L-R: Tom Weber; Jean-Paul Muller; Michel Gloden, Mayor of Schengen; Lex Delles, Tourism Minister; Dr Norbert Mayer; Horst Erbguth, owner of “MS Regensburg”; Susanne Völkl; Credit: MECO

Luxembourg's General Directorate for Tourism has announced the official acquisition of the historic ship "MS Princesse Marie Astrid".

On Tuesday 3 August 2021, a delegation led by the Minister for Tourism, Lex Delles, and the Mayor of the municipality of Schengen, Michel Gloden, went to Regensburg in Germany to acquire the MS Princesse Marie Astrid, the boat on which the Schengen Agreement was signed on 14 June 1985. Representatives of the municipality of Schengen (Mayor Michel Gloden, first alderman Jean-Paul Muller and alderman Tom Weber) and the owner of the boat signed a purchase contract. Note that the former MS Princesse Marie Astrid boat has been sailing for some years under the name "MS Regensburg" as an excursion boat on the Danube.

The acquisition of the MS Princesse Marie-Astrid will be followed by a call for projects for the transformation of the ship, the installation of a museography and the construction of a new quay in Schengen. The authorities plan to set up an exhibition and versatile performance space on the historic vessel. The boat will be kept in seaworthy condition and docked in Schengen, near the European Museum. During special events, the ship will be able to travel across Europe. It is thus expected to complete the museum's tourist offer and make Schengen a cultural and historical place of high tourist and cultural value, dedicated to the idea of ​​a unified Europe. The completion of this project, the cost of which amounts to €5.81 million, is scheduled for 2025.

Tourism Minister Lex Delles recalled that “promoting remembrance tourism is a government priority. One of the flagship projects in this area will be the upgrading of the old boat 'MS Princesse Marie-Astrid'. The transformation of the ship into a meeting place and the enhancement of the role of the Grand Duchy in the process of European integration offer an excellent opportunity for remembrance tourism. The official acquisition of the old boat 'MS Princesse Marie Astrid' is an important first step in this context”.

Mayor Michel Gloden added that “the return of the 'MS Princesse Marie-Astrid' boat is a great opportunity for the municipality of Schengen. We are particularly proud that the boat, on which the Schengen Agreement was signed and which promotes European values, returns to Schengen, the symbol of the cradle of a Europe without borders".