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HomeDisabilityAward-Profitable Entry in Luxembourg - New Mobility

Award-Profitable Entry in Luxembourg – New Mobility

woman in wheelchair on train platform
Yates loved utilizing Luxembourg Metropolis’s accessible tram to discover
the scenic capital’s mixture of previous and new structure.

In 2010, the European Fee created the Entry Metropolis Award to have a good time cities which might be devoted to enhancing the accessibility of on a regular basis life for his or her disabled residents and guests. Born and raised within the U.Ok. and proud to name myself a European for many of my life (thanks, Brexit), I’ve been conscious of and intrigued by the Entry Metropolis Award for a number of years. In October, I made a decision to expertise what an Entry Metropolis Award winner presents and booked a visit to Luxembourg Metropolis, the 2022 winner.

Luxembourg Metropolis is the capital of Luxembourg and residential to simply over 124,000 inhabitants of 165 completely different nationalities. Town is constructed on two ranges with a maze of tree-lined streets, landmarks, upscale cafes and museums on the higher plateau of the fortified previous city and extra houses, parks, canals, full of life eating places and bars alongside the plush decrease valley.

aerial scenic view of old town in Luxembourg

After making use of for the Entry Metropolis Award yearly, solely to earn a particular point out in 2015 and third place in 2018, Luxembourg Metropolis lastly took prime honors in 2022. The European Fee recommended town for making certain inclusion is a “bedrock” of all its city planning and offering free public transport that promotes step-free entry and homes digital shows with text-to-speech capabilities for each audio and visible accessibility. Moreover, Luxembourg Metropolis was celebrated for involving disabled stakeholders in decision-making processes by way of common session and by making certain that town’s political conferences are interpreted in signal language and inclusively transcribed. 

“The Entry Metropolis Award acknowledges cities that middle incapacity and frequently higher their method to inclusion and sustainable innovation.”

artistic lobby with painted ceiling

It’s necessary to grasp that the Entry Metropolis Award doesn’t merely acknowledge Europe’s “most accessible metropolis.” As a substitute, it honors cities that frequently higher their method to inclusion, current sustainable innovation and/or put session with those that have lived expertise of incapacity on the coronary heart of their efforts. It covers all the pieces from the constructed setting, transportation, public services and companies to modern digital platforms. With roughly 87 million disabled individuals dwelling within the European Union, options must also have a pandisability method, serving these with bodily, sensory and cognitive impairments, whether or not seen or nonvisible, everlasting, momentary or situational. In brief, the Entry Metropolis Award encourages an annual stocktaking of accessibility measures and promotes the sharing of concepts, experiences and efforts between cities to create a extra equitable Europe for all.

Firsthand Analysis

Upon arriving in Luxembourg Metropolis, I used to be struck by how quintessentially European it’s: I used to be surrounded by charming views from the central Place d’Armes, inexperienced areas resembling Parc Dräi Eechelen inspired barely deeper breaths, and the ornate infrastructure of the Grand Ducal Palace made town really feel like one thing out of a fairytale. After all, in true European trend, there was additionally rain. Quite a lot of rain. 

However there have been different facets that instantly set Luxembourg Metropolis aside from anyplace I’d ever been earlier than. It was splendidly clear to the purpose that my arms didn’t as soon as decide up filth from pushing my wheelchair. I famous a grand complete of two items of litter all through a five-night keep. (I’m not fairly as boring as I’ve simply made myself sound.) However even higher was the cocoon of security that Luxembourg Metropolis appears to wrap round its residents and guests. Persons are variety, navigation is simple, and the entire expertise simply felt extremely good from begin to end. 

Behind the Award

Whereas in Luxembourg Metropolis, I used to be lucky sufficient to satisfy with Nico Bevilacqua and Madeleine Kayser from town’s equal of incapacity companies, together with Yannick Breuer, accessibility coordinator for Information-Handicap, a nationwide umbrella group offering a central hub of knowledge and neighborhood for disabled individuals inside Luxembourg. All three emphasised that town’s success within the Entry Metropolis Awards stems from collaboration between departments and companion organizations striving to supply options not only for residents or wheelchair customers, but additionally for vacationers and people with various sensory, cognitive and nonvisible impairments. “It’s a prize for everybody,” says Kayser, “together with our companions and others in the neighborhood. Nobody will get anyplace working solely in a nook. Collaboration and suggestions helped us to win.” 

woman in wheelchair overlooking city from an exterior elevator with glass walls on 3 sides
The view from the Pfaffenthal Panoramic Elevator is a must-see.

Bevilacqua says the ethos of these working towards the award and persevering with to enhance accessibility within the metropolis is that “everybody has a particular want of some variety, even those that aren’t disabled” and that society turns into a way more inclusive place when this isn’t merely understood however celebrated. 

Whereas the pandemic has slowed additional enhancements in the interim, Bevilacqua sees a silver lining in the best way the pandemic created a broader social understanding of what isolation looks like. He hopes this will drive future inclusion and accessibility efforts. When requested what’s subsequent for town and its accessibility journey, Breuer shares his pleasure that there’s to be a brand new countrywide legislation instated in 2023 that makes it obligatory for each new private and non-private constructing to supply accessibility options, one thing that Information-Handicap and different organizations have “fought a very long time for.” Kayser and workforce are additionally eager to make the most of expertise additional, offering equitable digital experiences when bodily areas can’t.

12 months after yr, inclusive enhancements have been made in Luxembourg Metropolis. Bevilacqua, Kayser and Breuer, amongst many others, need to make much more, acknowledging that accessibility is a journey that by no means ends. This, to me, is the epitome of what the Entry Metropolis Awards are about and makes Luxembourg Metropolis a very deserving winner. The group I interviewed shared with me that the goal of Luxembourg’s Vacationer Workplace is for the entire nation to change into “probably the most comfy place in Europe.” That consolation is exactly the cocoon of security that I felt all through my journey, and that I’ve by no means fairly felt anyplace else. 

Skellefteå, Sweden, was introduced on November 25 because the Entry Metropolis Award winner for 2023.

Proceed Studying

The native iteration of worldwide lodge chain Mama Shelter was our home-away-from-home for the journey — and becoming as I’d introduced my mum together with me for the journey. Vibrant and youthful in each its decor and atmosphere, this lodge is a five-minute drive from Luxembourg Airport and simply 5 tram stops away from town middle, with the Philharmonie Luxembourg cease straight throughout the street from the lodge. The lodge entrance is step-free, there’s elevator entry all through, and we stayed in a big, accessible room with a moist room. Moreover, I’m pleased to report that there’s not a sniff of medical performance in the entire property, a pleasing change from many accessible rooms that I, and little question you, have stayed in. Anticipate free in-room films, a fairy-light-ladened rooftop bar, and wonderful pizza and cocktails in a floor ground restaurant with a brick-a-brack vibe and avenue artwork murals protecting the ceiling. A weekly resident DJ makes Mama Shelter an after-work drinks selection for a lot of locals.

woman in wheelchair pictured behind a circular sculpture with opening in the middle
There are panoramic views and sculptures on the rooftop of the Lëtzebuerg Metropolis Museum.

Subsequent door to the lodge is Infinity, a small procuring hub of magnificence, health and restaurant choices. Each flooring are accessible by way of elevator, and there’s additionally a well-kitted-out grocery store for snack provides. Golden Bean is a stunning espresso store and coworking house with wood desks and a gathering room on the bottom ground for individuals who must work throughout their journey.

tall shot of woman in wheelchair outside looking up at external elevator

One of many accessibility gems of Luxembourg Metropolis needs to be its tram service, with a complete of 17 stops connecting the Luxexpo switch hub to Luxembourg Central Station and past. There are plans for the road to increase additional within the coming years, connecting the airport to the route. Entry between platform and door is step-free with a minimal hole, selling autonomy and independence for all. The trams themselves have ample room and prioritized areas for wheelchair customers, and I by no means needed to wait longer than 5 minutes for the following one. Better of all? The entire service is freed from cost for locals and guests alike.

There are many sights value seeing, however three to not be missed are the Letzebuerg Metropolis Museum, Pfaffenthal Panoramic Elevator and town’s personal Notre-Dame Cathedral. Letzebuerg Metropolis Museum is free for disabled guests and their companions and filled with artifacts and data detailing the historical past of Luxembourg Metropolis. Whereas attending to the doorway by way of a steep, cobbled avenue proved notably tough, particularly within the rain, accessibility measures inside had been spectacular. A mesmerizing glass elevator constructed into the previous constructing’s construction takes a whopping 60 guests to all exhibition flooring and the museum’s rooftop for panoramic views of town under. The combination of contemporary structure inside previous stone partitions solely provides to the great thing about the expertise. The 55-foot panoramic portray of town middle in 1655 by Antoine Fontaine is definitely worth the go to. A number of tactile maps and objects are additionally out there all through the museum for these with visible impairments.

Holding with cool elevators, the Pfaffenthal Panoramic Elevator is without doubt one of the metropolis’s most spectacular and accessible sights. It connects town middle to the Pfaffenthal quarter within the Alzette Valley under, providing beautiful views from 200 ft above floor stage. The elevator is free, and there’s step-free entry all through the construction with an accessible bathroom offered at floor stage. Sadly, the decrease, valley stage of town is filled with flattened cobblestones, that are extremely lovely however not very wheelchair-friendly. Luxembourg Metropolis’s funicular is one other free and accessible technique to get from Pfaffenthal to the bottom of town.

picturesque shot of the the Alzette River
The Alzette River

Lastly, the step-free entry and powered door entrance offered at Notre-Dame Cathedral made it a very welcoming setting for quiet reflection. Entry is free, and a self-guided audio tour of the beautiful structure is offered to obtain.

There are various different sights value seeing in Luxembourg Metropolis. The Cercle Cite, or “metropolis corridor” of types, instructions its place on the prime of the Place d’Armes sq. and features a library, vacationer info and the Ratskeller — an exhibition hub with artwork, pictures and movies altering each quarter. The Cercle Cite additionally homes an accessible public bathroom, value noting to be used when within the metropolis middle. 

woman smiling at camera in a decorative pastry shop with large hanging chandeliers
Having fun with macarons and dessert delights in Laduree.

For some luxurious procuring in an accessible setting, go to Galeries Lafayette, a six-floor division retailer catering to all magnificence, clothes and accent wants. If breathtaking views or unimaginable structure are your factor, take a stroll both on or beneath Pont Adolphe, a double-decked arched bridge with a step-free suspended bicycle and pedestrian pathway that connects customers to various components of town. A brief distance away from Mama Shelter, you’ll discover Mudam, Luxembourg’s up to date artwork museum. Inside, it’s gentle, trendy and spacious — actually a wheelchair person’s dream. There’s an accessible bathroom, museum cafe and a few attention-grabbing visible and sonic exhibitions, permitting guests to really feel immersed in an expertise, whether or not it’s “flying” by way of a derelict metropolis or marveling on the energy of on a regular basis objects. I actually loved participating with Tarek Atoui’s “Waters’ Witness” exhibition, which captures the sounds of port cities. The doorway price is 8 euros per grownup. 

fancy pastry shop display

Whereas the help service on arrival at Luxembourg Airport was the smoothest and speediest I’d ever skilled, and I managed to navigate town middle streets independently on account of wonderful dropped curbs, town isn’t with out its accessibility challenges. Loads of cobbles (though comparatively flattened) could be discovered within the metropolis middle and previous city, and discovering a restaurant or cafe with each step-free entry and an accessible bathroom was practically inconceivable. That’s, after all, until I wished to eat on the similar predictable fast-food chains that may be discovered worldwide. We did, nonetheless, actually get pleasure from our time at Bazaar, a bar and restaurant reverse the Grand Ducal Palace that has mastered the proper mixture of a high-end institution with a warming welcome. And I can extremely commend the well-known Laduree pastry store for providing step-free entry, an accessible bathroom and the tastiest mixture of scorching chocolate and macarons I’ve ever had. 



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