Luxembourg-Ville, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Neumünster Abbey, Luxembourg-Ville, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Benedictine Monks had been in Luxembourgh City for centuries and had an Abbey, the Altmünster (Old Minster) in the upper city. This, however, was destroyed in 1542 during the Duke of Orleans' attack on the city during the so-called Italian War of 1542-46 one of a series of dynastic struggles which occurred sporadically in Europe in the early 16th Century.

In 1606 the monks purchased land in the Grund, the river valley below the upper city, and constructed their Neumünster (New Minster). This building was destroyed by fire in 1684 but rebuilt four years later and then extended in 1720. This is essentially the building that survives today.

After the French Revolution the Benedictine's left and the Neumünster became a police station, a prison and then barracks for the Prussian Army after Napoleon's 1815 defeat. From 1867 it once more became the state prison for Luxembourg.

The Abbey was last used as a prison in World War II when the Nazis used it for political prisoners including Luxembourg's favourite sculptor, Lucien Wercollier. Wercollier was later moved to a Concentration Camp, but survived the War and today the Abbey is home to the Lucien Wercollier Cloister where many of his private works are now on public display.

After the War the Abbey remained unused for some time. Since 1997 it has beent he home of the European Institute of Cultural Routes and today is open as a meeting place and cultural centre. In 2005 Bulgaria and Romania signed their treaties of accession to the European Community in the Abbey.

The Abbey is perhaps at its most impressive when seen from the Bock Casements standing over the Grund.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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