I know you already got sunburnt at least once and possibly ate your first ice cream of the season, but you surely don’t believe that summer in Luxembourg has already started, right?
No, no, no, boys and girls, in Luxembourg, summer doesn’t start until the National Day has come… which coincidentally is celebrated on Midsummer day, making it the first day of summer everywhere else in the northern hemisphere anyway.
‘What’s the big deal?’ you may ask. Well, this being the first birthday of the Great Duke for me, too, I can only share the bits and pieces I’ve collected from my wiser colleagues, the many adverts around the city and the always informative L’Essentiel. The conclusion is: it’s going to be AWESOME.
Fireworks, a torch parade, musical events, lots of food and drinks, a party in the park… and, on top of that, no work!
First things first, the fireworks are a favourite among Luxembourgers and expats alike. They will take place on Monday 22nd from 11 p.m. at Parc des Trois Glands, and it may be the first time that we, new inhabitants of the Ville, see its streets and parks filled with crowds so late at night.
To give you a taste of how spectacular they must be, I will tell you this: in Spain, especially in the Mediterranean shore, we celebrate Midsummer Night (for my Spanish students, we call it Noche de San Juan) with parties on the beach where the bravest and most foolish jump over bonfires. That night is best known and most beloved for the fireworks and the beautiful colours reflected on the calm waters of the sea, though, and every person you ask will tell you that the fireworks in THEIR town or village are the BEST. There is no possible argument about that.
Now, how good must the fireworks in Luxembourg be for my Mediterranean colleagues to admit defeat and say that they are even better than the San Juan ones back home…? VERY. Trust me on this one.
What is the best place to see them? Important: do not follow your colleagues’ advice when they tell you where they usually watch them, as the place of the fireworks has changed. Instead, follow this map, where the red-dotted areas mark the best spots to watch the fireworks.
However, the events of June 22nd don’t end at this, and Luxembourg has plenty more to offer.
Would you like to attend the changing of the guards and maybe see the Duke? Then be sure to be in front of the Palace at 4 p.m., and keep your eyes on the balcony at 4.10.
Would you like to watch a torchlight procession and maybe see the Duke? You can; it starts at 9.15 p.m. at Gare Centrale and goes all the way to boulevard Roosevelt.
How about gigs and DJ sessions until the small hours? Yes, please! And they will be hard to miss as there will be music going on from 5 p.m. until 6… a.m.!!! Is this Luxembourg or Ibiza??
National Day: for those who went to bed early
If you skip all the post-fireworks fun or are very resistant to booze and partying, there is still a lot going on:
At 10 a.m. the Duke will welcome lots of important people to his birthday party at the Philharmonie. Why so early? Because his day is packed with more events, and so is yours:
At 11 a.m. you can hear the gun salute (21 BOOMs, no less) and watch the military parade on Avenue de la Liberté. And you’ll see the Duke there, naturally. Maybe even his unmarried and handsome young son, too (I’m looking at you, Eva!).
From 3 p.m., at Place d’Armes… more concerts! And then, at 4.30, because no national day is complete without some prayers, a Te Deum at the Cathedral. If you prefer something more relaxed, head to the field where we held our picnic between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and join the Spillfest for more music, games, food and drink.
Happy National Day and see you… everywhere!
Map from the City Magazine