The town seen from the Gaalgebierg parc
Map of Luxembourg with Esch-sur-Alzette highlighted in orange, and the canton in dark red
|• Mayor||Vera Spautz|
|• Total||14.35 km2 (5.54 sq mi)|
|Area rank||84 of 105|
|Highest elevation||426 m (1,398 ft)|
|• Rank||32nd of 105|
|Lowest elevation||279 m (915 ft)|
|• Rank||87th of 105|
|• Rank||2nd of 105|
|• Density||2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||1st of 105|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourgish: Esch-Uelzecht, German: Esch-an-der-Alzette or Esch-an-der-Alzig, French: Esch-sur-Alzette) is a commune with town status in south-western Luxembourg. It is the country's second "city", and its second-most populous commune, with a population of 33,286 inhabitants. It lies in the south-west of the country, on the border with France. The town is usually referred to just as Esch, but there is also a village and commune further north named Esch-sur-Sûre from which to distinguish it. It lies in the valley of the Alzette, which flows through the town. The capital, Luxembourg, is roughly 15 km (9.3 mi) to the north-east.
For a long time Esch was a small farming village in the valley of the Uelzecht river. This changed when important amounts of iron ore were found in the area in the 1850s. With the development of the mines and the steel industry the town's population multiplied tenfold in a couple of decades. In 1911 the steel and iron producing company ARBED was founded. and the development of the steel industry, especially in the south of the country, provided Luxembourg with sustained economic growth during the second half of the 19th century.
In the 1970s as a result of the steel crisis the mines and many of the blast furnaces were shut down, the last one, in Esch-Belval, definitely halting its operations in 1997. The blast furnaces were replaced by an electric furnace that is fed with scrap metal rather than iron ore.
Today the industrial wastelands on Belval left behind by the steel industry, are being redeveloped and converted into a new, modern town quarter. New cultural buildings such as the cinema Utopolis Belval and the Rockhal, Luxemburg’s biggest concert hall, schools, flats and Belval Plaza, a shopping centre, have been built in the last years.
The area around the old blast furnaces will host different structures of the University of Luxembourg, many research centres and the national archives. Two of the University's three faculties will relocate there: The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education Sciences already moved in the summer of 2016, and will be followed by the Faculty of Sciences, Technology and Communication in 2017 or 2018.
Places of interest
Esch-sur-Alzette is home to the National Museum of the Resistance, which has material related to the resistance to German occupation during the Second World War. Lucien Wercollier's sculpture The Political Prisoner is in its entrance hall. Other tourist attractions include the large park, and the Berwart Tower, built in 1621.
Esch is home to the Conservatoire de Musique. Founded as a school of music in 1926, it achieved Conservatoire status in 1969.
There are two cinemas in the centre of the town, called the 'Ariston' and the 'Kinosch' and a third one called 'Utopolis Belval' is situated in the former industrial wastelands Belval. The main theatre is the Théâtre d’Esch. There is also the Kulturfabrik, a cultural centre in a reconverted abattoir which hosts performances of various kinds. The town is the site of one of the six regional headquarters of the Grand Ducal Police.
The town has the longest shopping street in Luxembourg.
The town is the centre of the country's steel manufacture. One of the largest employers in the town is Arcelor, the world's largest steel producer, which formed from the merger of Aceralia, ARBED, Mittal, and Usinor.
Esch is in the heart of the traditional footballing heartland of the south of the country, and the town was the first place in the country to embrace the game. The first two football clubs in the country, CS Fola Esch (founded in 1906) and Jeunesse Esch (1907), both come from the town. Jeunesse have been the most successful Luxembourgian club, winning an unrivalled twenty-seven National Division titles; combined with twelve Luxembourg Cup victories, Jeunesse have won eight Doubles. They play at Stade de la Frontière, in the south of the town. Fola were very important in the early history of the sport in Luxembourg, winning five titles up to 1930, but have since declined, currently playing in the second-tier Division of Honour. Fola's home stadium is Stade Émile Mayrisch, in the south-east of Esch, which it shares with its sister athletics club CA Fola Esch.
At the 2006 Tour de France, Esch-sur-Alzette hosted the end of Stage 2 and the start of Stage 3.
Esch-sur-Alzette is the southern terminus of the A4 motorway, which runs northwards to Luxembourg. The east-west A13 meets the A4 just to the north of Esch, and terminates at Pétange in the west and meets the German Bundesautobahn 8 at its eastern end.
Esch is one of four Luxembourgian towns to have multiple railway stations. Esch's three railway stations, Esch-sur-Alzette, Belval-Rédange, and Belval-Université, all lie on Line 60 of the Chemins de fer luxembourgeois network.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Esch-sur-Alzette is twinned with:
- "Affichage de tableau". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "ArcelorMittal - History". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Economic and social portrait of Luxembourg : Introduction
- History – BELVAL
- Utopolis.lu - Utopolis Belval
- Rockhal: Featured
- Site Esch/Belval - esch.lu
- L’Université prête pour Belval - Economie et Finance au Luxembourg - paperJam
- "Welcome to Esch-sur-Alzette", Luxembourg National Tourist Office. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
-  Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Shopping in Luxembourg - Luxembourg.lu - Visit Luxembourg
- The others are Luxembourg (4 stations), Dudelange (4), and Mamer (2)
- "Puteaux - Qu'est-ce que le jumelage?". Mairie de Puteaux [Puteaux Official Website] (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
- Pessotto, Lorenzo. "International Affairs - Twinnings and Agreements". International Affairs Service in cooperation with Servizio Telematico Pubblico. City of Torino. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Esch-sur-Alzette.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Esch-sur-Alzette.|
- (French) Official website of the town of Esch-sur-Alzette
- A large private collection of pictures of the town and its surroundings — articles in German, French and Luxembourgish
- HoloGuides : Esch/Alzette - photos, events, etc.
- FEATS Newsletter, December 1999 - discusses quite a few matters relating to Esch