May 18, 2018

Luxembourg - Pottery Museum in Nospelt

Now that Easter is over, even the Ascension has passed, let me introduce you to this little museum in Luxembourg, in Nospelt. Why do I make the connection with Easter? Because on the Easter Monday, here in Luxembourg the Emaischen happens. I wrote about the 2018 edition so I will not bother you with too many details.

In essence, this little town in the centre of Luxembourg was in the 19th century a big pottery centre with 17 different pottery shops and workshops. That is why the tradition of the clay whistles started here and it is in this village that we find today a Pottery Museum.

The traditional shape of the Luxembourgish clay whistle is this

They say that, clay whistles dating back as far as the 16th Century have been found in Luxembourg, but at he same time this craft stopped being a productive industry in 1914 when the last kiln was lit to make commercial pottery.

As one would expect, the museum is centred around the clay whistles, but nonetheless you find in it a little bit of the history of the pottery industry here in Luxembourg. On the ground level and in the first rooms of the museum you will see how the whistles and other ceramic pieces were made, you see the kiln, the different stages of making a ceramic piece and the potter workshop.

On the second room you get acquainted with the history of the Emaischen celebration, you find the first tickets sold to participants and other memorabilia related to this Luxembourgish tradition. Also you learn how the clay whistles were made and find out that each year there is a new design, but at the same time each year 200 original shape clay whistles are made and given to the local associations and personalities of the commune.

On the last room there is a collection of clay whistles from around the world, but mostly Europe as well as the clay whistles designed by the youngest potters in the commune, the ones that still carry on the tradition today. I was impressed with the clay whistles from Romania present in the collection of the museum. Clearly someone has done their homework.
As it is the case of the embroidery patterns that I'm so into right now, the design of the bird shaped clay whistles is very similar around Eastern Europe and even coming close to this area. It is amazing to see that all this little crafts circulated and the patterns which a Romanian would consider traditional are not.

Living in this area I understood that all these little crafts need to be protected in my country so they won't be forgotten. As it is the Luxembourgish case, the bird whistles and the clay products are made only on a small scale, and I dare to say that is because giants such as Villeroy&Boch have the monopoly in this area. Also there are small potters, but they are not promoted, they sell only in little fairs around the country and they only make decorative pottery.

I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at on Facebook.

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