6 March is the Sunday of the pretzels this year: it's the forth Sunday of the fasting period, traditionally called 'Bretzelsonndeg'. That day, the man offers this specialty of Luxembourg pastry-making to his beloved. But watch out: during leap years – and 2016 is a leap year – the tradition is inverted: it's the women's turn to offer a pretzel.
On 23 February 2016, the NGO Amnesty International (AI) published its annual report for 2015/2016 on the situation of human rights around the world. Despite the fact that the Grand Duchy is not among the 160 countries included in the report, AI Luxembourg praised the work carried out under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the second half of 2015, particularly with regard to the refugee issue.
Le Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean, aussi connu sous son acronyme Mudam, sonne le glas de l’hiver et des jours sombres en inaugurant par moins de 5 expositions temporaires en même temps. De sculptures, via des installations vidéo, jusqu’aux tableaux, l’art moderne se montre sous toutes ses formes, dont des tableaux de Pablo Picasso lui-même.
With the refugees crisis reaching new heights, the number of applications for asylum in the Grand Duchy has more than doubled in the past year. This makes it all the more important to manage to integrate refugees rapidly. A study was carried out recently by researchers at the University of Luxembourg's Faculty of Language and Literature, Humananities, Arts, and Education to examine the general conditions for the integration of recognised refugees in the Grand Duchy's labour market.
This year's Economy Day takes place on 25 February 2016 It presents an opportunity to take stock of the economic situation and consider ways to improve business development in Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Thus, this conference unites the community of entrepreneurs, institutions, policy and decision makers from Luxembourg and the Greater Region at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.
In 1991, the designation Crémant was protected by seven French regions and Luxembourg. Since then, Luxembourg's vineyards have provided outstanding sparkling wines with a quality that has never stopped improving. With the new designation 'Crémant Millésimé', the conditions for access to the quality summit of sparkling wines have become even more demanding – all to please the palate of gourmets.
According to the last calculations, Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, counts 110,499 inhabitants (31 December 2015). In comparison: in 2007, eight years ago, 86,977 people lived in Luxembourg City. This considerable increase of the population is mostly due to immigration. The capital thus remains an attractive place to live.
Anise Koltz is the 'Grande Dame' of Luxembourg's poets. Since the 1960s, she has been creating an opus which is of a disarming sobriety. The Gallimard publishing house has now published her anthology which is entitled 'Somnambule du jour', in the context of their collection 'Poésie/Gallimard', a rare distinction which is even more important for the Grand Duchy, as it is for the first time that the works of a Luxembourgish writer have been chosen do be part of this collection.
STATEC has produced its first study on single-parent families in the Grand Duchy The study notes firstly a real danger of single-parent households falling into a precarious economic situation, and also that the danger is more acute for women and 'feminised' sectors of the economy more generally. Overall, single-parent families (of which there are about 6,700) represent 3.2% of all households, 9.0% of households with children, and 5.1% of the population. These percentages are slightly lower in the Grand Duchy than in the neighbouring countries.
34.5% of the Luxembourg territory is covered with forests. These constitute the country's biggest biodiversity reservoir and fulfill several other very important functions, such as the filtration of drinking water, the oxygen production, the fight against erosion and the storage of CO2.
'Déng Talenter, Déng Zukunft' (Your talents, your future), that's the motto of the national contest of trades and professions LuxSkills. The 8th edition takes place from 24 to 27 February 2016 at the National Centre for Vocational Training (CNFPC) in Esch/Alzette.
The official launch of the Luxembourg Presidency of the committee of ministers will take place on 22 February 2016 at 5 p.m. in the Neumünster Abbey in Luxembourg. On this occasion, the priorities of the Presidency of the Grand-Duchy, as well as the Benelux plan of work 2016 will be presented.
Luxembourg cyclist Bob Jungels hit the big time by winning the first stage of the Tour of Oman on 16 February 2016. After 145,5 km between the Oman Exhibition Center and Al Bustan, the young 23-year-old Luxembourger slipped in the red jersey. This is the first victory of the cyclist of the team Etixx-Quick-Step in 2016, a year which started rather well for him after his good performance at the 'Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana' in Spain.
After having received an Oscar in March 2014, Luxembourg is now also a Grammy winner, the most important music prize in the world. During the night of 15 February 2016, Angelique Kidjo has been awarded – for the third time – the famous prize in Los Angeles in the category 'Best World Music Album', for the album 'Angelique Kidjo Sings with the Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg'.
On 15 February 2016, fDi Magazine (belongs to the Financial Times group) published a new edition of its ranking 'European Cities & Regions of the Future 2016/2017', measuring the attractiveness of European cities and regions for foreign investors. In this 2016 edition, the City of Luxembourg ranks 9th in the overall ranking of European cities of the future.
The film 'The Clearstream Affair' ('L'enquête' in French), directed by Vincent Garenq (Samsa Film), is nominated in the category 'Best Screenplay Adapted from a Book'. 'The Brand New Testament' ('Le Tout Nouveau Testament' in French) directed by Jaco van Dormael (Juliette Films), is nominated in the category 'Best Foreign Film'.
For ten days, the Luxembourg City Film Festival - a festival for the general public, with a growing reputation - will be offering a selection of nearly sixty films that have never been shown and have an original theme, style or origin. The festival also provides an excellent showcase for national production: no fewer than fifteen national (co-)productions are to be shown.
For years, the Luxembourg film has been present at the Berlinale. And 2016 will not make an exception. Even though this year, from 11 to 12 February 2016, no Luxembourg production is part of the official programme, four Luxembourg coproductions are represented at the European Film Market, namely 'Colonia Dignidad' from Florian Gallenberger (Iris Productions), 'The Dark Side of the Moon' from Stephan Rick (Iris Productions), 'Mammal' from Rebecca Daily (Calach Films, Les films fauves) and 'Préjudice' d’Antoine Cuypers (Samsa Film).
Every year, on the first Sunday of Lent, the inhabitants of Luxembourg celebrate the famous 'Buergsonndeg' (Sunday of firebrands). At nightfall, wooden crosses are lit on village heights throughout the country in order to symbolically chase away the winter and welcome spring time.
The American 'Heritage Foundation', in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, has published the 22nd edition of the 'Index of Economic Freedom'. The Grand Duchy occupies 19th place in the ranking, which compares economic freedom in 186 countries, in part by analysing legal regulation.
'The Brand New Testament', a coproduction by the Luxembourg film company Juliette Films, was the big winner at the 6th Magritte du cinéma-Awards, which took place on Saturday 6 February 2016 in Brussels, and was able to win 4 awards: best film, best director, best screenplay, best original music.
From 16 to 18 February 2016, Luxexpo (Luxembourg-Kirchberg) will be hosting the world's largest optic fibre event - Fibre to the Home (FTTH). The 13th edition of the event comprises workshops and lectures on the subject of fibre optics. For the 2016 edition, 107 exhibitors and partners will be getting together in the Grand Duchy. On 17 February, Prime Minister and Minister of Communications Xavier Bettel will deliver the official opening address.
uxembourgers love the carnival period, which officially begins on 2 February (Candlemas Day) to last until Ash Wednesday (Äschermëttwoch). Strictly speaking, the carnival period ends on Ash Wednesday. During the festival weeks and particularly on Fuessonnden (Carnival Sunday, 7 February 2016) and Fuessméinden (Carnival Monday, 8 February 2016), the city centres belong to the Fuesbôken, disguised as pirates, vampires, angels, princes(ses) oder in any other way. On these days, local associations organise a multitude of masked balls, processions and cavalcades for young and old.
At a press conference held on 3 February 2016, the National Report on the Situation of Youth in Luxembourg 2015 was presented. This report focuses on the issue of transition between adolescence and adulthood in Luxembourg in the context of the Luxembourg society, and therefore represents a concrete image of what it means to grow up in Luxembourg.
On 3 February 2016, the Luxembourg Export Credit Agency (Office du Ducroire, ODL) and the Chamber of Commerce organised the 2015-2016 edition of the 'Export Award' prize. The ceremony was attended by His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke and some 200 participants. The Export Award honours Luxembourg SMEs that have distinguished themselves by their efforts to conquer new markets.
Safer Internet Day (SID) was launched at the initiative of the European Commission and is being organised by the international network Insafe. The 13th edition is held worldwide this Tuesday, 9 February 2016 and aims to raise awareness and mobilise for safe and responsible use of digital media. In Luxembourg, the government initiative BEE SECURE initiates and supports events within the context of this day.
The Luxembourg Government announced a series of measures to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources. Amongst the key steps undertaken, as part of the spaceresources.lu initiative, will be the development of a legal and regulatory framework confirming certainty about the future ownership of minerals extracted in space from Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) such as asteroids.
The drama 'Préjudice', a Belgian-Durch-Luxembourgish production by Antoine Cuyper, with participation by the Luxembourgish society Samsa Film, was awarded at the Festival of Angers in January 2016. The film tells the story of a family whose tears come to light as the daughter makes her pregnancy public.
For the sixth time, the international contemporary art exhibition in Esch-sur-Alzette, bringing together artists from the Grand Duchy and further afield, is to be held in the main town in the former mining area of the Grand Duchy. Organised by the friendly association of former workers at the ARBED VII rolling mill in Esch-Belval and the Cercle artistique Esch, the exhibition has attracted 17 artists from six different countries, showcasing artistic creativity and the cultural aspect of a town heavily marked by its steelmaking past.
The EU-SILC survey from 2013 shows that Luxembourgers are satisfied with their life in the Grand Duchy. The country therefore ranks in the top third of European countries, and well above the average of the 28 member states of the European Union. Especially the financial situation and use of time of the households speaks in favour of Luxembourg, but also the satisfaction with life in general, recreational areas and green spaces, and employment. In short, the study confirms that Luxembourg combines welfare and work.
It was one of the major announcements made before the Presidency began: in the two largest cities in the Grand Duchy, the Government - in partnership with the municipal authorities - would be offering a free, open Wi-Fi service. In the light of the success this initiative met with, the people in charge of the service began to look into continuing it beyond the Presidency.
Every year on 2 February, on the occasion of 'Liichtmëssdag' ou Blieserchesdag (Lighting Day or St Blaise), children go 'liichten' (celebrate or bring the light). This is a Luxembourgish tradition that goes back to a pagan practice.
Speeders beware! From 1 February 2016, fixed speed cameras have been operational - as a trial phase. The first 10 terminals have been activated. They will be complemented by six mobile cameras that can be used on the entire road network. However, being flashed remains without consequences for the moment: the 'hot' phase will begin on 16 March 2016.
The consulting firm Mercer has published the 2016 edition of its annual Quality of Living Survey whose purpose it is to measure the quality of life for expatriates in their host cities worldwide. As last year, the capital of Luxembourg is ranked 19th in the global ranking.