What do you get if you a cross a 12th century castle, New York’s Museum of Art and one of the most famous battles of WWII?
You get Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg.
Built back in the 1100’s, Clervaux Castle now contains three fascinating exhibits.
As you walk up the hill and under the big arch, keep an eye out for the cows. The whole area is lovely, with beautiful views and a very peaceful atmosphere.
The first exhibit you’ll see is scale models of Luxembourg’s castles – don’t worry it’s much more interesting than it sounds.
The second is the Museum of the Battle of the Bulge. Occupied by Germany troops, Clervaux Castle suffered a lot of damage during the war and was then destroyed by fire. The local council bought and started rebuilding in 1949.
The museum is small, but incredibly detailed, as they put on display items that were left behind in Clervaux after the War. Philip loved it, so any history buffs should definitely pay a visit.
The Family of Man
Edward Steichen put the exhibition together for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), back in 1955. When Steichen asked for submissions, he received over 2 million pictures – how incredible is that. He and his team then narrowed it down to the 503 that make up the exhibition. All the pictures are in black and white and they cover every stage of human life. Birth, childhood, work, leisure, marriage to name but a few. The Family of Man is meant to be ‘timeless’ but of course 50 years later, most of the pictures look a little dated.
After being displayed in over 150 museums around the world, The Family of Man found its’ permanent home at Clervaux Castle.
I love how the ‘audio guide’ is actually an ipad, filled with information about the exhibition. You can find out about each picture individually, as well as videos, articles and recordings about The Family of Man as a whole.
Upstairs you’ll find a library of photography books, that I could have quite easily spent several hours going through them. If you like that kind of thing (as I’m guessing you do as you’re in a photography exhibition), you should spend 30 mins or so having a look through.
At the end of the exhibition don’t miss the little room (just up the stairs before you go out) where you can leave a post-it note with your thoughts or even a video testimonial. Don’t forget to have a quick look in the little gift shop, there is a great book of all the photographs and quotes.
Of all the exhibitions at Clervaux Castle, The Family of Man was definitely my favourite. It is absolutely worth a visit.
Tips for your visit:
// All three museums are open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 to 6pm.
// A combined ticket for the Battle of the Bulge and Castle Museum is available for €5
// Tickets for The Family of Man are €6 for adults
// Entry to The Family of Man is free for anyone under 21
// The cafe on site is only open in the evening, but there are lots of lovely cafes at the bottom of the hill
// Address for GPS: Montée du Château, L-9712, Clervaux
// There are several ‘pay and display’ car parks in Clervaux, within walking distance of the Castle
// For public transport use Rometorio to check out your options