Research Group Contemporary History of Luxembourg

LHI activities in 2022

Research on contemporary history of Luxembourg investigates the political, economic, cultural and social histories of Luxembourg in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Its research profile reflects the mission entrusted to the University of Luxembourg: producing new knowledge about the contemporary history of Luxembourg by studying phenomena and processes that have profoundly affected the country and whose transnational and comparative value exceeds the national perspective.

At the core of current research projects are the history of the Second World War, colonial history, and social history (welfare, inequality, labour history). Currently composed of 26 researchers, mostly PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, the LHI research group gathers regularly by means of team meetings, an annual retreat, and a research seminar.

Research funded by science funds

LHI members are successful in attracting competitive funding provided by science funds. Within the FNR funded project Soldiers and their communities in WWII: The impact and legacy of war experiences in Luxembourg, Nina Janz and Sara Maya Vercruysse organised the international conference on the conscription of non-German men and women into the Wehrmacht and Reichsarbeitsdienst. Thanks to additional funding, the project was accompanied by an interview project on the impact of war experiences of Ukrainian refugees caused by the Russian invasion.

Two PhD researchers receive FNR funding through the AFR funding line. Whereas Arnaud Sauer was writing up his research findings related to foreign labor in the Minett during the interwar period, Nicolas Arendt started to investigate the transformation of ARBED 1973-2001 through a transnational lens.

In addition, Machteld Venken leads a work package on the history of welfare within the Greater Region as part of the European Research Council Advanced Grant Social politics in European Borderlands. A Comparative and Transnational Study, 1870s-1990s coordinated at the European University Institute of Florence. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Lorraine to conduct archival research on the cross-border welfare of Luxembourgish veterans after the First World War. As part of the DFG-FNR funded Research Unit on the history of popular culture in the long 1960s, Veronique Faber unravels the past of the Luxembourg Funfair Schueberfouer, among others through interviewing and participant observation

Research commissioned by Luxembourgish public and private stakeholders

In 2022, the LHI research group continued to carry out research on the request of Luxembourgish public and private stakeholders. The societal interest in the history of the Second World War is reflected in a significant number of projects. The research on the Soviet Forced Labourers in Luxembourg during the WW2 conducted by Inna Ganschow reached a breakthrough thanks to the discovery of observation reports composed by the American army in 1944 and 1945, which are archived in the United States of America.

Ongoing research on the spoliation of Jewish property in the mid of the 20th Century was accompanied by a new public outreach project dedicated to the creation of a digital Shoah memorial in Luxembourg (both under the supervision of Denis Scuto).

Following the successful launch of a C²DH-created virtual exhibition on the First World War in Luxembourg, Christoph Brüll launched a new project developing a virtual exhibition of the Second World War in Luxembourg. Through conducting research on the role of Luxembourgish historical actors in the colonisation of Africa, the LHI axis contributes to an ongoing debate in Luxembourgish society. In 2022, LHI members visited the temporary exhibition Luxembourg’s colonial past in the MNHA and exchanged ideas with the exhibition’s curator. Two postdoctoral researchers received access to the archives of respectively the Chambre of Employees (Estelle Berthereau) and the Luxembourg Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (Sam Klein) and prepare institutional histories.

Events and output

As part of the International Migration Conference network, Denis Scuto organised an international conference on Multicultural Conviviality in Dudelange. In cooperation with the University of the Greater Region Centre for Border Studies and the Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network, LHI members hosted the international conference Borders in Flux and Border Temporalities In and Beyond Europe.

The LHI research group also organised the second workshop of an international will, among others including the Centre for Urban History in Lviv (Ukraine) and the Polish Academy of Sciences, collaborating on the documentation of current war experiences. It welcomed archivists and digital humanists to discuss collections informing the history of cross-border cooperation in the Greater Region.

Flagship publications are peer-reviewed edited volumes on the history of borderlands and children in Europe, one edited volume for a larger public with texts about the Luxembourg south inspired by Bruce-Springsteen-Songs and one international peer-reviewed article on mapping migration to Luxembourg, among others based on inputs of students in the research-oriented MA course migration history.

In cooperation with the City of Dudelange and the Centre de Documentation sur les migrations humaines, the App Moving Lusitalia – Un quartier centenaire se réinvente was developed and launched.