(L-R) Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, President of Luxembourg Red Cross; Michel Simonis, Director General of Luxembourg Red Cross; Max Hahn, Minister of Family Affairs, Solidarity, Living Together & Reception of Refugees; Credit: Jazmin Campbell / Chronicle.lu

On Thursday 6 June 2024, the Luxembourg Red Cross laid the foundation stone for the "Maison de la Croix-Rouge", a new site which will group together many of the humanitarian organisation's services.

Dozens of people attended the ceremony which featured short speeches (in French and Luxembourgish) by the Director General of the Luxembourg Red Cross, Michel Simonis, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, who is President of the Luxembourg Red Cross, several government ministers and the Managing Director of IKO Real Estate, Eric Lux.

The ceremony kicked off with opening remarks by Michel Simonis, in which he reflected on historical events leading to the development of a new home for the Luxembourg Red Cross. He added that the organisation relied on continued support from the government (e.g. helping to finance the project).

In her subsequent speech, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa described the day as historic also as it marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings - she noted the links between the Red Cross and the First World War. She recalled that the Red Cross has always served to support vulnerable people. "With a renewed determination, we reaffirm our commitment to pursue our humanitarian mission: Mënschen hëllefen," she stated. The Grand Duchess described the new building as not only a place of work but also an "inclusive space" which is "accessible to all" and promotes solidarity and exchange. She added that it would be "a place where ideas transform into actions, where plans transform into concrete reality and where hope takes shape", all the while "remaining faithful to [the Red Cross'] fundamental principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence". She thanked everyone involved in making this project possible. She concluded: "By laying this first stone, we are not only constructing a building, we are constructing a future, a future where we will be better equipped to respond to unfortunately more and more crises which we have to face."

For his part, Eric Lux spoke about Howald as a "cité fully in development", with good transport connections, etc. He reflected on the Red Cross project, which is being developed by IKO and which he described as a future-ready place to work and to live. He also thanked everyone involved in the project.

The next speakers were Luxembourg's Minister of Health and Social Security, Martine Deprez, the Minister of Finance, Gilles Roth, and the Minister of Family Affairs, Solidarity, Living Together and Reception of Refugees, Max Hahn. Between them, they touched on the origins of the Red Cross, praised the organisation (particularly highlighting the aspect of solidarity) and mentioned how their respective ministries support this project and the organisation's various services.

The speakers, accompanied by Luxembourg Red Cross Vice-President Michel Wurth, proceeded to sign a document to remember this day and which was then placed in a time capsule. This was followed by "tea time" (tea and finger food).

The Maison de la Croix-Rouge building is set to be ready by 2027.