The Schueberfouer: A celebration of history, culture, and fun in Luxembourg


Read time: 6 minutes

In the heart of Europe lies a grand spectacle that seamlessly interweaves the past with the present, tradition with modernity, and the young with the old - The Schueberfouer. Prepare yourself for an entertaining six-minute read that will transport you through centuries of rich history and vibrant culture. Grab yourself your favourite drink, settle in comfortably, and let us tell you the fascinating story of the Schueberfouer, a captivating tale that blends 683 years of tradition with modernity and unites people of all ages.

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[Luxembourg-Schueberfouer-05-© Vincent Lescaut - L'Essentiel]

Deeply ingrained in Luxembourg's cultural tapestry since the 14th century, the Schueberfouer, or Fouer for the locals, is more than just an event. It has become a vibrant celebration of life that transcends the boundaries of age and time.

Coming from humble beginnings, the Schueberfouer has grown into one of the most enduring and treasured traditions of Luxembourg. Prior to its inception, there had been plans to establish a grand annual market in Luxembourg City. However, it was John the Blind, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg, who realized this vision through the Charter of 20 October 1340.

This pivotal document decreed: "Every year, it [the fair] shall mark the start of the vigil of the feast of St. Bartholomew and shall last for eight full consecutive days." Consequently, the Schueberfouer has been invariably tied to 24 August, the Feast of St. Bartholomew, and begins every year on 23 August, lasting for 20 magnificent days.

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[Willkommen auf der Schobermesse ©Christophe Bernard in 1942]

The origins of the name "Schueberfouer" are as interesting as the fair itself. It's believed to be derived from "Schuedbuerg," the first site of the fair, situated on what is now known as the Plateau du Saint-Esprit. The term "Schuedbuerg" eventually transformed into "Schuedbermiss," and then into "Schuebermëss." Some also draw connections with the German term "Schober," which was once used to describe a barn (hence Schobermesse in German).

From Market to Funfair

For nearly 450 years, until the French Revolution, the Schueberfouer served as a bustling market, known as "St Bartholomew's Market." Located at the crossroads of Europe's vital trading routes, it evolved into a major hub for trade and commerce, offering an array of goods from fabrics to porcelain.

As the market expanded, it outgrew its original site and was moved to Limpertsberg in 1610. This relocation, to an area north of what is now Allée Scheffer, was made possible after the land was cleared of trees to fortify the city. In 1893, following the demolition of the fortress to make way for urban development, the Schueberfouer found its present home on the Champ du Glacis.

In the 18th century, the Schueberfouer began to evolve from a simple market to an exciting funfair. The introduction of music, dancing, and skill-based games transformed the atmosphere, making it a place of enjoyment and revelry. The first rides made their appearance in 1844, adding another layer of excitement to the fair. The early 20th century saw the arrival of a small Ferris wheel and a figure-8 roller-coaster, marking the beginnings of the modern Schueberfouer.

Though the rides became more mechanical and elaborate, they couldn't overshadow the eateries and stallholders. With 683 years of history the Fouer has preserved its unique fusion of tradition, market, funfair and cultural event. Today, more than ever, it is the highlight of the summer season and a treasured symbol deeply rooted in the national identity of Luxembourg.

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[A Busy day in 1904 ©Fischer Batty]

A Grand Spectacle and cultural landmark

The Schueberfouer isn't just a funfair; it's a cultural landmark with a rich and colourful history. It's the largest of its kind in Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Every year, from late August to early September, visitors from all corners of the globe make their way to the fairground at Champ du Glacis. Spanning a staggering 4 hectares, the Schueberfouer engulfs the heart of the city in its magical aura and nostalgic fragrances. Not all the attractions are owned by locals, some rides and showmen come from neighbouring countries such as Germany, France or Belgium, to name but a few.

It stands as one of the few uniquely Luxembourgish traditions that have stood the test of time. Over the centuries, it has transformed and evolved, mirroring the changes in society and the city itself.

The Schueberfouer is a mecca for gourmets, offering a rich variety of traditional and innovative gastronomy. One such delicacy that draws visitors in droves is the delicious Gromperekichelcher, the emblematic Luxembourgish potato pancake that is simply irresistible.

Year after year, the City of Luxembourg, proud organiser of the Schueberfouer, presents a breathtaking mix of tradition, culinary delights and exciting attractions - an unmatched experience in Europe.

Lämmy: The Beloved Mascot of the Schueberfouer

No event is complete without a mascot, and the Schueberfouer is no exception. Meet Lämmy, the delightful sheep who serves as the funfair's friendly face. The creation of Emile Schlesser, a comic strip artist born in 1986 who goes by the pen name Milli, Lämmy has captured the hearts of visitors and locals alike. This endearing mascot is as much a part of the Schueberfouer as the rides, games, and food stalls, adding a touch of whimsy and charm to this beloved event.

The Schueberfouer: A Timeless Attraction

Year after year, the Schueberfouer continues to captivate the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Its charming blend of thrilling rides, delicious food, and a lively atmosphere make it a must-visit event. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, a food lover, or just someone who enjoys a vibrant atmosphere, there's something for everyone at the Schueberfouer.

We warmly invite you to experience the magical world of the Schueberfouer first hand. If you're staying at our hostel, you're in luck! The Schueberfouer is just 1.4 kilometres away, a leisurely 16 minute walk from our doorstep. Not only does this short walk take you to the heart of the Schueberfouer, it also gives you the opportunity to enjoy another local attraction, the Pfaffenthal Lift.

Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to all our readers and guests. The time you have taken and the interest you have shown in our beloved Schueberfouer is truly appreciated. This great festival, deeply rooted in our history and culture, is a part of us all and we are delighted to share its magic with you.

So, whether you're a first-time visitor or a regular, mark your calendars and gather your loved ones. Prepare for an unforgettable experience at the Schueberfouer and immerse yourself in a world of joy, laughter and timeless tradition. Whether it's the thrilling rides, the yummy food or the vibrant atmosphere that draws you in, the Schueberfouer is sure to be a unique and unforgettable experience. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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P.S.: If you're hungry for more details and eager to delve deeper into the fascinating history of the Schueberfouer, we invite you to check out the City Museum's website. It features a captivating mini-series of six episodes (in German) packed with stunning photos, artifacts, and surprises that promise to enrich your understanding of this cherished tradition. Happy exploring!

Mir gesinn eis op der Fouer!

Mir gesinn eis op der Fouer!

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