Each year in August and September, the Schueberfouer is held on the Glacis Square in the Limpertsberg quarter of the city of Luxembourg. Today a funfair, its history goes way, waaay back. The year is 1298 and Heinrich VII rules as count of Luxembourg when the future King of Germany (since 1308) and Holy Roman Emperor (since 1312) takes the initiative of establishing a fourty-day long summer market in Luxembourg. However, the market soon falls apart.
|Guillaume and Stéphanie at|
the Schueberfouer in 2015
(Photo: Cour grand-ducale)
The market established by the ruler of the House of Luxembourg soon became a huge hit both with the merchants and the population. Merchants from abroad paid a fixed fee to participate with no additional customs duties and no taxes on sales. In addition, Jean guaranteed their protection - and the protection of their goods - while they participated in the market plus a seven days before and after.
|Archduchess Marie-Astrid in the 1960's|
(Photo: Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort)
The fair was moved in 1610 to the Glacis, a huge open space beyond the westward fortifications of Luxembourg City, after the Limpertsberg wood had been removed to improve the defensive capabilities of the city. Already during the 18th century, shows and games became part of the fair but it was not until the early 20th century that it became the funfair the Schoeberfouer is known as today. With the year 2015 marking the 675th edition of the fair, it is not only one of the oldest but also one of the biggest of its kind. The Schueberfouer is visited by about two million visitors, four times the number of inhabitants the Grand Duchy has, each year.
Fun(ny) fact: A herd of sheep are the first to officially enter the Schueberfouer on its first day after the opening ceremony ribbon has been cut. They are accompanied by a band, dressed in the traditional blue coat and red scarf of shepherds, playing a tune called Hämmelsmarsch inviting the people to come out an joing the fair. While the origin of the tradition is somewhat of a mystery, historians believe it goes all the way back to the 14th century. The Hämmelsmarsch isn't only played for the Schueberfouer but all throughout Luxembourgish villages and towns whenever a funfair is held.