Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Friday Flashback (on a Wednesday): Today in History

Photo: Sammlung Rüdiger Jost, Weilburg/Lahn
Today, April 23rd that is, in 1851, Duke Adolph of Nassau, who later went on to become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, married his second wife née Princess Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau. The couple, pictured above in 1852, had five children and are the great-great-grandparents of Grand Duke Henri.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting Ready

Photo: European Museum Academy
Kind of missed by moi cause I only discovered their Facebook page now, Princess Sibilla has been busy with the European Museum Academy (EMA) during the past few weeks. In late March, the European Museum Academy's board and experts met with the Micheletti Foundation to select 2014 Micheletti Award winners which will be announced later this week. (Picture here.) More recently the always lovely princess participated in the preparation meetings of the 2014 Micheletti Award ceremony and the annual EMA meeting which will take place in Glasgow. (Pictures here and here.)

Source: European Museum Academy

Pre-Easter Concert

On Wednesday last week, the vocal ensemble "Lyra" from St. Petersburg gave a concert at the parish church in Eschen and Princess Marie was one of the guests. The Russian vocal ensemble has given numerous concerts in Liechtenstein over the years and due to being there shortly before Easter, they sang mainly sacred music this time around. "Lyra" has about 25 members who are students and postgraduates of the Saint-Petersburg Conservatoire working for different choirs or musical theatres. Usually five or six of them sing at a concert; at the concert in Eschen, six singers were present.

A video of parts of the concert is available at 1 FL TV.

Source: Volksblatt

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday in Luxembourg *

Photo: Marc Wilwert / Luxemburger Wort /
It's Easter Monday and thus it was time for the traditional Eemaischen market in Luxembourg today. Among the thousands to crowd the streets of the Luxembourgish capital as well as the village of Nospelt were Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. While the Hereditary Grand Duke has been a frequent visitor to the event, the Hereditary Grand Duchess got her first (public) taste of a long-standing Luxembourgish tradition.

Photo: Alice Steyer-Fonck / RTL /
The most famous feature of the Eemaischen market are the Péckvillercher, little handmade earthenware whistles shaped like birds. Prime minister Xavier Bettel didn't miss the opportunity to gift such a Péckvillchen, appropriately with a crown on its head, to Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. Seemingly much to everyone's delight, he immediately tried it out. Originally a gift between lovers, Péckvillchen have become popular collector items.

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple was invited by the Comité Alstad association to visit the market which also includes music, dancing and other performances. They were accompanied by prime minister Xavier Bettel and his partner Destenay Gauthier as well as Luxembourg's mayor Lydie Polfer. All of them were welcomed by the president and general secretary of the Comité Alstad Jean-Mathias Goerens and Claude Esch at the Fëschmaart at 10:30am this morning before touring the Eemaischen together.

More pictures of today are available at Wort in German, Wort in French and Wort in English as well as Tageblatt, L'essentiel in French, L'essentiel in German, RTL, Manuel Dias and the cour grand-ducale. RTL covered the Eemaischen in their French evening news with the Luxembourgish version also available.

Source: Wort, Cour grand-ducale

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg

Photo: Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum
In our Luxarazzi 101 series we - admittedly rather rarely - like to branch out to topics not strictly Grand Ducal or Princely but instead in some interesting relation to Luxembourg or Liechtenstein and today is one of those days because there's hardly anything that says Princely Grand Ducal Royal Imperial Easter more than a Fabergé egg. Admittedly though, this one isn't one of the famous imperial eggs, however, it is still beautiful and sparkly, I like beautiful and sparkly things, and I hope you do too: Happy Easter everyone!

The very first Fabergé egg was crafted in 1885 for Tsar Alexander III of Russia, who had wanted to give his wife, Empress Maria Fedorovna, a special gift for Easter. After seeing the delight of the Empress after receiving the egg, the Tsar decided to commission another egg for the following year from the company of the famous jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé and thus a tradition was born. After Tsar Alexander III's death, his son Tsar Nicholas II continued the tradition by giving eggs to both his widowed mother and his own wife. Until the end of the Russian empire, the imperial collection thus grew to contain 50 eggs, each of them including a little surprise.

Fabergé's eggs, however, weren't only popular with the Romanov family but also with Russian industrialist Alexander Kelch, who commissioned the jeweller to make seven eggs for his wife Varvara Kelch-Bazanova. One of these eggs, the Apple Blossom Egg, is today owned by the state of Liechtenstein.

Also known as the Jade Chest Egg, the Apple Blossom Egg was made in 1901 in St. Petersburg of nephrite, green and red gold, silver diamonds, matt pink and white enamel as well as velvet lining. The nephrite is used for the egg's shell which is adorned by golden twisted branches. Made out of red and green gold, the branches feature spreading and interlacing twigs with knots, veins and patches of moss as well as golden leaves. The egg's most striking feature are the blossoms, which are made out of pink foiled rose cut diamonds mounted in silver and surrounded by pink and white enamel panels. Unfortunately, the egg's surprise is lost. Measuring 11.5 centimetres in height and 14 centimetres in length, the Apple Blossom Egg is one of the largest Fabergé eggs ever made and has, in the past, even been mistaken for an imperial egg. Even though it is not an imperial one, the egg is still rumoured to be worth 30 million pounds.

How such an egg came into the possession of the Liechtenstein state? In November 1996, Liechtenstein art collector Adulf Peter Goop purchased the egg at a Sotheby's auction after it had gone through a number of different hands after the end of the Russian empire. In June 2010 about a year prior to his death, Goop left his art collection containing some 4000 pieces of art to the Liechtenstein state. Among the collection were around 2300 Easter eggs from all over the world, including Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg, which is currently exhibited at Harrod's in London. Once the London exhibition is over, the egg will return to the Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum in Vaduz where it is part of a permanent exhibition.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Flashback: Eemaischen Through the Years

With Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visiting the Eemaischen on Monday, I thought we'd have a look back on previous visits by the Grand Ducal Family to the traditional Easter market in Luxembourg City.
Photo: René Weydert / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte as well as her four oldest children (from left to right) Princess Margaretha, Grand Duke Henri, Prince Jean and Archduchess Marie-Astrid looking at some Péckvillercher in 1962.
H. Kohn / Luxemburger Wort /
(From left to right) Prince Guillaume, Princess Margaretha, Prince Jean, Archduchess Marie-Astrid and Grand Duke Henri visiting the Eemaischen together with a nanny in 1967.
Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duchess Charlotte at the traditional Easter Monday market in 1975...
Photo: Jean Weyrich / Luxemburger Wort /
...and a grown-up then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri at the Eemaischen four years later, in 1979.
Photo: Thierry Martin
The infant Prince Guillaume trying out a Péckvillchen at the Eemaischen in 1983 which he visited together with his parents, then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa.
Photo: Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
A few years and sons later, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa visited the market together with Prince Guillaume, Prince Félix and Prince Louis in 1990...
...and five years later, in 1995, it's time for Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien to try out the little bird whistles at the Eemaischen.

Easter Plans of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple

Photo: Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
You remember Eemaischen, the event taking place every year on Easter Monday in Luxembourg City, I told you about last year? Lucky you, because you already know what I'm talking about when I tell you that Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will visit the Eemaischen on Monday. The couple was invited by the Comité Alstad association and will arrive at the market at 10:30am.

In short, Eemaischen is a market taking place in both Luxembourg City as well as the village of Nospelt. The most famous feature of the market are the Péckvillecher, little handmade earthenware whistles shaped like birds. Originally, made from left-over red-brown clay by the potters of Nospelt, the little birds were traditionally given to each other by lovers and are now popular with the children of the Grand Duchy. (For the longer version of the history of Eemaischen, have a look here.)

Source: Chronicle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luxembourg's New National Day

Luxembourg's government has made significant changes to the country's national day celebrations. A few months ago, prime minister Xavier Bettel announced that changes were to be made to make the the national day more "civil" (though I believe he used the wrong word as civil would probably mean more non-military when he actually meant non-religious a.k.a. secular). 

In order to achieve that, a new ceremony at the Grand Théâtre will be hosted in the morning instead of the traditional Te Deum. The ceremony will include speeches by the Prime Minister and the President of the Chamber of Deputies as well as the award of decoration to outstanding citizens. This new ceremony will be followed by the traditional military parade. The Te Deum has been postponed to the evening hours according to Bettel's statement. As the gala dinner for foreign dignitaries usually takes place in the actual evening hours, I guess that the late afternoon is meant. No word yet on which events will be attended by the Grand Ducal Family.

Source: Wort, Tageblatt

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Friday Flashback (on a Wednesday): Birthday Boys at Cabasson

Photo: Corbis
Today, the Grand Ducal Family isn't celebrating one but two birthdays. While Grand Duke Henri turns 59 years old, his youngest son Prince Sébastien is celebrating his 22nd birthday. The picture above shows the two birthday boys during a family holiday at Cabasson in southern France.

About Liechtenstein-Czech Relations...

Photo: 1 FL TV
The day before yesterday, the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission in collaboration with the Historical Society for the Principality of Liechtenstein presented two new books. Among the guests for the book presentation in Vaduz was Hereditary Prince Alois.

The first book entitled "Liechtensteinisch-tschechische Beziehungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Synthesebericht der Liechtensteinisch-Tschechischen Historikerkommission" (Liechtenstein-Czech relation in history and presence, synthesis report of the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission) was written by eight historians as a final report about the relation of Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic after three years of work. As you may recall, the Prince of Liechtenstein as well as 37 other Liechtenstein citizens lost their Czechoslovakian properties on the basis of the Beneš decrees after the end of the Second World War as they were deemed German because of speaking German. Only in 2009, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein formed official diplomatic relations and a year later a historical commission was installed by the two countries.

The second book called "Die Liechtenstein und die Kunst" (The Liechtensteins and the art) includes 18 lectures given by historians at a symposium in Brno about the passion for art of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and their contribution to art in the former Bohemia.

A video of the book presentation is available at 1 FL TV (starting at 5:32).

Source: Historischer Verein