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For her project, Faber is analysing the Schueberfouer between the years 1945 and 1975, a period that includes the difficult post-war era, which had an impact both on the economy and on the ability of people to travel to the fair. “You can kind of trace this reconstruction and the backdrop, of course, of the European Union, with the first employees coming to Luxembourg, and how that changed the narrative about the Schueberfouer,” Faber explains. 

Faber’s work in 2023 focused mainly on finding archival sources, such as newspaper articles and other documents. She has been investigating who came to the fair – not only the visitors, but the vendors, traders, show people, restaurateurs, etc. So far, Faber says the main source of her research has been the Luxembourg City archives, which contain ample documentation and correspondence about the funfair. 

The research has been “fascinating because you also see the different interest groups.” Additionally, Faber has reviewed lists and maps of nearly every Schueberfouer held within the timespan of her research focus in the hope of discovering how the composition of the funfair changed. She wants to analyse data about where the show people came from, whether their origins changed during her selected timespan, and more. 

eLuxemburgensia, the digital archive of Luxembourg’s National Library (BnL), has also been an excellent resource for finding news reports about the Schueberfouer – not just in terms of what was on site for a given year, but also for “more conflictual discussions”, for example concerning where the Schueberfouer would be held, whether it would be moved, and what the Glacis, the place where the Schueberfouer is currently held, should be used for.

So far in her research, Faber has discovered that after World War II, there was a push by Luxembourg City to make the Schueberfouer more attractive, and city representatives attended different fairs in the region for fresh inspiration. An entrance sign to a fair in Nancy, for example, inspired the “official” gateway to the Schueberfouer as we currently know it, Faber explains. Meanwhile, it may surprise some to discover that it was only in the 1970s that a more official opening of the fair was held regularly, and that sheep being at the opening celebration is a much more modern tradition. This fair, like others, “was full of invented traditions,” Faber says. “But, then again, if you repeat something for a couple of years, it becomes a tradition.”

A Forum Z event held in September 2023 at the Schueberfouer also allowed Faber to garner additional interest in the project. The press coverage around her public history project has also been wide, with reports in the Luxemburger Wort, RTL, Tageblatt, Lëtzebuerger Journal and Chronicle, to name but a few. 

In later stages, Faber hopes to investigate the significance of this funfair at transregional level and also to digitally reconstruct the movement flows of show people, vendors, attractions, food stands, etc., to demonstrate how the Schueberfouer changed over time. Faber is also keenly aware of the nostalgia the Schueberfouer inspires in many, particularly those who grew up in Luxembourg, and she has therefore been interviewing people to record their firsthand memories of the fair. Although her aim is to discover more about the actors of the Schueberfouer and their relationships, as well as the power structures and tactics behind the decisions made for the fair, she plans at a later stage to continue “getting those voices in. The Schueberfouer is an emotional thing.” Focus groups have already taken place in Limpertsberg and at the Lëtzebuerg City Museum. 

In summer 2024, Faber hopes to visit the annual Luxembourgish funfest in Chicago, Illinois (US) to see which aspects might have been adopted or ignored as the traditional Luxembourg fair was copied further afield. She also plans to visit the Luxembourg American Cultural Center in Belgium, Wisconsin, to review documents and hear perspectives about the centre’s own summer Luxembourg Fest. 

More about the Schueberfouer in the long 1960s

Project member: Véronique Faber

Project leader: Machteld Venken. 

Funding: Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR).

Media coverage:  

  • JCA. "Forum Z Looks Back at Schueberfouer in 1960s." Chronicle, 11 September 2023. 
  • FELLER, André. "Wie andere Länder und Esskulturen die Schueberfouer prägten." Luxemburger Wort, 11 September 2023. 
  • BACK, Armand. "Geräusche, Gerüche, Lichter und Menschen." Tageblatt, 9 September 2023.
  • BACK, Armand. "Interview / War die "Fouer" früher schöner? Véronique Faber forscht zur Kirmes in den Sixties." Tageblatt, 8 September 2023.
  • "Voyage dans le temps à la Fouer". Le Quotidien, 7 September 2023.
  • "It was a good occasion to meet girls." Lëtzebuerger Journal, 24 August 2023.
  • "130 Joer Schueberfouer um Glacis - E Réckbléck op d’Fouer mat Forainen an enger Fuerscherin." RTL De Summermagazin, 21. August 2023.
  • "Zäitzeie gesicht — D’Schueberfouer an de Sixties." Lëtzebuerger Vollék, 27 May 2023.
  • "La Schueberfouer dans les 60's", L'Essentiel, 23 May 2023.

More about Popkult60

The aim of Popkult60 is to write a new history of popular culture in the long 1960s, but with a transnational point of view. This interdisciplinary research group is comprised of members of the C²DH, the Institute for History at the University of Luxembourg, Saarland and Jena University There are a wide variety of projects, ranging from dance to television advertisements, board games, music, comic books, etc., with a focus on cultural transfers between countries. In total, there will be approximately 16 case studies, and contributions linked to those are expected to ultimately be made into a publication. 

Cover photo: Pol Aschman, 1972. Photothèque de la Ville de Luxembourg.