A non-profit group, the "Frënn vun der Festungs-Geschicht" (Friends of Fortress History Luxembourg), has expressed their dismay at plans to expand the tram network and the repercussions on the city's historical foundations from the Glacis, through Porte-Neuve, to Boulevard Royal.

"We are not opponents of the tram, but there must be compromises on construction which also respect the city's heritage," said the FFGL, which works alongside the authorities on larger construction projects.

The tram network could see an expansion added from the Glacis down to Boulevard Royal, turning right down Boulevard Prince Henri, and following the curve of the municipal park.

However, Robert Wagner, president of the FFGL, explained to RTL that there are vestiges of the city's history on either side of the proposed expansion past the Fondation Pescatore, particularly around the Kinnekswiss field and the Areal. Beneath these areas lies the fairly intact Fort Royal, which dates back to the time of Louis XIV.

RTL

Treasure trove of military history 

In this area lies a "treasure trove of military history", said Wagner, a true jewel of architectural elements. Any tram construction would have to take into consideration the historical structure of the area, even if it is not visible on the surface, as is the case at the Kinnekswiss.

The concern is whether the tram line and the construction work required could even take place without affecting the historical casemates, hidden galleries and the underground vestiges of two extremely rare forts.

Unique in the world

To complicate matters, Wagner explained that after the fortress was closed in the 19th century, the government handed the land over to the City of Luxembourg, on the condition that nothing other than the park would be laid on top of the site. The convention of that time would need to be checked in order to confirm whether it would permit a tram line.

In addition, previous building work in the 1970s discovered a bridge under the existing Boulevard Royal, with construction dating back to between 1626 and 1636. Wagner said this bridge would absolutely need to be preserved. However, there are concerns over whether the bridge could handle any further building interventions, as it struggled to cope at the time of its rediscovery.

RTL

The bridge itself has historical value, but modern machines pose a challenge as yet unknown in terms of the repercussions on both the bridge and other vestiges of the city's foundations.

The FFGL as a whole is ready to compromise, said Wagner, but not at the expense of the capital's fortress history.