Joseph Rodesch, Science Communicator, FNR; Credit: Kangkan Halder

On Monday 29 November 2021, around 350 students met astronauts Claudie Haigneré and Reinhold Ewald as part of a drawing competition for schoolchildren with a passion for space, organised by the Esch2022 - European Capital of Culture team.

Under the patronage of Luxemburg's Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, the Rector of the Nancy-Metz Academy, Jean-Marc Huart, together with the Luxemburg Space Agency (LSA) and the Luxembourg Science Centre, Esch2022 invited schools in the Pro-Sud municipalities and the CCPHVA (la Communauté de Communes Pays Haut Val d’Alzette) to participate in the "Creative Competition - Youth Ideas for the Future of Space”. The award ceremony took place on Monday in the Grand Auditorium of the Maison du Savoir at the University of Luxembourg in Esch-Belval.

The children's creative ideas will play a major role in the REMIX Opening, the official opening of the European Capital of Culture on 26 February 2022. The drawing competition was aimed at schoolchildren and space enthusiasts aged six to twelve. For each student who won a prize, this was awarded to his / her entire class. Ninteen classes were awarded prizes, representing approximately 350 pupils.

The Creative Competition is part of our ambition to unleash reactive energy through collaboration, exchange, dialogue, active participation and co-creation. We are very proud of the children's creative spirit and each drawing will contribute in its own unique way to the REMIX Opening to Esch2022. The spotlight will be on co-creation, an extraordinary, participatory experience in living together”, said Nancy Braun, Managing Director of Esch2022.

Young people, schools and youth associations will play a major part in the official opening of the European Capital of Culture festivities. The Esch2022 team does not just want to offer an opening ceremony that would please young people, it seeks to co-create a participatory experience that showcases the creative ideas of tomorrow's adults. In this way, Esch2022 hopes to inspire the younger public to discover culture in its many forms and stimulate en intergenerational dialogue about the future of their region.

Many schools in the Esch2022 region took part in the competition. The winners of the competition, which was open specifically to 12,000 children aged six to twelve, came from Esch-sur-Alzette, Bettembourg, Differdange, Dudelange, Kayl / Tétange, Esch-Lallange, Mondercange, Sanem (all in Luxembourg) and Audun-Le-Tiche and Aumetz (both in France).

The pupils who brought victory to their classes were:

  • Lucie from Dellhéicht Primary School, Esch-sur-Alzette;
  • Martim from Bruch Primary School, Esch-sur-Alzette;
  • Jade, Leila and Leni from Lallange Primary School, Esch-sur-Alzette;
  • Maria from Reebou-Schoul Primary School, Bettembourg;
  • Mahé from École Fondamentale Internationale, Differdange (EIDE);
  • Juliana from Differdange Primary School, Differdange;
  • Dario from Oberkorn Primary School, Differdange;
  • Guilherme from Strutzbierg Primary School, Dudelange;
  • Joy, Santiago and Mariana from Kayl Faubourg Primary School, Kayl / Tétange;
  • Timo from Pontpierre Primary School, Mondercange;
  • Luis from Kanner Campus Belval Primary School, Sanem;
  • Anaëlle and Sacha from J. J. Rousseau Primary School, Audun-Le-Tiche;
  • Jade and Jules from Marie Curie Primary School, Aumetz.

The award ceremony took place in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, the Director General of Esch2022, Nancy Braun, the Scientific Director of the Luxembourg Science Centre, Guillaume Trap, the CEO of LSA, Dr. Marc Serres, French astronaut Claudie Haigneré and German astronaut Reinhold Ewald.

The 350 schoolchildren, together with their teachers and some parents, met with Claude Haigneré, the first European astronaut to fly on the International Space Station, and her counterpart, Reinhold Ewald, former director of the German space agency, on Monday. The two astronauts trained together for their adventures in space. In addition to accepting their awards, the children were given the opportunity to take part in interactive science experiments relating to the physical properties of space and enjoyed a taste of the REMIX opening to the European Capital of Culture festivities.

The first prizes consisted of an educational day at the Euro Space Center in Transinne in Belgium. The six second prizes include tickets to the Luxembpurg Science Centre and a fragment of a real meteorite. The seven third prizes will allow schoolchildren to discover the brand new planetarium at the Luxembourg Science Centre, the home of the European Space Education Resource Office's (ESERO) Luxembourg team.