Credit: VdL - Photothèque / Eric Jaerling

The City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg - VdL) launched a new "time travel" smartphone application this week.

On Monday 16 May 2022, Lydie Polfer, Mayor of the City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg - VdL), and Serge Wilmes, first alderman responsible for trade, presented the new augmented reality (AR) application "The Luxembourg Time Traveler". This app allows users to travel back in time and discover the capital from the turn of the 20th century, a time when the economic and commercial development of the city was in full swing and when the small craft trade was slowly giving way to large stores.

Through a digital interface, the app, developed by the VdL's economic and commercial development unit and its ICT service, in collaboration with UNESCO, enriches reality by superimposing additional digital information. Users can then discover through the screen of their smartphone or tablet another reality than that which is revealed to the naked eye, that of the city of Luxembourg of yesteryear.

Serge Wilmes, first alderman, commented: "Residents and visitors to the capital now have a fabulous tool allowing them to discover and rediscover the capital. The city centre is full of streets, buildings and monuments that have a story to tell. Not only do users have a wealth of information at their fingertips, but they can also visualise the businesses of the capital from the Belle Époque to today. This project is perfectly in line with our 'Smart City' strategy aimed at using new technologies to offer innovative tools in various fields such as mobility, education or tourism".

Using geolocation, the app recognises if the user is near one of the 31 points of interest and can, if necessary, guide him / her to position him- / herself correctly. Of these, thirteen points of interest are compatible with AR. Once one of these points of interest is in the field of the camera, the app superimposes the historical image on the real image. The user can then change the opacity of the image overlay. For all 31 points of interest, the user has the possibility to find out about the places through texts written by Robert L. Philippart, UNESCO Site Manager, to use the "before / after" function which allows to switch from one image to another using a slider, to do a quiz or to view photos from the archives of the VdL Photothèque. In addition, it is possible to order one's favourite photos directly from the Photothèque via the app.

The app, compatible with IOS and Android, is available free of charge in French, English and German.