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    HearHere Bonnevoie

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    This HearHere audio tour was created for the City Museum’s  Urban History Festival, which will take place on June 8-9, 2024 in the Bonnevoie district in Luxembourg city.

    The audiotour is also accessible through the toll-free phone number (+352 800 81 292) with translations in Luxembourgish, French, Portuguese and English. Signs with the phonenumber are located at the sites where the stories took place.

    This project follows the initiative of Ariel Beaujot (HearHere USA) and Michelle Hamilton (HearHere Canada).

    Site 1:

    Marie Reine de la Paix Catholic Church

     

    In this audio clip, you will hear Paul Sinner describe the appearance of the Marie Reine de la Paix Catholic Church in 1951.

     

     

    On August 9, 1944, the church was bombed and deemed beyond repair. Plans for a new church were set in motion, with the foundation stone laid on October 23, 1949. The inaugural mass in the new church occurred on July 1, 1951, coinciding with the celebration of First Holy Communion. Due to the growing congregation, Mass was relocated to Sundays after Easter that year, as the old chapel could no longer accommodate the approximately 150 children partaking in communion.”

     

     

    “Inside the church, things appeared rather unusual. The floor consisted of rough concrete, devoid of any finishing. A ceiling had yet to be installed, leaving the rafters exposed. Suspended from these rafters was a large crown, approximately two and a half meters in diameter, crafted from sticks and wrapped in tulle. Long drapes hung from the corners of the cross, extending between the nave and the transept. Despite its unfinished state, this setting marked the inaugural mass in the new church. The windows were covered with plastic sheeting, lacking glass, and the chill of the day lingered within the space.”

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    Site 2:

    Banannefabrik

     

    In this audio clip, Serge Tonar will explain to you why the Banannefabrik is called like that.

     

     

    “Here we stand in front of the “Banannenfabrik”. Up on the wall, you’ll still see the original “Chiquita Bananes” sign. This used to be a fruit and vegetable warehouse, known locally as “Banannenfabrik”. Despite the name, bananas were never actually produced here. In the 1990s, the artists’ collective “MASKéNADA” arrived, alongside several cultural associations, aiming to bring art and creativity to the space. Rehearsal rooms and office spaces were established, but it was a challenging endeavor. The struggle continued until 2011 when the doors of the “Banannenfabrik” were finally opened to the public in their present form.”

     

    In the following audio clip, Bernard Baumgarten will describe to you the beginnings of the Bananefabrik.

     

     

    “The Banannenfabrik is truly a hub for creativity and interdisciplinary exploration. It all began in 2007 with ‘Europa Kulturstad’, when Luxembourg and the Greater Region held the title of European Capitals of Culture. During this time, we introduced the Dance Palast, offering a space for artists to create and inviting the public to witness the artistic process firsthand. The focus was on various performing arts: theatre, dance, installations, music, and even painting. In 2007, we hosted 18 companies for six months, although the building wasn’t renowned like it is today. Nevertheless, it marked the birth of Luxembourg’s first independent creative space. Recognizing its success and the public’s interest in the creative process, the Ministry invested in renovating ‘d’Banannenfabrik’. Since 2011, it has been open to the public for a range of events, serving primarily as a workspace and exchange platform for artists. The facility offers training programs, facilitates research, and fosters meaningful interactions between artists and the public.”

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    Site 3:

    Midwife clinic

     

    In this audio clip, Geneviève Hornick-Hoffmann will tell you about the midwife who lived here.

     

     

    Here we are in Rue de Hesperange, in front of house number 45, where Mrs Thoma lived. She was a qualified midwife and a very impressive woman. She assisted in delivering almost all of Bonnevoie’s children in the 50s and 60s.”

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    Site 4:

    Os Lusitanos

     

    In this audio clip, João Alves will tell you about the Os Lusitanos club.

     

     

    “You are standing at the historic meeting place of the Association Os Lusitanos! Founded on April 25, 1974, this club has been a hub for various activities such as football, athletics, dance, and more. Its primary aim is Socialisation! After a long day, members gather for snacks, often enjoying delicious Portuguese cuisine that evokes fond memories of home. Inside the former club room, you can find shelves adorned with numerous trophies from competitions the club has participated in over the years. During the pandemic, the association faced challenges and had to relocate. However, its core mission remains unchanged: to unite people of all ages and celebrate Portuguese culture.”

     

    In the following audio clip, Antonio De Almeida Gomes will describe the activities of Os Lusitanos.

     

     

    “As the association Os Lusitanos nears its 50th anniversary, this club holds significance for many Portuguese people. It serves as a gathering place where people come together to enjoy snacks, play cards, and share in a sense of community. Whether Portuguese or not, all are welcome to experience the warmth and hospitality of this establishment.”

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    Site 5:

    Scrapdealer Pultz

     

    In this audio clip, Geneviève Hornick-Hoffmann will tell you about her childhood memories of the scrapdealer.

     

     

    “Here on rue Jean Jacoby stood the former site of the scrap metal dealer Pultz. As children, exploring the area was a delight, we scavenged through hedges and gathered debris. Anything metallic found its way to Mr.Pultz, who always greeted us warmly. His generosity extended to each of us, as we received a silver coin in return, quickly traded for sweets on Nicolas Martha Street.”

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    Site 6:

    Gaart an Heem

     

    In this audio clip, Maurice Kirsch will tell you about the first community gardens in Bonnevoie.

     

     

    “After World War II, many of the rented gardens along Bonnevoie were repurposed for housing development, sparking discussions on how to secure new gardens. International connections were established with horticultural associations experienced in such transitions. In 1947, this collaboration culminated in the decision to establish a project similar to one in Basel, Switzerland. Negotiations ensued with local farmers to acquire farmland near Bonnevoie, yielding varying degrees of success. By 1949, the first official deeds were signed, paving the way for the creation of a new garden estate. With great enthusiasm, work commenced on this new endeavor.”

     

     

    You are standing in front of the « Gaart an Heem » Clubhouse in Bonnevoie. The association was established on December 13, 1925, as a botanical garden club for Hollerich Bonnevoie, now known as « Gaart an Heem Bouneweg asbl » Currently, we oversee approximately 80 gardens, most are privately owned while some are rented by the club or the Luxembourg City Council. What makes this neighborhood special is its diverse mix of nationalities. While communication with neighbors of different languages can be challenging, it fosters rich cultural exchanges on gardening and various other topics.”

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    Site 7:

    Park Kaltreis

     

    In this audio clip, Geneviève Hornick-Hoffmann will describe what the park looked like in the 1970s.

     

     

    “We’re standing here in the Kaltreis, a beautiful park with a small lake in which animals swim. This area used to be our playground. It was a bit rough and bumpy because underneath the grass, there were chunks of concrete left from bunkers demolished on the site after the Second World War.”

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    Site 8:

    Rosa Lëtzebuerg

     

    In this audio clip, François Diderrich will tell you about the first office for the LGBTQI+ community here in Bonnevoie.

     

     

    “Here we stand in front of number 60, rue des Romains in Bonnevoie. This location served as the home base for CIGALE and Rosa Lëtzebuerg asbl from 2002 to 2013. CIGALE, which stands for Centre d’Information Gay et Lesbien, provides support for individuals who identify as LGBTQI+—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and more. Its launch in 2002 marked the first instance in Luxembourg where individuals could seek information, advice, and assistance regarding LGBTQI+ issues.

    CIGALE was established under the initiative of Rosa Lëtzebuerg, an association dedicated to advocating for LGBTQI+ rights. Through an agreement with the Ministry for the Family, Rosa Lëtzebuerg took charge of CIGALE’s operations. For Rosa Lëtzebuerg, this marked the first time since its founding in 1996 that it had a physical location at number 60, shared with CIGALE. The primary objective of Rosa Lëtzebuerg is to secure legal equality for all individuals and couples while combating discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

     

     

    “At number 60, we’ve shared many memorable moments together. This space hosted cross-cultural film screenings as part of festivals, conferences, committee meetings, and journalist interviews. Additionally, it housed a library where everyone could borrow books.

    One of the most notable events associated with Rosa Luxembourg is Gay Pride, originally known as Gay Mat. Since 1999, we’ve celebrated Gay Pride annually in July, initially on Place d’Armes, and for over a decade now, in Esch-sur-Alzette in front of the town hall. It’s a festive occasion for all, carrying profound message: every individual is equal in dignity and rights.”

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    Acknowledgements

    Interviewees

    João Alves

    Bernard Baumgarten

    Antonio De Almeida Gomes

    François Didderich

    Geneviève Hornick-Hoffmann

    Maurice Kirsch

    Paul Sinner

    Serge Tonnar

     

    Narrators

    Céline Offermans (Luxembourgish)

    Noémie Montignie (French)

    Daniela Arede (Portuguese)

    Anne Hoffmann (English)

     

     

     

    We are grateful to the people of Bonnevoie for sharing their stories with us, and to the narrators for taking the time to record the audio tour.

    The interviews were conducted by Kyra Thielen, and the photographs of the various locations on this page were taken by Christof Weber.

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