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Vagabondage @ Belval

Conference “Geography in (e)motion”

After the seminar “Geograpy in (e)motion”, organised yesterday by the Minett UNESCO Biosphere at the Maison du Savoir of the University of Luxembourg in Belval, a vagabondage through the new district should have taken place.

During the conference, the Italian geopoetician Davide Sapienza emphasised the role of geopoetics in his life. However, he also stressed that listening to geography and listening to our landscape can help us rediscover our lost connections with nature.

Man’s links with his geographical environment were also discussed in the second part of the seminar. Geographers Estelle Evrard and Lise Landrin presented their project “Remix Places”, in which they intend to scientifically understand how human beings react and interact with their immediate geographical environment. This project is part of the program for Esch2022.

Watch the conference here.

Belval under pouring rain

After the conference, a visit to Belval was planned. In the pouring rain, historian Thomas Cauvin from C2DH explained to Davide Sapienza and the other conference visitors the changes in the Belval district.

Due to the exceptional weather conditions that Luxembourg, as well as the Minett UNESCO Biosphere, had to face yesterday, the visit to Belval was almost limited to a tour of the blast furnaces.

Blast furnaces as historical testimonies

Davide Sapienza was impressed by the signs of industrialisation that have been preserved in the heart of the new district, recalling how Minett became what it is today. In addition, the geopoet stated that, in conversations with local residents, he had received many different views of Belval, demonstrating how different building materials and landscapes affect different people.

In a discussion at the foot of the blast furnace, historian Thomas Cauvin emphasised the importance of preserving these industrial cathedrals of the Minett. It was crucial to maintain a place that had determined the fate of a whole region for almost 100 years and thus to keep the history of Minett visible for future generations.

Geographer Estelle Evrard concluded that Belval, as it is currently evolving, can be both attractive and repulsive. However, this phenomenon would apply to the whole of the Grand Duchy. The explanation probably lies in the many opportunities available here, but also in the high daily costs associated with realising them.

Next steps for Rocklines

If the weather conditions will permit, the Italian author Davide Sapienza and the Luxembourg scientist Robert Weis will continue their geopoetic journey of discovery through the Minett UNESCO Biosphere today in search of the words and messages that our region has to offer and to pass on to the two explorers.