Solidarity celebrated at muted national day celebrations

Solidarity was the motto of Luxembourg’s scaled back national day celebrations, which despite the pandemic were still lively in the capital as these photos show.

On Monday night the skies above the capital remained relatively clear as there were no fireworks to mark the occasion. However, party-goers of all ages took the opportunity to mark the occasion with drinks and picnics in scenic spots, such as the Trois Glands on the Kirchberg plateau and other parks. The bars, which were closed for several months during lockdown, saw a return to levels of activity not seen since March, though regulations meant they had to close at midnight--National Day eve celebrations usually carry on until dawn.

After the party, on Tuesday government and parliament and city council leaders gathered at the Kanounenhiwwel memorial in the capital for a formal ceremony that replaced the annual Te Deum religious service and military parade. In his speech Grand Duke Henri took the opportunity to pay tribute to healthcare workers for their dedication and conscientiousness, which he said were “an example to us all.”

He applauded all parts of society for playing their part in stemming the spread of the virus and highlighted the “new forms of solidarity and mutual respect” that sprung up throughout the country during the health crisis. “These experiences were moving and we came out of this crisis stronger than ever,” he said.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) joined the head of state in paying tribute to the Luxembourg population, but also to foreign residents and border residents, for its respect for containment and its contribution to containing the covid-19 epidemic. He paid tribute to “all those who helped to ensure the functioning of our country at a time when it proved particularly complicated, to all the volunteers who looked after our vulnerable citizens, to the volunteers in the health centres, to the staff of the health sector, but also to all those who helped us overcome the most difficult moments.”

He urged people not to forget the lessons learned. “It would be wise not to simply erase these experiences from our memory, but to try to preserve their positive aspects,” he said.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Luxembourg's muted celebrations took the form of picnics and games in the park as soaring temperatures drew friends and families out to enjoy the public holiday.