Sam Tanson, Luxembourg's Minister of Culture; Credit: MCULT

On Tuesday 6 December 2022, the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg's parliament) adopted four major laws concerning the cultural sector. 

The four bills were: 

  • No. 7866 establishing a public establishment named "Kultur | lx - Arts Council Luxembourg" and the establishment of a financial aid scheme (passed unanimously);
  • No. 7948 establishing cultural leave and amending: the Labour Code; the amended law of 16 April 1979 establishing the general status of civil servants; the amended law of 24 December 1985 establishing the general status of municipal civil servants (passed unanimously);
  • No. 7920 amending the amended law of 19 December 2014 relating to social measures for the benefit of independent professional artists and intermittent performers, and the promotion of artistic creation (passed unanimously);
  • No. 8011 amending the amended law of 25 June 2004 on the reorganisation of state cultural institutes (passed unanimously). 

According to Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture, the COVID-19 pandemic and the successive confinements have proven that the cultural sector holds an essential place in our society, because it is both a vector of dialogue between citizens and a means of reflection on the human condition in a society. In order to be able to offer access to culture to the general public, it is deemed necessary to support the professionals and volunteers who bring the cultural sector to life and create professional aid structures to supervise them and provide them with the necessary financial assistance. For the Culture Ministry, all these passed bills thus represent a further step towards a more professional, accessible and visible cultural scene for the general public and will allow the sector to continue its development.

Bill no. 7866 creating a public institution called "Kultur|lx - Arts Council Luxembourg" 

Founded in August 2020 as a non-profit organisation, Kultur l lx thus sees its anchoring in the cultural scene perpetuated and its missions legally defined. Planned as one of the measures of the "Kulturentwécklungsplang" (KEP; cultural development plan) 2018-2028, developed by the Ministry of Culture in close consultation with a steering committee in which the various fields and actors of Luxembourg's artistic and cultural scene, the long-awaited Arts Council Luxembourg sees its status consolidated. 

In order to support and accompany Luxembourg culture and creation, the public establishment has the following legal missions:

  • to promote and support artists and other professional cultural actors and to ensure the dissemination at national and international level of cultural projects benefiting from one or more forms of support provided for by this law;
  • to contribute at the national and international level to the career development of artists and other professional cultural actors through aid, grants, residencies, training and project assistance;
  • to cooperate with the Luxembourg diplomatic and consular network within the framework of the other missions assigned to it;
  • to provide information on mobility aids and other opportunities offered by other organisations.

The artistic and cultural fields covered by Kultur l lx are: architecture, design, crafts; multimedia arts and digital arts; visual arts (plastic arts, photography, video, performance, installations, etc.); literature and publishing; music; live performance (dance, theatre, street arts, circus, opera, etc.). With a manager and a selection committee per sector, each artistic field will retain its autonomy to deal with its specificities while being supervised within a single public establishment.

Bill no. 7948 establishing cultural leave

According to the Ministry of Culture, there has been strong demand within the cultural sector for years for the reintroduction of cultural leave following the repeal of the law of 12 July 1994 establishing cultural leave in 2014. The purpose of cultural leave is to allow the participation of cultural actors in high-level cultural events, recognised events that are not part of the main professional activity of the applicant or to offer the possibility of participating in specialised training in the cultural field organised by an approved body. 

Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, underlined that this reintroduction must "allow artists to find a balance between their professional life and the exercise of their art or even to allow them a transition towards their professionalisation as an artist", but that it is also “essential to strengthen volunteering in the cultural sector, because it is becoming more and more complicated for federations and associations to find committed people to pursue these activities alongside their professional lives".

Among the main changes is the replacement of the maximum number of days of leave distributed over an entire professional career by a maximum number of days of leave distributed annually, in order to guarantee greater flexibility. The benefit of cultural leave is extended to administrative executives as well as to persons designated by federations, national networks and associations of the cultural sector. This modification aims not only to promote the work of people who contribute on a voluntary basis to the success of cultural projects, but also to support those who, in general, contribute to the development of the Luxembourg cultural and artistic scene. 

Bill no. 7920 amending the amended law of 19 December 2014 relating to social measures for the benefit of independent professional artists and intermittent performers

In view of the evolution of the cultural sector in recent years, certain provisions of the amended law of 19 December 2014 relating to social measures for the benefit of independent professional artists and intermittent performers and the promotion of artistic creation were considered no longer appropriate to the situation faced by artists and intermittent workers.

Among the main changes applying to self-employed professional artists is the reduction of one year, or even the exemption (for university graduates), of the reference period preceding the application. For intermittent performers, the scope will be broadened to include more professions and activities based on performing arts.

A succession grant for independent artists who begin their career after completing university studies in an artistic field and conditions adapted for beneficiaries over the age of 50 and 55 aim to meet the needs related to the different career stages. 

Minister Tanson clarified that this law "will improve the working conditions of professional artists and intermittent performers in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and thus support artistic creation. We want to promote the professionalisation of the cultural scene with this bill, we also want to adapt the legal regime to the working conditions in the field and to simplify the administrative procedures".

The bill presented is the result of a dialogue between the various representatives of the artistic and cultural scene, launched at the end of 2019 by a public consultation which aimed to inform reflections on the usefulness of adapting the aforementioned law. The reform of the law is also the subject of recommendation 23 of the KEP 2018-2028, which concerns the need to take into account the changing needs of artists and intermittent workers and to adapt the law to better match living conditions. 

Bill no. 8011 amending the amended law of 25 June 2004 reorganising state cultural institutes

The main missions of the cultural institutes of the State are the study, conservation and development of cultural heritage as well as research, awareness, education and training activities. Since 2004, cultural institutes have evolved rapidly, their activities have expanded, their financial resources and their staff have multiplied.

In recent years, following the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, increased attention to this heritage has reaffirmed the primary mission of cultural institutes, namely the conservation and enhancement of national cultural heritage. Following the ratification of international conventions in the field of cultural heritage, the adoption of European directives and regulations, as well as the entry into force of the law of 25 February 2022 relating to cultural heritage, an adaptation of existing structures has become necessary, according to Luxembourg's Culture Ministry, in order to ensure optimal implementation of the law relating to cultural heritage and consistency in the protection and enhancement of this heritage. 

The exponential development of cultural institutes, whose role as true cultural research institutes has been clarified, is also dependent on the increased activities of the University of Luxembourg and, in particular, of the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), the Luxembourg Institute of Language and Literature and other research institutions. Responding to growing demand from audiences and cultural workers, cultural institutes, the main guardians of archaeological, architectural, movable, documentary, archival and intangible heritage, today represent the backbone of culture and research around cultural heritage in Luxembourg, according to the ministry. In this vein, the legal deposit with the National Library of Luxembourg (Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg - BnL) and the National Audiovisual Centre (Centre National de l'Audiovisuel - CNA) has been clarified. 

In order to give greater visibility to the fact that the National Museum of History and Art (Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art - MNHA) has the most important archaeological collection in the Grand Duchy, there are plans to rename it the "National Museum of Archaeology, History and Art" (Musée national d'archéologie, d'histoire et d'art). It will now bring together three museum sites (Um Fëschmaart Museum, Dräi Eechelen Museum and Réimervilla) and two documentation and research centres (a documentation centre on the fortress of Luxembourg and a documentation centre on the visual arts referred to as "Lëtzebuerger Konschtarchiv”).

In order to cope with the growing expectations of the public and the teams and the development of their missions, it appeared necessary to provide for the function of deputy director within the cultural institutes of the State to strengthen the management service and ensure the administrative and scientific burdens. In addition, some adaptations concerning the missions of the cultural institutes were deemed necessary because of the distribution of the missions of the latter. 

By taking into account the realities on the ground, according to the Culture Ministry, the text of the amended law of 25 June 2004 thus gives the means to cultural institutes to operate in line with the priorities in terms of cultural heritage today and tomorrow.