Accessible cultural tourism in the Old City of Luxembourg
On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the inscription of the site “City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications” on the World Heritage List, new accessible cultural tours aim to open the World Heritage site to everyone, including citizens with special needs. By partnering with relevant community organisations, the project aims to enhance the accessibility of the city and its cultural heritage, representing UNESCO’s values of inclusiveness and openness.
About the city of Luxembourg
The city of Luxembourg is the capital of the country of the same name, a small, landlocked state located in North-Western Europe. The city is home to the World Heritage site “City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications”. The property was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1994 under criterion (iv).
The Old City of Luxembourg is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers, on a very steep rocky outcrop. Due to its exceptional strategic position, the City of Luxembourg was one of the largest fortresses of modern Europe which was constantly strengthened and reinforced as it passed successively into the hands of the great European powers, playing a significant role in European history for several centuries.
Today, the city is a historical ensemble of prime importance, an outstanding example of a fortified European city and host to an exceptional variety of military vestiges illustrating a long period of Western history.
Accessible cultural tourism in the old city of Luxembourg
In 2020, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the inscription of the site “City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications” on the World Heritage List, four new self-guided cultural tours have been developed. The initiative was carried out by several agencies, including Luxembourg’s National Commission for cooperation with UNESCO and the City of Luxembourg.
The project responds to the management goals of the site, which include:
- Raise awareness about World Heritage amongst all people, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, age or abilities.
- Promote the value of inclusive cities.
- Reinforce the message of inclusivity and openness embedded in the UNESCO World Heritage philosophy.
The new itineraries include a walking tour of the Old City, a cycling tour (developed in partnership with Vél’Oh!), as well as two tours which are accessible for people in wheelchairs and citizens with physical and mental disabilities. The itineraries are accompanied by an illustrated audio-guide, which can be accessed from the izi.travel mobile and web application in Luxembourgish, French, German, English, Dutch and sign language. The audio-guide focuses on accessibility, with carefully selected, approachable wording.
Besides the audio-guide, a 52-page specific visitor booklet in simple language was published, which is available at the Luxembourg City Tourist Office and the UNESCO Visitor Centre at “Lëtzebuerg City Museum”. An enhanced PDF with improved readability is also offered. The project had a one-off cost of 6,000€, while the cost of reprinting of the visitor booklet is expected to be 1,500€ per year.
In order to ensure the accessibility and suitability of the itinerary and educational materials, the organisers partnered with a variety of organisations representing people with different disabilities, who contributed and reviewed the produced materials. The project partners include the KLARO Association of Parents of Children with Mental Disabilities, Hoergeschaedigten – Beratung asbl, Centre pour le développement des compétences relatives à la vue, Lebenshilfe Bremen, Info-Handicap and ADAPTH National Centre for the accessibility of buildings.
The new accessible cultural tours in Luxembourg aim to open the World Heritage site to everyone, including citizens with special needs. By partnering with relevant community organisations, the project builds on this vision to deliver a concrete action to enhance the accessibility of the city and its cultural heritage, representing UNESCO’s values of inclusiveness and openness.
Source: Robert Philippart, site manager “City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications”, 2021.
Contribution towards Sustainable Development
If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
- Target 8.9: the initiative aims to promote sustainable, inclusive tourism.
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Target 11.4: the initiative aims to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural heritage by raising awareness about World Heritage and promoting its accessibility.
- Target 11.7: the initiative aims to improve universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, in particular for children, older persons and persons with disabilities.
Note: the described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact.
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Image credits: Amos Chapple © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection
Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and site managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.