Luxembourg could have been mistaken for Venice Beach on Friday morning, the blue skies encouraging the crowds to flock into the Petrusse valley for the inauguration of the city’s new skatepark.
Photo: Sven Becker
Officially named Skatepark Peitruss, the project has been a long eight years in the making, but for many it has been worth the wait. Over two million euros was pumped into the ambitious project after proposals from local interest organisation skatepark.lu were accepted by the Ville de Luxembourg.
Following speeches from mayor Lydie Polfer as well as founders of skatepark.lu, Alex Welter and Dan Gantrel, the stage was given way to a DJ and the park opened to all. Professionals showcasing their skateboard, BMX and scooter skills, and the festivities continuing into the night. The incentive to celebrate is high and the excitement palpable amongst local skaters--this being the only outdoor park on this scale in the country for a vibrant and rapidly growing community of urban sports fans and hobbyists.
For Gantrel, the most special thing about skating culture is this diverse community. “Look around,” he says, “everybody is skating together, young and old.” And it’s true--from young children on scooters, to teenagers, to the older but still avid fans of the sport, the new skatepark brought people of all ages together. It is hoped, too, that it will bring more new faces to skating in Luxembourg--in terms of youngsters wanting to take up urban sports and even professionals looking to establish themselves here.
“It’s really designed for everybody,” says Denis Lotteau, owner of independent Luxembourg urban wear boutique Stitch. “If this doesn’t encourage people to start skating, then I don’t know what they need!”
Sascha di Giambattista, a local artist and graphic designer who has been skating on and off for over 20 years, thinks the park will reach an even wider audience. “It is definitely going to attract people from Germany, France and Belgium--and also further away, because this is one of the best I’ve seen in Europe’ he says. ‘It’s incredible, I’ve been waiting for this for so long.”
With an innovative and varied layout accommodating beginners as well as professionals, it’s no wonder that people are talking about ‘skate tourism’. The park is unique not only in its size and quality but also in its location.
Designed by Samuel Stambul of French architecture firm Constructo, the park extends over a total of 3,400 square metres, comfortably nestled under the viaduct straddling the Petrusse valley and easily accessible from the old town and surrounding areas. “You don’t find parks like this in the environment that this is in--in the heart of the city but also the middle of nature,” Gantrel confirms.
With features inspired by the old fortress walls and colours echoing those of the imposing rock face that towers over it, the park is more than just a grey concrete eyesore built to satisfy youngsters--it’s a thought-out piece of urban design, and arguably an investment for culture and sport in the Grand Duchy.