Histoire publique Histoire contemporaine du Luxembourg

Temporary History Lab: Become Part of History!

26 Septembre 2020 à 23 Octobre 2020

temporary history lab

© Tokonoma

The C²DH is organising a temporary history lab on the Place de la Résistance in Esch-sur-Alzette. The lab will host a number of participatory events to explore the history and identity of the Minett: participants can take a picture of themselves and learn more about the exciting history of the selfie, record a text for a loved one with our sound postcards and learn about this forgotten history and technology, and experience a fascinating video installation with “Historical Voices from Esch”.

As historians at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), we are interested in your memories of the heyday of the iron and steel industry, your recollections of your work, leisure time and everyday living conditions, and also your perception of how Esch-sur-Alzette and the surrounding region has changed from World War II to today. We want to hear from all generations, young and old alike, regardless of origin, gender or occupation. Get actively involved in our research work: tell us your life and family stories! Bring us your photos and documents of all sorts so that we can digitise them in our history lab!

Let us talk about the past, present and future – and your very personal history in this town and region. We are looking forward to seeing you in our temporary history lab!

Share your stories – and become part of history!


Explore the History Lab in 3D


30 September - 23 October

Crowdsourcing Historical Documents

In our temporary history lab, we collect and digitise your stories and documents. We are interested in your personal memories, which we would like to document and investigate for our project by conducting oral history interviews with you. Your personal documents and photos (from school photos to employment contracts) can also tell interesting stories. We would love to look at them with you and record and digitise them in our history workshop. We will incorporate selected interviews and documents in our research and display them in our large-scale history exhibition in 2022. Contact us!

26 September - 23 October

Interactive video Installation: Historical Voices from the Minett

Our interactive video installation features several personal stories related to the past and present of the Minett. Based upon existing and new historical research, the stories have been written by a team of historians and anthropologists to highlight various aspects of life in and around Esch-sur-Alzette throughout the 20th century. As such, the interactive video installation, which has been designed by Tokonoma, deals with timeless themes such as wartime suffering, migration, labour, health and human creativity. The spoken stories are accompanied by images taken from various local archives, some of which have never been shown in public before. Aimed at a broad audience and covering multiple languages spoken in the Minett, the video is sure to resonate with both locals and foreign visitors. Come to Annexe22 in the evening and let yourself be transported back to the past!

26-27 September

Become Your Own Photo Portraitist!

26 September - 4 October

Exhibition: Photographic (Self-)Portraits

In our history lab, take photos of how you would like to remember yourself and your family. We will be installing an analogue camera with a remote release. At the push of a button, you can become an active part of historical work to explore the past and present of the region, community and identity.

The self-portrait campaign is accompanied by a photo exhibition that gives an insight into the history of the photographic portrait. Pictures of people in huge industrial complexes contrast with impressions of everyday life in the Minett and increasing attention to the “ordinary”.

The photos will be archived by us and thus become part of local historiography. Selected self-portraits will also be shown from 21 to 23 October in Annexe22. During this time, you can also pick up a copy of your photo.

10-11 October

Escher Sound Postcards. Be Part of an Encounter Between Past, Present and Future

10-18 October

Exhibition: Escher Sound Postcards

Choose from a selection of unique and recordable postcards, each showing an historical image from the Minett! Record your two-minute message, poem or song by means of a vintage Cartavox sound postcard recording machine from 1957. We will send it to you through the post. Your sound postcard can be listened to on any vinyl record player or via a digital version we will make for you.

Between 10 and 18 October all the sound postcards recorded by our visitors will be displayed in a special exhibition in the history lab. Here you will be able to play a selection of sound postcards on turntables and listen not just to your own message but also to messages by other people (perhaps you might even recognise somebody you know!).

In this workshop, current reflections on the past, present and future of the region mingle with each other and are interlinked with images and technologies of the past. This special collection of sound postcards, containing all your personal recordings, will be archived and thus preserved for future listeners.

10-11 October

Historical City Walks

The authors of the Guide historique et architectural Esch-sur-Alzette guide you through the town of Esch and its surroundings, focusing on various historical topics (10.10 in Luxembourgish, 11.10 in French):

  • Antoinette Reuter: Le parcours eschois du sculpteur Duilio Donzelli : du cimetière Saint-Joseph à la rue du Brill (Meeting point: Cimetière Saint-Joseph, Entrance Rue du Fossé),
  • Antoinette Lorang: Le programme architectural de la Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG à Esch. Des colonies au Casino de la direction et des employés (Meeting point: Place Victor Hugo),
  • Georges Büchler: Esch-sur-Alzette sous l’occupation allemande (Meeting point: Annexe22, Place de la Résistance),
  • Jean Goedert: Du Vieil Esch aux Nonnewisen. Une promenade le long de la croissance de la ville (Meeting point: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville),
  • Denis Scuto: Sur les traces de Paul Flesch, premier architecte de la Ville d’Esch (Meeting point: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville).

Tours last approx. 90 minutes, start at 10.30, registration required: contact Audrey Sapet, email: historylab@uni.lu, telephone:  +352-46 66 44 9809.

21-23 October

Exhibition: Escher Self-Portraits

Over the final three days of the history lab we will show a selection of photos from our self-portrait event (26-27 September) in Annexe22. During this time, you can also collect a print of your photo.




Place de la Résistance (Brillplaz)



Opening times

Temporary History Lab

Wed-Sun: 10.00–17.00

Video installation

Wed-Sun: 17.00–22.00


 Download presentation in English

 Téléchargez la présentation en français

 Präsentation in Deutsch zum Herunterladen


More information can be found at historylab.uni.lu.