The Grand-Château d'Ansembourg held its 33rd "Fête du Château" on Sunday 6 August 2023.
People of all ages and nationalities gathered for this annual festival on the castle grounds. It was quite crowded despite the intermittent rain, with visitors engaging in various artistic activities and guided tours, as well as shopping for crafts and tasting regional products, all against the backdrop of the Grand-Château d'Ansembourg.
Various stands, including those serving cuisine from Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal (among others), were set up on the grounds and there was musical entertainment throughout the day as well.
The festival was also an opportunity to learn about the history of the "new castle" (there is another, older castle in Ansembourg) and admire its extensive gardens.
Speaking to Chronicle.lu, Christophe Déage, Chairman of LH Europe - Grand-Château d'Ansembourg, spoke of the castle's industrial heritage: in 1624, two brothers from Dinant (Belgium), Thomas and Nicolas Bidart, installed a forge in Ansembourg; this marked an important step in the transition to an industrial economy. Construction of the castle began in 1639 with the structure originally serving as a "house of master smiths". Over the years, new generations of the Bidart family enlarged the castle (a terrace and new wings were added). Between 1730 and 1750, Count Lambert-Joseph de Marchant et d'Ansembourg (a descendant of Thomas Bidart) built the Baroque gardens which we see today.
Christophe Déage also explained the important symbolism of these gardens, which include various walkways, water fountains and statues (including several drawing from mythology: the god Hercules and goddess Venus, among others). He touched upon the vision of the creator, whose work hints to a return to the Golden Age, with a connection to industry and agriculture, as well as a return to nature; Lambert-Joseph was passionate about botany and the castle and its gardens went on to become a botanical hub.
Since 1987, a Japanese organisation has owned the estate and undertaken extensive restoration work. Christophe Déage noted that the mission today is similar to that of the past: "We try to follow in these steps". For example, proceeds from this year's festival will support the Luxembourg-based Fondation Coeur Vert and its reforestation projects in Africa. Mr Déage noted that these projects have already generated palpable results (e.g. increased rainfall) in affected areas. The festival thus also aims to encourage people to get closer to nature and thus better understand the importance of climate action.
Similarly, the Grand-Château d'Ansembourg will host a day of exhibitions and conferences dedicated to "Care for Wildlife and Living Heritage", as part of European Heritage Days, on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September 2023.
The castle gardens are generally open to the public from 10:00 to 18:00, although they are sometimes closed for private events.