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Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Luxembourg

Despite the city's comparatively small size, Luxembourg has several notable museums, including the recently renovated National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum and several others. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List on account of the historical importance of its fortifications and buildings of high cultural value. Take this 2-hour tour and see the most significant museums in Luxembourg City.
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Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Luxembourg » Luxembourg (See other walking tours in Luxembourg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: Xena
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art
  • Fort Thüngen
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Luxembourg City History Museum
  • National Museum of History and Art
  • Casino Luxembourg
  • Museum of Banking
  • Am Tunnel
Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art

1) Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (must see)

The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, abbreviated to MUDAM, stands on the site of the old Fort Thüngen, in Luxembourg's Clausen quarter.

First proposed in 1989 and championed by then-Prime Minister Jacques Santer, the location of the future museum was much disputed until it was agreed in 1997 to use Dräi Eechelen Park and connect the museum to Fort Thüngen. The building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I. M. Pei, and cost $100m to build. The museum was inaugurated on 1 July 2006 by Grand Duke Jean, to whom the building is dedicated, and opened to the public the following day.

In its first year being open to the public, the museum had more than 115,000 visitors, which is a record attendance in Luxembourg. As Luxembourg had no public modern art collection and the museum budget did not allow acquiring a modernist collection, the museum focused on contemporary art - its permanent collection includes works by 100 artists, including: Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Julian Schnabel, Thomas Struth, and Daniel Buren, set out on three floors.

Why You Should Visit:
The building, designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei, is gorgeous; there is a ton of natural lighting in the elegant and pleasingly spare interior.
Even if you are not keen on modern art, you will enjoy the atmosphere and feel the attraction for creativity. Even the cafeteria is definitely worth visiting.

Take some time to walk the grounds to get spectacular views of the city, especially the old town. If not too hot or cold, you can stretch a towel or blanket and have a picnic.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Mon: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-11pm
On Wednesday evenings starting at 6pm you can enter for free.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fort Thüngen

2) Fort Thüngen (must see)

Fort Thüngen is a historic fortification in Luxembourg City. It is sited in Dräi Eechelen Park, in the Kirchberg quarter, in the north-east part of the city. It is also colloquially known as Three Acorns ("Dräi Eechelen") in reference to the acorns that sit atop each of the three towers.

Most of the original fortress was demolished after the 1867 Treaty of London, which demanded the demolition of Luxembourg City's numerous fortifications. The three towers and the foundations of the rest of the fort were all that remained. During the 1990s, the site was reconstructed in its entirety, in parallel with the development of the site for the construction of the MUDAM, Luxembourg's museum of modern art. After being fully restored, the building was reopened in 2012 as Musée Dräi Eechelen.

Why You Should Visit:
There's a beautiful view from the walking path and the fort itself is very impressive.
Each section takes you through the various history of Luxembourg and how many times it changed hands until becoming its own country.
The artifacts and maps are very cool to see for anyone interested in this piece of history.
At the end, you can walk in the tunnels of the fort and then go to the top and walk along the roof.

Visit inside the fort requires admission – however, you can explore the outside walls for free!
As it is located in a pretty hilly area, you can just sit down and chill and enjoy the magnificent view of the city with no one to bother you.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Museum of Natural History

3) National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is located in the Grund quarter on the eastern bank of the Alzette river. It is composed of eight separate scientific sections, spanning the natural sciences: botany, ecology, geology and mineralogy, geophysics and astrophysics, palaeontology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology. The Society of the Natural Sciences was established in 1850, under the patronage of Prince Henry, the newly-appointed Governor of Luxembourg representing Grand Duke William III. The society's primary aim was the promotion of the natural sciences and natural history to the general population. To achieve this, the government put at the society's disposal a section of the city Athenaeum, now the National Library. Opening its doors in 1854, this area hosted a number of cabinets displaying fossil specimens, spread across three rooms. After almost four decades of this arrangement, pressure for display area caused the museum to move into its own premises, at the Vauban Barracks in Pfaffenthal, in 1892. However, these were criticised for being unattractive to visitors, hence undermining the museum's attempts to promote natural history to the general public. In 1922, the museum moved once again. The new site was the Old Gendarmerie, on the Fishmarket, in the historic heart of Luxembourg City, which the museum shared with the National Museum of History and Art. Purchased by the government, the building, along with a neighbouring house, were initially unsuitable for housing the museum, and the state embarked upon a renovation programme, during which the collections were closed to visitors. The renovations had almost been completed by the outbreak of the Second World War, but the German occupation caused the museum to move again temporarily to protect its collections. Despite the war, the building in Fishmarket was virtually undamaged, allowing the museum to re-occupy the premises immediately. In 1946, a temporary installation was opened, marking the museum's return to its original purpose, thirty-four years after its closure. By 1952, the last room had been opened, marking a return to normal operation.

It was in the decades following the war that the museum diversified away from its core activities, engaging in fields such as geophysics and astrophysics; such was the museum's commitment to these fields that it was the owner of the first electron microscope in the country. However, the expansion of the museum into these additional fields put an added pressure on the space of the museum in Fishmarket, particularly as the National Museum of History and Art was also expanding. After a decade-long search for a suitable new site, on 11 January 1990, the Chamber of Deputies agreed to restore Saint Jean's Hospice in Grund. The new site was opened in June 1996, spread across three buildings, each dedicated to a different aspect of the museum's functions: collection displays, teaching classrooms, and research laboratories.

Opening hours: Tuesday 10:00 am- 8:00 pm; Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 am- 6:00 pm, closed on Mondays. Admission charges: adult – €4.5, children and students under 21 - free.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Luxembourg City History Museum

4) Luxembourg City History Museum (must see)

The Luxembourg City History Museum illustrates the thousand-year history of the City of Luxembourg with both permanent and temporary exhibits. Founded on 22 June 1996, it was designed by Luxembourg architect Conny Lentz. Like the city itself, the museum successfully combines ancient architecture with modern extensions. It is housed in four restored houses from the 17th-19th centuries which still bear archeological traces from the Middle Ages. The exemplary combination of ancient architecture with modern-day technology, delightful to the museum visitors, are the floating glass façade and the panoramic lift from which one can enjoy extensive views of all the museum floors. The huge glass cage of the lift can carry up to 65 people, allowing them to view simultaneously, in one go, the rock foundations on the lower levels as well as the city's Grund district and Rham plateau from the upper levels, thus tracing the stages of Luxembourg's history in the course of centuries. Also quite interesting are the ancient, vaulted cellars which were discovered during excavation work in the early 1990s. The floors below the street level entrance house a permanent collection, which illustrates the town's architectural and urban development, while the upper floors are reserved for temporary exhibitions. The multimedia system, extending throughout the whole building, documents the history of the town, including its cultural, political and social development. It provides access to some ten thousand documents and almost sixty audio-visual sequences.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about the history of Luxembourg, and how many times they were conquered by various neighbouring countries, plus WWI and WWII.
There are incredible Roman exhibits including a massive, almost perfect mosaic floor and then takes you through to modern art and design.
Exhibits are in French, German and English and there's definitely something for everyone to enjoy.

Don't miss the uniquely massive, glass-walled elevator – the size of a small house! Try climbing to the top floor then riding all the way down to the basement with it – a bizarre out-of-body experience. This experience is worth the entry price alone.
On the lower level, you can exit directly to the famous Rue de la Corniche where you can see the famous Bock and incredible geography of the ancient city. Note, however, that using this exit does not make sense if you also use the lockers at the entrance.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-6pm; Thu: 10am-8pm
Free entry every Thursday between 6-8pm
Youth < 21 years & disabled people: always free
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Museum of History and Art

5) National Museum of History and Art (must see)

The National Museum of History and Art, abbreviated to MNHA, is dedicated to displaying artworks and artefacts from all the epochs of the Luxembourgian history. The museum is situated in Fishmarket, the historic heart of the city, in the Ville Haute quarter.

The first proposal for such a museum was made during the French occupation of the Revolutionary Wars when Luxembourg was annexed into the département of Forêts. However, the museum was never opened, despite the expropriation of a number of artefacts from the church.

With the affirmation of Luxembourg's independence under the 1839 Treaty of London came a greater interest by native Luxembourgers in promoting the history of their country. In 1845, historians and archaeologists formed the 'Society for the Study and Preservation of Historic Monuments in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, regularly known as the 'Archaeological Society'. The society took over the responsibility of maintaining a collection of historic antiquities from Luxembourg City's Athenaeum.

In 1868, the Society received a boost from the establishment of the Royal-Grand Ducal Institute, amongst the responsibilities of which was the conservation of archaeological collections. The museum has been expanded lately with the addition of a new building designed by Christian Bauer et Associés and opened in 2002.

Why You Should Visit:
The way the museum is built and arranged offers a true cultural and historical experience, and the old walls of the city are very nicely integrated in the space.
You'll see a very interestingly designed building that takes you down 4 levels to prehistory and up another four to modern art - definitely worth exploring even if you're not into museums.
You can also go to the oldest church in Luxembourg (St. Michael's nearby) and the old Fishmarket in front of the museum.

You do need to leave big bags in a locker that costs €1 but you can take the camera around with you.
Make sure you pick up a highlights leaflet in the introductory gallery. There are gallery guides (available in English) on each floor, too.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-6pm; Thu: 10am-9pm (5-8pm – free entry)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Casino Luxembourg

6) Casino Luxembourg (must see)

The Casino Luxembourg is currently a forum for contemporary art which was adapted and renovated in 1995 to fit its new role of housing temporary exhibitions of Luxembourg art. Originally opened in 1882 as the Casino Bourgeois, it was a centre for cultural and social events in addition to its gaming functions.

The Casino Bourgeois, designed by Luxembourg architects Pierre and Paul Funck, was completed in 1882. In addition to its gaming activities, the casino also had a reading room, a restaurant and a number of large halls which were used for lectures, balls, plays, shows, concerts and art exhibitions. Franz Liszt gave his last piano recital at the casino on 19 July 1886. In 1959, after being purchased by the State, the building was rented out to the Cultural Circle of the European Communities and became known as the Foyer Européen. In 1959, a large glass and steel pavilion designed by René Maillet was added to the south side of the building.

With a view to using the building for art exhibitions during Luxembourg City's year as European Cultural Capital in 1995, the Swiss artist Urs Raussmüller of Schaffhausen's Hallen für Neue Kunst was charged with adapting the casino into an exhibition space for a limited period by creating substantially more hanging space than could be provided by the walls in the various rooms. This was achieved by installing open-top white-walled cubes throughout the building except in the entrance hall which became a reception and information centre. In March 1996, shortly after the end of the European year of culture, the building took on its present function of serving as a forum for contemporary art.

TThe casino also houses a public library and reading room. Known as the Infolab, it contains some 7,000 publications on the history of art since the 1960s, 50 portfolios on Luxembourg artists and 40 international magazines on contemporary art and culture. Information is also provided on current exhibitions with videos, periodicals and books on the exhibiting artists.

Why You Should Visit:
Great view from the terrace, perfect for lunch, working or WiFi as the tables are spacious and the chairs comfortable (also noise levels low). The building itself is really beautiful and centrally located.

Exhibitions are well worth the visit; however, the theme changes ever so often so check the website what's currently on show.

Opening Hours:
Mon, Wed, Fri-Sun: 11am-7pm; Thu: 11am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum of Banking

7) Museum of Banking

The Museum of Banking offers 650 square meters of exhibition space for discovering and studying the 150-year history of Luxembourg banking business. The Museum is located in a gorgeous building, which used to be a teller hall of the head office of Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat. Today the museum's program consists of 11 themes explained in an entertaining way through films and objects. The films tell many interesting facts about development of banking, as well as give curious details about 20th Century bank robberies. Visitors also have a chance to see a dealing room, strong room and old banknotes. The Museum of Banking provides a fascinating journey through the development stages of the banking profession and leads to the understanding of the great impact made by the financial sector trailblazers.
Am Tunnel

8) Am Tunnel (must see)

Am Tunnel is a contemporary art gallery, situated in a tunnel in Luxembourg City. The gallery occupies part of the underground casemates of the city's ancient fortress, under the Bourbon plateau, in the northern part of Gare quarter. It is connected to the former headquarters of Banque et Caisse d'Épargne de l'État (BCEE), the third-largest bank based in Luxembourg.

In 1987, BCEE launched a plan to extend the former casemate, so that it would connect the bank's four buildings that lie on the plateau. The possible usage of the tunnel itself was debated, and the idea was formed to turn the tunnel into a gallery. Construction began in 1992, and the gallery was opened in 1993. It is primarily dedicated to hosting works by more than a hundred Luxembourgian artists, particularly the photographer Edward Steichen, to whom a permanent collection is dedicated. However, the gallery also hosts retrospectives of other artists.

Why You Should Visit:
Definitely one of the most unique experiences that you can have in Europe! When was the last time you had a first-class encounter with art in a former Resistance tunnel from WWII?

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5:30pm; Sun: 2-6pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
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Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
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Luxembourg Introduction Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles

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