Our King and Queen travel to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for a State Visit
From 15 until 17 October 2019, Their Majesties the King and the Queen of the Belgians travelled to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for a State Visit. They were accompanied for the occasion by Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR).
This State Visit to a country that is so close to Belgium on so many levels – in terms of its history, geography, politics, economy and culture – was all the more evident given that the King of Belgium and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg are cousins. The programme included numerous ceremonies, receptions and exchanges, including a State Banquet, a meeting with Xavier Bettel, the Premier Minister of Luxembourg, and Fernand Etgen, the President du Chamber of Deputies, a concert at the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg offered by Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians and a reception at the City Hall of Luxembourg hosted by Mayor Lydie Polfer.
The importance of a rail link between Brussels and Luxembourg
Their Majesties the King and Queen travelled to Luxembourg by train to underscore the importance of a reliable rail link between Brussels and Luxembourg. The train is the most environment-friendly means of transport between these two capital cities, which are so close to each other and which are also home to many European institutions. But the rail link needs an urgent upgrade, which fortunately is on the cards. The royal train took three whole hours to cover the 200+ kilometres that separate Brussels-Luxembourg and Luxembourg Train Station.
Mudam, a source of cultural inspiration
Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of the BCR, took advantage of the opportunity to visit Luxembourg’s magnificent contemporary art museum Mudam. The building was designed by the recently-deceased architect Ieoh Ming Pei. He was accompanied by Yves Goldstein, the driving force behind Kanal – Centre Pompidou. Their visit was an excellent source of inspiration and an opportunity to discuss a collaboration for the future contemporary museum which is set to open in Brussels in 2023.
Circular economy in the spotlight
In addition to space industry, finance and the audio-visual sector, the programme of the State Visit also focussed on the circular economy on the initiative of the BCR. On Thursday 17 October 2019, hub.brussels and the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg organised a seminar, with the support of Brussels International, titled “From Linear to Circular: the Future of Construction”, in the enchanting setting of Biodiversum in Remerschen.
The event also included an exhibition of projects by Luxembourg and Belgian companies specialising in circular economy. Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians and His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg had the opportunity to speak with the exhibitors, including several Brussels-based companies: Extensa, which has been tasked with the redevelopment of the Tour & Taxis site, the innovative architect’s firm Dzerostudio and the social start-up Permafungi, which grows oyster mushrooms on recycled, organic coffee grinds. All the participants were given a Made in Brussels mushroom growing kit to take home after the event!
The State Visit ended with a visit to Schengen, an important place in the history of the creation of the European Economic Community, followed by a cruise down the River Moselle, which focused on mobility and which proved a great opportunity to sample the delicious wines of this region.