Kirchberg (Luxembourgish: Kierchbierg) is a quarter in north-eastern Luxembourg City, in southern Luxembourg. It consists of a plateau overlooking the north-east of the historical city centre, Ville Haute, connected to the rest of the elevated city by the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, which spans the Pfaffenthal valley. It is often referred to as the Kirchberg plateau, or simply, the Kirchberg by Luxembourg residents.
Kirchberg is one of 24 quarters in Luxembourg City
|• Total||3.3684 km2 (1.3005 sq mi)|
(31 December 2018)
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
The isolated elevated position of the plateau made it an important defensive position and led to the 1732 construction of Forts Thüngen and Olizy in southeastern Kirchberg, as part of Luxembourg's impressive fortifications. Its strategic importance was reaffirmed with several expansions to their battlements. However, much of Luxembourg's fortifications were destroyed following the 1867 Treaty of London. In 1875, the Parish Church of Our Lady, Refuge of the Sick[nb 1], was built to serve a small farming community that had established themselves in central Kirchberg.
Kirchberg remained largely undeveloped until the post-war period in the latter half of the 20th century, when its cheap land, and proximity to the city provided an attractive locality as the provisional seat of the institutions of what would become the European Communities - the forerunner to today's European Union (EU). The Luxembourg government, in an effort to secure the position of the capital of the new supranational organisation, commissioned the construction of the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, spanning the Pffafenthal valley, to connect the plateau directly with Limpertsberg, and the rest of the elevated city. Though the discussions that led up to the 1965 treaty, which merged the institutions of the three Communities, failed to garner consensus from member states on a single location for their basis, Luxembourg remained one of the three de facto capitals, retaining several institutions, most importantly, the Communities' Court.
The development of the European quarter acted as a catalyst for the urbanisation of Kirchberg, promoted by the government initiative, the Fonds Kirchberg.
The major components of Kirchberg's ubranisation were drawn up by French architect Pierre Vago, with its central axis being the 3.5 km long Avenue John Fitzgerald Kennedy stretching from the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge in southwest Kirchberg to the edge of the Grünewald forest on the north-eastern border. The avenue was beautified from its original inception as an expressway into a tree-lined pedestrian-and-cycle-friendly thoroughfare, with separated tram and bus lanes. The Kirchberg campus of the University of Luxembourg is located midway along this avenue, and a number of glass and steel edifices of commercial, and financial institutions spans from central to north eastern Kirchberg, where the Kirchberg Hospital is located.
Kirchberg has developed into an important cultural hub. The partially reconstructed Fort Thüngen, listed along with the rest of the former Fortress of Luxembourg, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosts the Mudam, a museum of modern art opened in 2006. Designed by I. M. Pei, it displays works by some of the world's most notable modern artists. In close proximity, adjacent to one of the European Parliament's original plenary chambers, is the Philharmonie, Luxembourg's national concert hall. The grand auditorium seats over 1,500 people. On the western edge of the European quarter, Luxembourg's National Sports and Culture Centre, d'Coque arena contains an Olympic-sized swimming pool and the country's largest indoor arena with seating for 8,300 spectators. An Auchan-owned shopping and restaurant centre, Luxembourg's largest cinema multiplex, Kinepolis Kirchberg, and Luxembourg's national exposition centre, LuxExpo The Box, are all located at the far end of Avenue J.F.K in north-eastern Kirchberg.
Today, south-western Kirchberg is dominated by the EU institutions and agencies that were the key to its development. This includes the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, parts of the European Commission, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, and the European Investment Bank. The EU's statistics agency, Eurostat, is based above the Auchan shopping centre. Additionally, the European School of Luxembourg I provides an education to the children of employees working within the EU bodies.
Plans to provide Kirchberg with a more direct connection to national and international heavy rail links were realised in December 2017, with the opening of a funicular, on the southern edge of the plateau, in proximity to the European quarter, which provides access to a newly constructed station located in the bordering Pfaffenthal valley below. Connecting the funicular station, a new tram line was opened which, as of January 2019, runs from its depot in northern Kirchberg, down Avenue J.F.K, across the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, to Place de l'Etoile. When all stages are completed it will eventually run from Luxembourg Airport, through Kirchberg, to the city centre, on to the central rail station, and finally the new business district in Cloche d'Or, to the south of the city. Concurrently, a major new transport hub with 10 bus quays, a tram stop and a five-storey car park is under construction in northern Kirchberg, between Luxexpo and the new tram depot. The 16,500 sqm building will include shops, offices as well as 580 car parking spaces. The bus and tram interchange has been in operation since December 2017.
Like Luxembourg City, Kirchberg has a general oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb), marked by high precipitation, particularly in late summer. However, the slope and height of the area accounts for occasional lower temperatures (up to 1° below Luxembourg City), more frequent fog and enhanced precipitation of both rain and snow.
- The Parish Church of Our Lady, Refuge of the Sick is now grouped with other parishes in the pastoral community of Weimerskirch. It was the location of the only regular celebration authorised by the Archdiocese of Mass of the Roman Rite in its 1962 version (Tridentine Mass) until October 2014 when it was moved to the Church of St. Cunegonde`s in the nearby Luxembourg City quarter of Clausen.
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- "Statisiques sur la Ville de Luxembourg: Etat de Population - 2018" (PDF). www.vdl.lu (in French). Ville de Luxembourg. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- "Messe Traditionnelle (Tridentin) en Latin - History". messe-latin-luxembourg.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Hein, Carola (1 May 2000). "Choosing a site for the capital of Europe". GeoJournal. 51 (1–2): 83–97. doi:10.1023/A:1010846605894. ISSN 0343-2521.
- Hesse, Markus (2016). "On borrowed size, flawed urbanisation and emerging enclave spaces: The exceptional urbanism of Luxembourg, Luxembourg". European Urban and Regional Studies. 23 (4): 612–627. doi:10.1177/0969776414528723 – via Sage Journals.
- Barrow, Keith (11 December 2017). "First section of Luxembourg tramway opens". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- Lecorsais, Diane; Tasch, Barbara. "Three new tram stations". luxtimes.lu. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- Pritchard, Heledd (16 July 2018). "Transport hub seeks to ease inner-city traffic". luxtimes.lu. Retrieved 27 January 2019.