"Neischmelz" a national project for housing and culture

The government has just passed two financing bills to support the realization of the first phase of the new "NeiSchmelz" residential area in Dudelange with half a billion euros. In the center of the city of Dudelange, on an area of around 36 hectares, the former steel industry wasteland will be converted into a modern and ecological city district with a high quality of life and housing.

The vast majority of the 1,575 housing units will be for affordable rent. The project developed by the Housing Fund. - NeiSchmelz" will also be supported by a strong cultural component: the establishment of the National Centre for Public Collections (Centre national des collections publiques - CNCP). In addition to a national repository for the storage of works, the CNCP will be a place of work and exchange for the many professions linked to the conservation of movable heritage.

©MLOG Henri Kox, Minister of Housing
Henri Kox, Minister of Housing

The conversion of a brownfield site

"NeiSchmelz" is being developed on a reconverted industrial wasteland of almost 36 hectares and is based on an urban planning concept that allows for the creation of a new sustainable and innovative district as well as the partial preservation of the industrial heritage.

The 1,575 lodgings, developed entirely by the Housing Fund, will accommodate around 3,700 people within 15 years. In order to offer a balanced mix of owners and tenants, the project foresees

  • 866 affordable rental units;
  • 551 subsidized affordable sale units;
  • 158 non-subsidized low-cost sales units.

"NeiSchmelz", an exemplary neighborhood with a high quality of life

The "NeiSchmelz" district will be built with respect to the mix of functions, but also with respect to the generational and social mix. The residential function will account for at least 56% of the total planned gross floor area (excluding parking). In addition, local shops, restaurants and cafés, workplaces, meeting points, and leisure and entertainment facilities are planned.

"NeiSchmelz" will integrate the principles of the circular economy and sustainable development. New, land-saving forms of construction will be applied, which meet general ecological criteria and are in keeping with the regional typology of the built heritage. Special emphasis is placed on the quality of life of the inhabitants.

The energy concept is innovative and the entire "NeiSchmelz" district aims to be CO2 neutral. Electricity will be generated by photovoltaic systems. The roof of the rolling mill will be used for solar and photovoltaic panels. The European Union is contributing €24 million to the realization of the energy concept of the "NeiSchmelz" project. This amount represents a quarter of the support given to Luxembourg under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) - the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU.

The "Diddelénger Baach" stream will be upgraded and its course will be largely maintained. According to the latest plans of the Housing Fund, this project will take at least 15 years to be completed. As with most larger housing projects, the Housing Fund has planned for the successive realisation in several phases in order to allow for the harmonious integration of the new district into the existing urban fabric of the city of Dudelange.

Integration of the National Centre for Public Collections

In application of the Kulturentwécklungsplang 2018-2028 (KEP), which foresees in its recommendation 33 the construction of a "national repository for public collections", several locations were considered for the implementation of such a project. At the beginning of 2020, the "NeiSchmelz" site in Dudelange stood out for meeting all the necessary conditions.

There are many reasons explaining the need for a national center for public collections:

  • A permanent lack of storage space for movable cultural heritage;
  • To guarantee the preservation of these collections by storing them in optimal conditions;
  • To protect the objects against disasters;
  • To generate collaboration and synergies between curators, researchers and conservators working on the collections.

Currently, cultural institutions are in need of constant storage space due to the growth of the collections. As a result, many institutions are always looking for new storage facilities, which are often not suitable for storing a wide variety of heritage objects.

"It is important to ensure that the national movable cultural heritage is passed on to future generations in the best possible conditions," says Culture Minister Sam Tanson. The mission of the new National Centre for Public Collections will therefore be to manage this conservation, to create optimal working conditions for curators, researchers and restorers, and to create a place for the exchange of knowledge related to cultural heritage and its preservation. The project also includes exhibition spaces.

Some figures of the two bills

The Housing Fund will eventually carry out the remediation of industrial pollution, the preservation and restoration of the architectural heritage, the revaluation of the natural heritage through the "Diddelénger Baach", the realisation of the development works as well as the realisation of the housing of the PAPs "North", "Centre" and "Italy".

The total financial participation of the State is estimated at EUR 507.5 million, which is initially distributed as follows:

  1. The draft law authorising the State to participate in the financing of the remediation and upgrading of the "NeiSchmelz" project site
  2. The budget of EUR 235 million for this bill consists of the costs of soil remediation, the reclamation of the Diddelénger Baach and the construction of special infrastructure for the NeiSchmelz site. The costs covered by this bill are borne entirely by the state.
  3. The bill authorizing the State to participate in the financing of the housing development of the "NeiSchmelz" project
  4. 272.5 million of this bill consists of the costs of the development and construction of housing for the "North", "Centre" and "Italy" PAPs of the "NeiSchmelz" project. The development costs for the PAP "South" are also included in the scope of this bill. The costs covered are subsidized by the Ministry of Housing, in accordance with the amended law of 25 February 1979 on housing assistance.

Finally, a third financing bill will be implemented in the coming years for the construction of the housing units of the PAP "South", as well as for the National Centre for Public Collections, including an exhibition space, a restoration workshop and laboratories.

"The redevelopment of the former steel site in Dudelange is the best example of this government's public, affordable and sustainable housing offensive. Particular emphasis is placed on functional and social diversity, the circular economy and the energy concept offering future inhabitants a high quality of life. With the four funding bills of Elmen, Wunne mat der Wooltz, Wëltgebond and now NeiSchmelz, almost one billion euros will be committed to affordable housing in one year. We are building for the right to housing in order to give a perspective for access to housing to those who need it the most!", stressed Housing Minister Henri Kox.

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