It is a chilly Sunday morning I’m standing in an empty street in Belval, my hometown. Wrapped in a jacket and headscarf, a shopping bag in one hand, I’m ready to go grocery shopping. Still debating whether to head back home to my bed, it hits me! This is a moment I have been waiting for; like a scene from a movie; the ghost city. Me and the city as if it were time to meet face to face. Lost in this moment, it doesn’t take long to feel the cold fresh air caressing my skin and the beauty of Belval has won me over.
Completely taken in this moment, my moment with the city, I slowly walk towards massenoire (black mass building) which has been transformed into an exhibitions and conference venue. I invite you to join me on a virtual tour, if you’d like to explore Belval from my point of view. Let’s go!
The wind is blowing, and the leaves are dancing as I cross the street. I am reminded of the 6th celebration of the Fête des Hauts Fourneaux (Blast Furnace Festival) back in July.
The admission to this event was free and, in my opinion, there is no better way to understand Belval’s industrial history than through art and music with the blast furnace being illuminated at night.
I am now standing between the two large furnaces. I remember looking down from up there during the Blast furnace festival where you get a chance to climb to the top and view the city from above. I remember looking at the industrial zone that is still operating, wondering about the lives and days of the industrial workers back in the day. I could almost feel their determination, energy and sweat. I could see the hope and a promise of a better future for their children, their country and wondering whether they are smiling now wherever they are.
I continue walking until I am right in front of the library or widely known as the Luxembourg Learning Center. How time flies; it was back in September 2018 when they inaugurated the library but now it feels like it has always been there with its bright colors giving Belval a bright feel in contrast to what was there before.
I have visited the library before, it’s quite a unique place! Nicely done with a lot of books, good working spaces and it will provide you with an idea of the facilities that have been built for students and citizens as a whole. The interior decor depicts both the old and the new; giving way to a rusty yet cozy and beautiful atmosphere.
I continue my exploration tour towards the university of Luxembourg. That’s right, the University of Luxembourg has a campus in Belval that was inaugurated back in 2015 with around 6300 students (as of December 2018).
As I admire the new student building, I am tempted to walk down towards the now operating ArcelorMittal industrial site but before I go further; a huge abandoned building that freely bears the name “All we need” is right in my face. Ready to be used but no one is willing too. I see smoke up and I know that’s how far I can go.
I take a detour and circle around the university premises until I am standing at the Porte de France. A street in the center of Belval; I walk towards the red building of which I have been told that it’s one of the oldest buildings in Belval together with Belval Plaza I & II.
Instead of circling back to the city. I cross the road and walk directly to the square mile which is in front of the red building. From there, you can see the abandoned two nuclear reactors.
Construction site in Belval has become a way of life and it’s a sign of a city on the rise. You will notice that in every corner and especially on the outskirts of the city, business is growing and catching up and the number of inhabitants is steadily rising which you can feel through the liveliness of the city.
I continue straight until I am walking towards the Belval Parc which is the same parc used by Belval Lycée.
Before I end this article, I’ll leave you with some more pictures of Belval during different seasons of the year.
Some beautiful sunsets
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