In the Belval steelworks complex the remains of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s last two blast furnaces have been preserved and are nowadays joined by a fascinating variety of modern buildings, featuring parts of the new Luxemburg University as well as hotels, shopping centers, companies and more.
|Travel Destination||Belval, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg|
|How and when I got there||by car; October 2019 (but easily accessible by train from Luxembourg main station)|
|Where I stayed||Hotel Ibis Esch Belval|
|Restaurants||“Dimmi Si” or “Duca & Friend”, Belval – two nice Italian places|
|Things to do||visit the Belval industrial site; climb the furnace|
|Recommendations in a nutshell||come for an afternoon if going to Luxembourgh anyway|
Belval is located about 20 km southwest of the city of Luxembourg and is dominated by large steelworks. After abandoning the steel production in the 1990ies, the whole area has undergone extensive redevelopment, thereby preserving many of the old industrial premises and integrating them into modern architecture. The result is well worth a visit, if you’re in Luxembourg anyway, and is easily reached by train to the Belval-Université railway station. From there, it’s just a stone’s throw to the industrial site:
The entire area is not too big – you can circulate it by walking within half an hour. However, the “place de l’academie”, the central “academy” square is a nice place to stay, have a coffee and enjoy the unique mixture, by day…
…and by night:
Overall, about 2 billion Euro have been invested so far, and it shows. Among the new buildings are many belonging to the new Luxembourg University, which has been founded only in 2005. Here’s an overview over the area, including the different buildings:
Just a library…
A particularly spectacular building is the “maison du livre”, the University library next to the central academy square – same building, many different sights:
In former times, this building contained the “Moellerei”, the building where coke and ore was mixed.
Very impressive in the back – the two remaining the blast furnaces A and B:
also a great view by night, when the translucent surface becomes transparent:
And just some small ponds…
Also quite spectacular: many old buidlings or parts of them are “floating” in water.
This water expanse is found between the blast furnace A building the the “massenoire”, the “black mass” building which contains exhibitions nowadays.
All the water basins – 18 single ones – have been designed by Michel Desvignes, who also designed the other public spaces.
Unidentified Flying Objects
The new ensembles are surrounded by UFOs – street lamps called “GuddeVol” (maybe something like “good flight”?), designed by Ingo Maurer:
The UFOs above landed next to the blast furnace A (the one which can be visited); the one below stands in front of the “maison du savoir”, the main University building:
These light objects have a diameter of 420 cm and are carried by three slim black legs, approximately 5 meters above ground. The opening in the center is 115 cm in diameter.
On the left picture, the light red concrete building contains the University Restaurant.
…providing interesting perspectives:
Many of the modern buildings present interesting surface structures, like the metallic one of the “maison des artes et des étudiants”, the house of arts and students:
and the “extra-skeleton” surface of the University flagship house, the house of knowledge or “maison du savoir”:
Again, the concrete strucutre of the University restaurant:
And the “maison du savoir” from another perspective:
There are lots of interesting and unique details, just waiting to be discovered…
like the stairs leading down to the central plaza:
or a special place to take a rest:
an unusual lamp post:
an unusual entrance – here you enter to visit the blast furnace A:
Due to lots of reflecting susrfaces, there are unusual and surprising mirror images to discover.
On the picture above, you’ll see a modern building in the back with smaller and larger windows: this is the “bâtiment biotech”, the biotech building of the University.
Below, you’ll see “an assortment” of different University buildings, like the golden-pink metallic surface of the “arts and students house”, the “skeleton structure” of the “knowledge house”, and – mirrored in a window glass – the dark structure of the “maison du nombre”, the house of numbers.
Besides the blast fornaces, three more industrial structures can be visited, among them the base of blast furnace C – the blast furnace that has not been preserved. However, the ruin of the base is impressive and looks a bit like a “greek temple ruin” among the new buildings that surround it:
Panorama of the remodelled Belval steelworks
The panorama views of the Belval steelworks from different sites show either the modern side…in this case the building of a bank:
…or the historical site…or a combination of both. From the ground level…
The building with the square windows harbours the “maison de l’innovation” – “house of innovation, including the offices of Luxinnovation, the Luxembourg innovation agency.
…and the Belval steelworks from above:
One of the two Belval steelworks blast furnaces that were kept in the area can be visited – and climbed. It’s worth the stairs, as you’ll get a nice view from the upper floors:
Also in the detail, there’s a close neighborhood of old and young.
And finally, the impressive old industrial structures are spectacular – even without the surrounding modern architecture. Like the furnace below, that can be visited and climbed:
The blast furnace is not only a spectacular sight from the outside, but also quite interesting inside:
You can even have a glimpse inside the furnace:
And finally, the look down:
Overall, the entire site provides lots of interesting perpectives!
Greetings from Belval,
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