Kirchberg is one of the twenty-four ‘quartiers’ or districts of Luxembourg-Ville, and has a reputation as the heart of the country’s banking and international finance marketplace.
Kirchberg is currently experiencing a new momentum, and the district is opening up to new activities, and becoming a sought-after residential and cultural district.
In Luxembourg-Ville, Kirchberg is a district that stands out clearly from the urban fabric due to its dynamic development. It is the gateway to the Ville de Luxembourg, and from the 60s, it has become the centre of banking activity and international finance, and accommodates the buildings of the “European Institutions” that are located in Luxembourg: the European Union Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the Banque européenne d’investissement (BEI) [European Investment Bank (EIB)], the European School, Eurostat, etc.
The conversion of the former motorway back into a city centre boulevard, linking this plateau located in the north-eastern part of the capital to the city centre from the end of the 1980s, means that the district can open up to new horizons, particularly in business. It is currently becoming a cultural, institutional, business and residential focus.
Kirchberg is an institutional and business district characterised by the European institutions, banks, and numerous financial and insurance institutions that are located there. This high concentration provides a large number of jobs. Nearly 38,000 people work every day on the Kirchberg plateau.
According to the Fonds Kirchberg, in the medium term, the number of workers will reach 50,000 and ultimately 60,000 people. It should be noted that currently nearly 12,000 people work for the European institutions, a figure that will probably reach 16,500 in the medium to long term. The Kirchberg plateau will soon have a P+R (park and ride) at the Serra roundabout, the third extension of the BEI (EIB), the third tower on the European Union Court of Justice, the extension of the European Parliament, and the future world headquarters of ArcelorMittal.
Concerning educational establishments, other than the Kirchberg basic school, one of the campuses of the University of Luxembourg, and the European School are located here. Recently, a municipal crèche was opened in rue Joseph Leydenbach.
This cultural district encompasses the Philharmonie concert hall, and the Musée d’art moderne Grand-duc Jean [Grand Duc jean Museum of Modern Art] - known as Mudam - designed by Ieoh Ming Pei. In addition to this, it has an impressive range of leisure facilities. Multi-sports halls, and an Olympic pool (all grouped together under the name of La Coque - National cultural centre) making up this sports complex, which is the largest and most significant in the country. Utopolis is a multiplex cinema with ten screens and was the first in Europe to have equipped all its screens with digital standard projection. An Auchan group shopping centre, located at the heart of the district, is one of the largest in the country. Not forgetting the Musée 3 Glands [museum] and the weekly market which, since last year, is held every Tuesday afternoon.
The new Bibliothèque nationale [National library] building, which will be open from 2018 at the county town locality of Bricherhaff, will be a major research and reading location.
Kirchberg also represents a model for town planning and architecture. According to the latest figures, for the population of the Ville de Luxembourg, 5,499 people live in Kirchberg. Kirchberg currently has 1,400 residences in the district know as “Vieux Kiem” [‘Old Kiem’] dating from the 1970s, Avalon, which was built in the 1990s, and Grünewald, created over the last 10 years, and which has now been completed. In future, Kirchberg will have some 6,500 more residences, distributed as follows: the extension of the Kiem district with approximately 800 residences, the Réimerwee Est [East] and Ouest [West] PAPs [special development plans] with approximately 500 residences, and J. F. Kennedy Sud [South] with approximately 1,000 residences. To this is added the Porte de l’Europe project, in the Quartier Européen [European District], with 200 residences and the sites currently being planned in the context of the new development scheme for re-envisioning the Ville de Luxembourg PAG [general development plan]: Kuebebierg-Langfuur, Eurocontrol, the extension of the Quartier Grünewald, and the Uni.lu site.
This mixed use city block consists of a commercial and hospitality sector group of approximately 3,500 - 6,500 gross m 2 , offices and services amounting to approximately 6,800 gross m 2 (zone “A”) and residential properties amounting to approximately 20,000 gross m 2 , of which 2,000 gross m 2 is to be reserved for leasing by the SNHBM (zone “B”). The site is located on the north side of avenue J. F. Kennedy, on the corner of where it joins rue du Fort Niedergrünewald, in front of the Tour B (Tower B) of the Porte de l’Europe. A public square is panned between rue du Fort Niedergrünewald and avenue J. F. Kennedy level with the “Philharmonie-Mudam” tram station. An underground passage link with the Place de l’Europe car park is also in the process of construction (InCA, design office).
This site, which has an area of approximately 10 hectares, belongs in part to the Fonds Kirchberg and in part to the Société Nationale des Habitations à Bon Marché (SNHBM) [National Affordable Housing Society]. To the east it links to the residential district known as “Vieux Kiem”. South of bd K. Adenauer, it adjoins the “Avalon” residential buildings, which form the core of the Quartier d’habitation Reimerwée [residential district], which was built in the 1990s.
In the north-west, it is close to the Kuebebierg site, which is a Fonds [Kirchberg ] land reserve, which has hitherto not been developed or used. The infrastructures of the Domaine du Kiem PAP are currently under construction, including the renovation of bd Pierre Frieden, with a view to preparing the site to receive the new residential buildings.
The Réimerwee Est [East] PAP sites (with an area of 40 ares) and sites of the Réimerwee Ouest [West] PAP (with an area of 355 ha) belong to the Fonds Kirchberg. The Est and Ouest PAPs frame the “Avalon” complex on either side, which was built in the 1990s. The Réimerwee district is linked to the North by bd Pierre Frieden to the Kiem residential district, and beyond that, to the “Kuebebierg” district site. It is adjoined by bd Konrad Adenauer to the north and east, and by rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi in the west. To the south it opens out onto the Parc Réimerwee.
Even so, as a recent development, the residential areas do lack local services, which only exist in the business and banking districts or in the neighbouring districts. “The mixed character, in other words, the combination of shops and business, office space and accommodation, has replaced the concept of districts devoted to one single function”, states the Ville de Luxembourg. Similarly, “leisure areas and meeting places are lacking in the residential areas or are insufficient. But each of these districts has potential land that could enable the development of such centres”.
In terms of mobility, the district is very conveniently close to the Luxembourg-Findel airport. Many bus routes connect it to the centre of Luxembourg-ville and to the neighbouring villages. A tram route is currently under construction and will link the station and Kirchberg. Next to the Pont Rouge, the train- tram “Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg” interchange is also under construction. With the future funicular railway, users will no longer need to go via the central station to reach Kirchberg.
In general terms, this plateau, which was adapted for vehicle access in the 60s, is progressively being adapted for public transport and soft mobility: Vel’oh [cycle sharing] stations have been installed in this context and 30 kmph zones established in the Kirchberg-Grünewald district to calm traffic in the residential districts, and to increase safety for all road users, and a new continuous cycle route on the north side on the avenue Kennedy will be ready for use at the same time as the tram in December this year - an important stage to be reached with a view to the establishment of the 25/75 modal split.
Emilie De Vicenzo
Photos : AZPML et Beckmann - NThepe