Luxembourg is a tiny but rich nation nestled in the middle of Western Europe. Its small population of just over half a million, despite its wealth, has not earned it the designation of an artistic centre in Europe.
Not only is the country very small, but its people are ageing, and they are notably conservative in taste. While global art circles continue to be dominated by contemporary works, Luxembourg hardly seems poised to start increasing its share in the market.
Of course, the place is not entirely lacking in culture – it served as the European Capital of Culture in 1995 and the entire city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site with its well-preserved fortifications and its charming old city.
Luxembourg has begun building on its cultural credo through art. One of its premiere galleries, Nosbaum Reding, inaugurated an attractive art week in 2015, which just enjoyed its fourth annual showing. The hall where the exhibition is held is split into two. One section hosts more traditional pieces where well-known artists set up shop. The other section is more experimental and eccentric. It allows younger and upcoming artists to show off their creations.
The art week is organized by the country’s Ministry of Culture, and it boasts of many contemporary works from around Western Europe. This year, artists from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy were in attendance. In 2017, the art week welcomed over 14,000 visitors, and it was expected to host even more than that in 2018.
The Casino Luxembourg has also delved into contemporary art. They run an international programme featuring young artists which calls itself an “experimental think tank”.
It’s also impossible to forget MUDAM, Luxembourg’s museum of modern art. The building is architecturally beautiful, and it is home to more than 700 works of art from all over the world. Sitting atop the Kirchberg Plateau, there is also a café in the building where visitors can sit an relax after enjoying the galleries and exhibitions.
The organizer of Nosbaum Reding’s art week, Alexander Reding, spoke glowingly of Luxembourg’s art appreciation recently to the Art Newspaper. He believes that Luxembourg is probably home to about 100 serious art collectors, which is extremely high considering the small population.
Luxembourg has become synonymous in the minds of many EU citizens with tax havens and a rich, out-of-touch elite. The Lux Leaks scandal of 2014 exposed deep issues of tax evasion in the Grand Duchy. However, Reding notes, that art buyers in Luxembourg have to pay a hefty tax on any purchases, saying, “Really, this scandal doesn’t have any impact on us at this fair. Buyers here have to pay 17% tax, and they do!”