L-R: Maître Cosita Delvaux; Josannette Loutsch-Weydert; Claude D Conter, BnL Director; Credit: BnL

On Tuesday 22 March 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, and the Director of the National Library of Luxembourg (Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg - BnL), Claude D Conter, presented the donation of the specialised library of the late Dr Jean-Claude Loutsch (1932-2002) by his wife Josannette Loutsch-Weydert.

The collection is of exceptional heritage value and of unequaled importance for Luxembourg. It contains about 30 books from the 16th century, more than 200 from the 17th century and nearly 500 hundred from the 18th century. Among the prints of the Old Regime (Ancien Régime; i.e. from the Late Middle Ages until the French Revolution), some are unique, such as the heraldic collections of the 16th and 17th centuries and rare pamphlets.

Dr Loutsch's specialised library has targeted armorial works, heraldic literature and history books relating to the Duchy of Luxembourg, Lorraine, Belgium and West Germany. Among the documents of the revolutionary and imperial period as well as those of the first half of the 19th century, several series of almanacs are extremely rare, almost impossible to find in other major European libraries. For the modern period, key works of German or French literature and a number of Luxembourg brochures or publications of modest size, often dispersed, are brought together at the BnL.

This collection enriches the manuscripts fund (Fonds des manuscrits) and the rare and precious printed materials fund (Fonds des imprimés rares et précieux) of the BnL. This makes it possible to keep these pieces in good and due form, to guarantee their durability, to enhance them and to make them available to the public.

According to Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture, the last collection equivalent in size and quality to enter a library in the Grand Duchy was that of Metz patron Maurice Du Coëtlosquet (1836-1904).

Dr Jean-Claude Loutsch was born in Paris, France on 21 July 1932. His family were from Austria but later emigrated to the Duchy of Luxembourg. The son of a doctor, he studied ophthalmology at the University of Paris and opened his office in Luxembourg in 1964. In addition to being a doctor, he was an enthusiast of heraldry, genealogy, history and painting. In 1994, he chaired the XXI Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in Luxembourg.

Recognised by his peers, in France as in Germany, Dr Loutsch published about 20 contributions on the Miltenberg coat of arms as well as others which have become authoritative works. This was the case for the monumental Armorial du Pays de Luxembourg (1974), but also of the Complément à l'Armorial des Duchés de Luxembourg et Comté de Chiny (1966), the Origine des armes de la maison de Luxembourg (1973), the Essai de classement du groupe héraldique des familles luxembourgeoises ayant porté une croix ancrée (1983) and the Armorial général de 1696 et le duché de Luxembourg (1998).

After the death of Dr Loutsch on 24 July 2002, Josannette Loutsch-Weydert decided to donate her husband's library to the BnL. On 4 March 2019, the "Fondation Jean-Claude et Josannette Loutsch-Weydert" was created, the purpose of which is to promote philanthropic and social activities, both in the Grand Duchy and abroad, particularly in the fields of culture, education, childcare and assistance to disadvantaged people. From April 2020 on, the exchanges on the donation of the collection of Dr Loutsch become more concrete and led in 2021 to the signing of the notarial act by Josannette Loutsch-Weydert and Claude D Conter in the presence of Maître Cosita Delvaux (notary).