Robert L. Philippart (Ministry of Culture): 25 years of UNESCO
“The City of Luxembourg, its old quarters and fortifications” is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List with a wide-ranging programme.lu, and the opening of the UNESCO Visitor Centre at the Lëtzebuerg City Museum. Interview with Robert L. Philippart, UNESCO Site Manager and Natural Heritage Coordinator at the Ministry of Culture.
Could you describe the main Luxembourg sites which are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
On 17 December 1994, “The City of Luxembourg, its old quarters and fortifications” was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This site encompasses the Old Town, the Grund, Clausen, Pfaffenthal, the Upper Town and the Bourbon plateau. The site has been recognised as having outstanding universal value under criterion IV of the 1972 World Heritage Convention: “an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history”. The Old Town is an authentic reminder of what life was like within the fortress; the impressive remains of the former military structures form its immediate periphery. The hilly landscape with its Luxembourg sandstone rocks and the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers contribute to this image of a historic urban landscape. Luxembourg, known as the former “Gibraltar of the North”, has played an important role in European history. “The City of Luxembourg, its old quarters and fortifications” is therefore much more than the sum of its 99 national monuments, its 82 historic monuments of the supplementary inventory (restored by the former Fonds de la Rénovation de la Vieille Ville) and its sites restored by the City of Luxembourg. Recognised as a World Heritage site, this area has a striking authenticity on a large scale, creating a site of impressive integrity. See the “25 years Lëtzebuerg World Heritage” programme of events on www.patrimoinemondial.lu.
“An outstanding example of an architectural ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history”.
From 5 to 7 June, the Ministry of Culture will participate in the Rendez-vous aux Jardins event for the first time. What’s it all about?
With its participation in the Rendez-vous aux Jardins event in 2020, the Ministry of Culture is acknowledging that a visit to a park or a garden is the same as a visit to a monument or a museum. In view of the planet’s climate emergency, gardens are more than cultural and social venues: by their very nature, unlike that of buildings, they are made up of living plants and watered by natural sources. Gardens also represent a key resource for the planet’s renewal. Opening up gardens in this way, as part of an initiative by the member states of the Council of Europe, reveals a shared desire to preserve, protect, conserve and enhance them at an international level.
How does the Ministry of Culture promote this heritage?
The Ministry of Culture is launching a call for projects, encouraging individuals, companies and organisations to take part in the Rendez-vous aux Jardins event which will be held from 5 to 7 June 2020 in Luxembourg.
For the first time, Luxembourg will take part in the Rendez-vous aux Jardins event, launched in 2018 by HEREIN, a European network for information and cooperation regarding cultural heritage; it brings together European public administrations which are responsible for national policies and strategies within the cultural heritage sector. By 2019,2,706 gardens in 20 European countries had opened to the public.
What is the best way to experience the natural heritage of gardens?
This shared event provides fun and educational opportunities for owners or professionals and amateurs to meet, with various activities being held: guided tours, workshops, concerts, demonstrations, etc. The Ministry of Culture encourages public bodies and private individuals to take part in this initiative and to open up their parks and gardens to raise awareness of the creation, maintenance, restoration, conservation and protection of gardens and to pass on knowledge and expertise. Interested parties can submit their applications before 20 April 2020. The website www.jardinsluxembourg.lu will publish the full programme of visits and conferences.