Festivals and traditions

2016 National Day – join the celebrations!

Festivities and rejoicing everywhere in the country

Luxembourg's National Day is celebrated on 23 June 2016. As every year, tens of thousands of Luxembourgers, foreign residents, cross-border workers and tourists gather on 23 June as well as on 22 June, the eve of National Day, to celebrate the birthday of HRH the Grand Duke. This year, share your best moments and emotions on Twitter: #Nationalfeierdag!

Traditionally, the festivities for National Day take place over two days: 22 June is mainly devoted to large-scale popular festivities; 23 June is characterised by official events.

Highlights of the National Day

Visits by members of the grand ducal family

Every year, on the occasion of the National Day, several members of the grand ducal family, joined by members of the government, visit a number of towns around the Grand Duchy. These include as usual Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest town in the Grand Duchy, which welcomes the hereditary grand ducal couple on 22 June 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Place de la Résistance. A good opportunity to see the hereditary grand ducal couple but also Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, up close.

TRH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess visit the municipality of Troisvierges, where they arrive at 5.30 p.m. at the Place de la Mairie.

Torchlight procession (Fakelzuch)

Groupe de scouts participant à la retraite aux flambeaux

Held in Luxembourg City every year on the eve of the National Day, the traditional torchlight procession always attracts thousands of onlookers. It is made up of many clubs from the City of Luxembourg, and is followed by the Military Music's marching band. At 9.10 p.m., the procession takes the Avenue de la Gare, then passes in front of the official stand which is located on Boulevard Roosevelt, opposite the Place de la Constitution.

Fireworks in Luxembourg City

The fireworks to celebrate the birthday of HRH the Grand Duke are fired from Fort Thüngen (Trois Glands) and light up the sky at 11 p.m. on 22 June 2016 during 17 minutes. The best places for watching the fireworks are Boulevard Ulveling, Boulevard Thorn, the Corniche, Montée de Clausen and Montée de Pfaffenthal, Côte d'Eich, Cents, Fetschenhof, and the suburbs of Grund, Clausen and Pfaffenthal. It is nonetheless visible beyond the limits of Luxembourg City.

Soldats et policers présentent leurs drapeaux lors de la paradePopular festivities

The festivities of Luxembourg City are mentioned in many travel guides, and for a good reason! On the evening of 22 June, concerts taking place in many places of the city centre have buildings and people shaking to hot rhythms. Special buses and trains depart from Luxembourg City, so that all the partygoers can get home safely and soundly after the end of the festivities.

Moreover, countless streets of towns and villages in the country transform into party miles, where thousands of revelling residents and visitors meet to listen to concerts, dance and enjoy themselves.

Official ceremony, military parade and Te Deum

On 23 June, at 10 a.m., an official ceremony is going to take place at the Philharmonie Luxembourg. This is followed by a 21 gun salute fired from Fetschenhaff. During the traditional ceremonial drill, which takes place at 12 p.m. in the Avenue de la Liberté, HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke inspect the troops, before attending a military and a civilian parade. A Te Deum takes place at 4.30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg.

Programme

Here is a summary of the official programme:

Wednesday, 22 June 2016Le Grand-Duc Henri parle aux écoliers pendant sa visite

  • 4 p.m.: Ceremonial changing of the guard outside the grand ducal Palace in Luxembourg City.
  • 5 to 7.15 p.m.: TRH the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess visit the town of Esch-sur-Alzette.
  • 5.30 to 7 p.m.: TRH the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess visit the municipality of Troisvierges.
  • 9.10 p.m.: Torchlight procession of the clubs of Luxembourg City and the Military Music's marching band in the presence of the members of the grand ducal family (boulevard Roosevelt).
  • 11 p.m.: Fireworks, set off at Fort Thüngen (Trois Glands).


Thursday, 23 June 2016

  • 10 a.m.: Official ceremony at the Philharmonie Luxembourg.
  • 11 a.m.: 21 gun salute fired from Fetschenhaff.
  • 11.30 a.m.: Ceremonial drill in the presence of HRH the Grand Duke and HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke (Avenue de la Liberté).
  • 4.30 p.m.: Te Deum at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg.

Public transportation is recommended

As every year, the streets of the City of Luxembourg will be filled with partygoers, and in addition a number of streets will be closed to traffic – so we strongly recommend using the free public transportation network (trains and buses) to travel into the city. Thus, special bus services have been organised for the eve of National Day: from 6 p.m. until 3.15 a.m., all buses of the City of Luxembourg are free of charge. 

A mosaic of portraits on the Luxembourg flag

23-drapeau-schneider-137For the occasion of the festivities surrounding National Day 2016, a number of giant Luxembourg flags made up of a mosaic of portraits are visible in a number of places in Luxembourg, such as the airport, the train station, but also in some thirty embassies and permanent missions throughout the world, etc.

Jacques Schneider is the Luxembourg artist at the origin of this project. He seeks to express through 'De Lëtzebuerger Fändel' that Luxembourg is a multicultural country, where more than 170 nationalities live together. During two months he journeyed through the national territory in order to take portrait pictures of thousands of Luxembourg-lovers. After having taken the pictures, Jacques Schneider painted each one by hand in red, white or blue. The result of his work is visible from 22 June until one month after National Day, at the latest.

Games festival, festival in Lellingen, etc.

In addition to the official programme, there is a wide-ranging programme of activities for residents and tourists. The major events are:

  • the games festival (Fête des Jeux), organised by Luxembourg City's Educational and Leisure Centre (Centre d'animation pédagogique et de loisirs, CAPEL), turning the Kinnekswiss into a world of creative workshops and games for the whole family;
  • a number of free public concerts on the Place d'Armes and the Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg City;
  • the Open Air Konstfestival Lellgen (an open-air art festival).

During the whole week, cualtural events will enliven the city, in the context of the Luxembourg City Tourist Office's 'Summer in the City'.

Royal-grand-ducal origins

The origins of National Day date back to the 19th century, when Luxembourg was ruled by the king of the Netherlands in personal union; indeed, the national day was the king's birthday, and was thus called Kinneksdag (king's day). The ruling dynasty took over this tradition, until Grand Duchess Charlotte, who ruled from 1919 to 1964. In 1961 it was decided to switch the date for National Day (now called Groussherzoginsgebuertsdag, i.e. Grand Duchess' birthday) from 23 January to 23 June – for meteorological reasons.

National Day has been celebrated on 23 June each year since 1962. So, this is the 54th time National Day is being celebrated on 23 June.

(Article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)

  • Updated 26-06-2016