Credit: © Lucien Koneczny

Today, Monday 16 December 2019, marked the launch of festivities for Luxembourg City's 25th World Heritage Anniversary.

Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, the Mayor of Luxembourg City, Lydie Polfer, and the President of the Luxembourg Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, Simone Beck, presented the programme "25 ans Lëtzebuerg patrimoine mondial". On this occasion, they unveiled, in the presence of Roger Michel, Director of the Institute for Digital Archeology in Oxford, and Françoise Poos, President of neimënster, a 3D replica of the Arch of Palmyra which was destroyed by the Daesh terrorist organisation in 2015.

These anniversary celebrations will run from 17 December 2019 to 17 December 2020 and thus coincide with the date on which (in 1994) the fortifications of the Old City of Luxembourg and its ancient quarters became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Following the first call for projects in July 2019, a jury made up of representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the City of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO approved 50 events, exhibitions, conferences, digital projects, guided tours, conferences and shows, book publishings and gift and souvenir productions submitted by members of the public. These events thus received the "25 ans Lëtzebuerg patrimoine mondial" label. The programme of labelled events is published on as well as on a first seasonal leaflet showing the events until 30 April 2020, available in cultural institutes and at the Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO). Interested private or public parties can submit their projects to be included in the official programme until 30 September 2020.

As part of this programme, the public is invited to discover, from tomorrow, the Unesco Visitor Center installed at the Lëtzebuerg City Museum. An academic session in the presence of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke will take place on the same day at the Cercle Cité and will be accompanied by a conference on the theme "Stadtentwichklung durch Inwertsetzung des Unesco-Weltkulturerbestatus" by Prof. Dr. Carola Neugebauer, Professor at the RWTH in Aachen.

Culture Minister Sam Tanson explained: “The variety of organisers and the richness of the programme testify to the very strong identification of the [figures] with this site of exceptional universal value. It is this concern for conservation, enhancement and transmission that matters to me and which meets Unesco's expectations”.

Luxembourg City Mayor Lydie Polfer added: “The City of Luxembourg proudly participates in these festivals, not only by the opening of the Unesco Visitor Center, but also with digital projects, thematic routes, an exhibition in collaboration with the City's Photo Library and the organisation of the 'Assembly of the Organisation of World Heritage Cities, of which Luxembourg is a member'".

Speaking about the replica of the Arch of Palmyra, installed on the forecourt of neimënster, Simone Beck said: "The destruction of cultural property in wars is often deliberate, as if to erase the memory of a people - digital archaeology has made the Arch of Palmyra an ambassador of peace on tour around the world". The arch is installed at neimënster until 29 February 2020.