In general, Luxembourg Governments put a strong emphasis on cultural and natural heritage, the subsequent governmental programmes giving it a key priority in the Government’s cultural policy.
In this regard, one of the main policy objectives of the current government coalition relates to the definition and finalisation of a fundamental reform of the law on cultural heritage. With a legislation that dated back to 1983 and a failed reform attempt twenty years ago, minister of Culture Sam Tanson succeeded in proposing a new text that is based on a large public consultation process and constitutes an important paradigm shift.
A law on cultural heritage was indeed voted in Parliament on February 10, 2022. This law covers archaeological heritage, architectural heritage, movable heritage and intangible heritage. Its objective is to implement international and European law in this area – including the conventions of Faro, Granada, Valletta and Florence – and to modernise the existing legal framework by providing more coherence to the protection and conservation of the cultural heritage, as well as legal certainty.
The need for a new an adapted legislation became indeed ever more urgent: while between 1928 and 2008, only some 700 buildings were protected by state legislation, the number of protections stood at 1 643 in 2020. The competent public administration has been working together with the municipalities at the level of their general development plans (PAG/Plan d’aménagement général) to identify more sites and monuments to be protected. As of 2020, the new PAGs of 53 municipalities provide municipal protection to more than 13 700 buildings.
Based on the adoption of the new law on cultural heritage, ongoing efforts now aim at creating a Centre for Monuments of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Centre des Monuments du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg), which entails adapting the public cultural institutes’ missions, as well as creating a National centre of Public Collections (Centre national des collections publiques).
Complementing the governmental programme, further objectives in relation with cultural heritage have been developed in the Cultural development plan 2018-2028 (KEP), together with policy guiding recommendations.
Besides these overall measures, a lot of emphasis has been put on the development of a national inventory of intangible cultural heritage with the creation of a dedicated post and a specific website (www.iki.lu). New elements have been continuously inscribed on the inventory since 2018 and the national inventory thus now lists elements of all domains of the living heritage. The inscription of elements on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has been pursued in parallel, often on the basis of multilateral candidatures (such as the musical art of horn players, a multilateral candidature from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy that was inscribed in 2020).
Industrial cultural heritage is also specifically revalorised, notably in the context of and through the European Capitals of Culture 2007 and 2022, as well as the recent agreement between the ministry of Culture and the association in charge of the establishment of a National Center for Industrial Culture.
In line with the overall governmental strategy on digitisation, the ministry of Culture has greatly invested in the development and implementation of a national digital strategy for the cultural heritage and creative sectors. In a collaborative process with the institutes and units in charge of collecting, documenting, preserving and valorising cultural heritage, such as libraries, archives and museums, the main strategic orientations of the national strategy for digital cultural heritage (SNPCN) were developed. They are to:
- Provide broad and inclusive access to digital cultural heritage collections
- Create synergies between cultural institutes
- Develop a sustainable and quality oriented digital cultural heritage ecosystem
The implementation of these strategic objectives is divided into two main components:
- Development of the Réseau de compétence national (National Competence Network) between cultural institutes in order to set up a common reference framework for the digital development of cultural heritage;
- Support the digital transformation within cultural institutes.
On the level of international and European cooperation, Luxembourg is actively involved and contributes to cultural heritage conventions, programmes and debates, particularly in the realm of:
Luxembourg is home to several UNESCO-recognised cultural sites and events:
- The Old Quarters and Fortifications of the City of Luxembourg, World Heritage since 1984 (the 25th anniversary of the inscription was celebrated in 2019 with a number of specific participatory projects)
- The Minett region, UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2020
- The Whit Tuesday dancing procession, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2010
- The photographic exhibition The Family of Man, UNESCO Memory of the World Programme since 2003
- European Union, within for example the Commission expert group on cultural heritage, the Reflection group “EU and Cultural Heritage”, the Commission Expert Group on the common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage, European Heritage Label coordinators
- Council of Europe, particularly in the context of the European Heritage Days and Herein Network
- Cross border association “Greater Region”: under its presidency, Luxembourg organised a conference in 2018 on «Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Greater Region»”
- ICOM: a convention between the State and Luxembourg-ICOM has been signed in 2020.
“Public awareness and participation has been continuously optimised with events such as the European Heritage Days, the Luxembourg Museum Day, the International Museum Day, the Museum Night (Nuit des musées), the World Heritage Day, as well as the activities of associations, such as Fondation Bassin Minier, Centre de Documentation sur les Migrations Humaines, or Minett Park/Fond-de-Gras.
 Les partis de la coalition DP, LSAP et déi gréng (2018) Accord de coalition 2018-2023, p. 84.
 See more: Rapport d’activité du Ministère de la Culture 2020, p. 136. Accessible at: https://data.public.lu/fr/datasets/rapports-dactivite-du-ministere-de-la-culture/#_
 See more: Rapport d’activité du Ministère de la Culture 2020, p. 135. Accessible at: https://data.public.lu/fr/datasets/rapports-dactivite-du-ministere-de-la-culture/#_
 Kulturentwécklungsplang eBook 1.0 – Septembre 2018, Volume 1, p. 129.
 Kulturentwécklungsplang eBook 1.0 – Septembre 2018, Volume 1, p. 129 and p. 167
 Rapport d’activité du Ministère de la Culture 2020, p. 83. Accessible at: https://data.public.lu/fr/datasets/rapports-dactivite-du-ministere-de-la-culture/#_
 https://www.ovpm.org/2019/07/25/25-years-world-heritage-luxembourg/; Accessed 15 November 2021.