hereditary Grand Duke and his +1 - this year for the first of many times his wife, the Hereditary Grand Duchess - traditionally visit Luxembourg's second biggest town, Esch-sur-Alzette, on the eve of National Day. This year, their visit has also been incorporated into their tour of the country which will lead them to the country's 15 Centres de Développement et d’Attraction.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will be arriving in Esch-Belval, a former brownfield turned scientific and cultural centre, at 4:45pm. At the Avenue de Rock'n'Roll, they will be welcomed by an array of politicians including prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, ministers Mars di Bartolomeo, Jean-Marie Halsdorf and Marc Spautz as well as Lydia Mutsch, mayor of Esch-sur-Alzette.

After a short walk through the Avenue de Rock'n'Roll, they will also be greeted by Olivier Toth, general director of the Rockhal, Luxembourg's biggest concert hall, and Josée Hansen, chair of the board of directors. To kick off their visit, they will have a look at the "Main Hall", the major concert hall, and the "Club", a smaller concert hall. Afterwards, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple will get a taste of music by listening to the rehearsals for this year's "Screaming Fields", a music competition for student bands. They will also meet with members of the hardcore band Blood to Prove.

In addition, the couple will also visit the Massenoire building which houses the exhibitions "Belval&more" about the historical and contemporary context of Belval and "Public Art Experience" where they will view a presentation about the future university district planned on site, the Cité des Sciences

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will than proceed to the Place de la Résistance where they will lay a wreath at the war memorial. With a motorcade they will then make their way to the town hall of Esch-sur-Alzette.

The couple will get the chance to witness the performances of young gymnasts of Espérance Esch, the country's largest sports club celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. They will then watch a parade of different clubs and associations of the town. After a short reception hosted in their honour, the Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess will make an appearance on the balcony of the town hall, before the will get the chance to mingle with the population at the Escher Volleksfest, where they will also light a fire.

In case you are interested, che-che-check out our photo gallery of National Day in Esch since 1939.


Meanwhile, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will be visiting Eschweiler, a small town in Northern Luxembourg in the canton of Wiltz. At 5pm, the couple will be officially welcomed by ministers Marco Schank, Romain Schneider and Martine Hansen as well as the town's mayor, François Rossler, and a couple of other important people.

The Grand Ducal Couple will first visit the Haus Edith Stein, a house for women in distress established by the Fondation Maison de la porte ouverte and the ministry for equal opportunities. After a short presentation about the Oesling region covering the Northern part of the Grand Duchy, they will visit the local church. They will also be laying a wreath of flowers at the war memorial.

Afterwards, there is going to be an official reception at the town hall including speeches as well as a short concert by the children's choir of the local primary school and another performance of children. They will also get the chance to mingle with the people of Eschweiler. 

Place Guillaume II

At 10pm, the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess accompanied by their children (according to the government) or members of the Grand Ducal Family (according to the cour) will arrive at the Place Guillaume II to view a torchlight parade that will also celebrate the 1050th birthday of the city of Luxembourg - happy birthday Luxembourg! 

Te Deum, Cathédrale Notre-Dame

And then the actual National Day arrives with the Te Deum at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg at 10:30am. For the first time, it will be an interconfessional religious service. Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich will be assisted by Alain Nacache, the chief rabbi of Luxembourg, Messouad Atrous, imam of the Muslim community, and Spyridon Tsekouras, priest of the Greek Orthodox Church.

According to the government, the Te Deum will be attended by members of the Grand Ducal Family while the cour specifically mentions the Grand Duke and Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess. I, however, am not giving up hope just yet to see any other children of the Grand Ducal Couple. The cour has been imprecise about who was going to attend events in the past though sadly (for us, at this specific moment) they have been pretty spot on during the last weeks and months. 

Military Parade, Avenue de la Liberté

Afterwards and whoever attends, only the Grand Ducal Couple and the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple will make their way to the Avenue de la Liberté where the Grand Duke and his heir will inspect the troops and afterwards view a parade of military and police forces, as well as members of the fire brigade, rescue forces and all kinds of other people doing good for the country.

National Day Gala

At 8pm, a gala reception including dashing uniforms, stunning dresses and sparkling tiaras - [insert my typical rant about them not releasing pictures here] - will take place at the palais. Invited are members of the government, the bureau of the Chamber of Deputies, the Council of State, representatives of the judiciary, heads of the administration and foreign ambassadors.

Garden parties

On 24 July and 28 July, the Grand Ducal Family will host two garden parties at the Château de Berg in honour of all kinds of people. 

Further reads in relation to National Day

Source: Agenda of the cour grand-ducale, Communiqué du gouvernement

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