Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do



The Network of European Cities of Culture and Cultural Months, which encompasses people from almost every European country, from very diverse political, social and cultural backgrounds has since its very beginning been a forum for open debate and for fruitful exchanges of information and contact. It is thus only natural that the ECCM should conceive a project like "A Day for Culture - Freedom of Expression and Dialogue." And this especially in a year which is known for its celebrations and prestigious events. In this beginning of a new millennium, we wanted to think of those artists that had not always been allowed to speak, to draw, to paint, to perform, to compose, to write...We wanted to dedicate a thought to those who in most of our countries had to make the sacrifice of their physical and/or intellectual freedom to ease the way for those who were to follow them. We want to think of those who raised their voices, pens, paintbrushes, musical instruments against oppression and torture, against persecution and dictatorship.

An impressive number of European cities have answered positively to the project conceived by Athens, the first Cultural Capital of Europe in 1985. Luxembourg, European City of Culture in 1995, is one of them.



Luxembourg - small with 400.000 inhabitants, but unique, since on this small territory people from over 140 nations live peacefully together - has for years been a place of refuge and welcome for artists of all fields of expression that were persecuted in their own country.

Thus the renowned French author Victor Hugo spent many years of his rich life in Vianden, a small town in the north of Luxembourg, where he escaped the narrowmindedness of his country. This year, a book "Victor Hugo, l'Europeen" will be published to honor this writer who had fought all his life against death penalty and for the freedom of expression, a freedom which he himself did not always have.

Shortly before World War II, German artists that were not allowed to perform in Germany anymore, found stages and a faithful public in Luxembourg. Among them was Erika Mann, the daughter of Thomas Mann, an actress and a writer herself.

But also in times of peace, there were Luxembourgers that fought for a better understanding between nations. Aline Mayerisch-de-Saint-Hubert, the wife of a rich steel magnate, welcomed in her home Andre Gide and Ernst Robert Curtius, to quote only one example of French and German intellectuals who confronted each ogther in peaceful intellectual challenges in the period between the Two World Wars. While Aline Mayrisch succeeded in creating a platform of intellectual exchange and creativity between intellectuals and artists from not only Germany and France, but from all over Europe, her husband Emile Mayrisch was already in the early twenties fighting for an idea Luxembourg born Robert Schuman was to finalise after the second World War.

The event of May 5, 2000 initiated by the ECCM Network, will coincide with the "Journees de l'Europe", large celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Schuman declaration. On May 9, 1950 Robert Schuman announced the concept of the European Community of Coal and Steel, which, starting out in two limited sectors between six countries, was to become the great European Union we have today.


A Play



Guy Rewenig, a renowned contemporary author of novels, plays and children's books, has accepted to write a play about the lack of dialogue and exclusion, about differences and the difficulties to live and to accept them. He calls his play a "turbulence" which will be performed by the ensemble "Peffermill(ch)en", directed by Charles Muller, Professor at the "Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst" in Stuttgart. This project, which is especially conceived for a public of young people, is part of the official program of the "Mission 2000" of the Luxembourg government and under the patronage of HRH the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg.

Performances: May 3, 5, 6, 18, 19 and 21 2000 at 8.30 pm at the "Kasemattentheater" in Luxembourg (14, rue du Puits, Tel. 00352 - 29 12 81)


2 Exhibitions



On May 5, 2000 the Luxembourg Museum for City History will open a major exhibitio about witchcraft. Although this event had been scheduled and prepared a long time ago, we are very hppay that its opening coincides with the 'Day of Culture' project. Under the title "Incubi Succubi - Witches and their henchmen up to our times" the museum will present an international exhibition about those women, men and children who in the 16th and 17th century had to burn because people thought they were different. There is so little difference between a poor hunchback woman of the 17th century Nürnberg, a brilliant and stubborn Giordano Bruno whose ashes were blown over the Campo dei Fiori in Rome and a person who is raped to death because he or she has the wrong colour, the wrong religion, the wrong gender. Or who was perhaps just some place at the wrong time.

Prestigious international museums (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Musee des Beaux Arts from Dijon, Musee des Arts et Traditions Populaires from Paris, the Staatliche Museum from Berlin, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Prado) have contributed to this exhibition.

Musee d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg

14, rue du Saint-Esprit

L - 2090 Luxembourg

Tel. 00352 - 4796-3061



During the 5th of May-Project, Luxembourg will host another innovative and important exhibition the theme of which is also directly related to dialogue and freedom of expression. In "Un voýage pas comme" visitors get through multimedia and role swapping a perfect impression of the life of the refugees. A three dimensional decor will take them into a slum, a refugee camp, a prison, a house destroyed by war. Having chose a character, the visitor will be confronted to his or her destiny, treatment inflicted by army, police, official authorities, his or her arrival in an unknown country, alone and poor. Indifference to other people's suffering is also a lack of dialogue and adds "just another brick in the wall."

Rontone de Bonnevoie, rue de Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

From March 21 to July 2, 2000


2 Publications



This spring, that is dedicated to freedom of expression and dialogue, a book will be published about Victor Hugo, this world famous French author who found a temporary home in Luxembourg, when he was persecuted for his writings and opinions. Frank Wilhelm, a renowned Hugo-specialist, has dedicated his work to Hugo's notion about the "United States of Europe", a concept he mentioned first in a letter written from Luxembourg in 1871. In the context of the 50th anniversary of the Schuman-Declaration (May 9, 1950), it is interesting to see how visionary Hugo was who wanted a "European union made of sister nations with emancipated citizens". As a committed pacifist who fought constantly for the abolition of the death penalty, Victor Hugo is the perfect illustration of this tolerant and foreseeing humanism that should prevail in a Europe of citizens.



Robert Gregoire, a Frenchman who has opted for Luxembourg as his definite home, was as a representative of the trade union "Force Ouvriere" member of the "High Authority" of the European Community for Coal and Steel. After having moved to Brussels, he became Cabinet Chief of the Presidents Thorn and Delors and is now one of the very few hononary Directors of the European Community. In 1972 already, Robert Gregoire, who was very much involved in theatre, has pleaded for a cultural Europe and so it is not astonishing that Melina Mercouri relied on his commitment and help when she developed the concept of the "European Capitals of Culture".


For further information please contact:

Mission 2000 / Agence Luxembourgeoise d'action culturelle

c/o Claude Frisoni

34b, rue Philippe II

L - 2340 Luxembourg


ECCM - Network of European Cities of Culture and Cultural Month

Simone Beck

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