European School, Luxembourg I

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European School, Luxembourg I
Schola Europaea
23 Boulevard Konrad Adenauer


Coordinates49°37′38″N 6°09′11″E / 49.627222°N 6.153056°E / 49.627222; 6.153056
TypeEuropean School
DirectorMartin Wedel (Germany)[1]
Age range4 to 18
Enrolment3,301[2] (2020-2021)
Student Union/AssociationThe Pupils' Committee
Sister Schools12 European Schools
DiplomaEuropean Baccalaureate

The European School, Luxembourg I (ESL1) was the first of the European Schools. It was founded in October 1953 on the initiative of officials of the European Coal and Steel Community, with the support of the Community's institutions and the government of Luxembourg. In April 1957, it formally became the first of the European Schools. Today it is located on the Kirchberg-Plateau in Luxembourg City.[3]


Boulevard de la Foire[edit]

Parents working for the European Coal and Steel Community established the school in 1953.[4] It became necessary to establish a new school when many European children from varying language backgrounds appeared.[5]

When the school was founded it was located on the premises of a former furniture shop in the Limpertsberg quarter of Luxembourg city. It initially had 72 students. The school later moved to Villa Lentz in Hollerich. In 1956 construction began on a new building, located on Boulevard de la Foire, just outside the city centre. The building was opened in 1957, on 11 December. This building today houses the language teaching centre of Luxembourg. The first students graduated in 1959; the graduating class was 23.

At a later date, the school moved to a new site on the Kirchberg plateau, another quarter of Luxembourg city. During the late 80s, the school re-used the building at Boulevard de la Foire, as an overflow school for three age groups of the primary school. Since the end of the 1990s, the old building at Boulevard de la Foire has no longer been used by the European School.


The school progressively moved to Kirchberg in the 1990s.[4] At the end of the 1990s, the grounds on Kirchberg were completely redesigned. Old buildings were demolished and new ones (e.g. a new primary school building, an extension of the secondary school building and a new theatre building) were built, though three blocks of the old Secondary school (the current A, B and C blocks) were left standing. T and L blocks were added due to high number of students. In 2012, the school relocated a large portion of students to a second European School of Luxembourg campus, situated in Mamer. 3 years after the separation, it was decided that only T block will be conserved, while L is due to be demolished.

In 2014 the Luxembourgish government signed an agreement for the European Schools to accept 100 more students in their English and French sections.[6]


As of 1999 the secondary school cycles consisted of three main sections, English, French, and German, each having two classes of students (classes A and B), while the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Greek sections only had one class of students per year each. Some students from Scandinavian countries also made up the Danish, Swedish, and Finnish sections,[7] the latter two having been the newest addition to the language sections, just opened in 1995, respectively 1999.[4] Due to their few numbers the students studied their mother tongue under special arrangements, and they shared many other classes such as Philosophy, Geography, History, and Human Science within the sections of their second language, which could be either in English, French, or German.

Some foreign students were also admitted in very rare cases, from countries that were not in the European Union at that time, but whose parents were working in Luxembourg. These included nationals from Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Bosnia, who were integrated into other language sections.

In the late 90s, the study of religion in the school was a compulsory subject, but it adhered to the Catholic Church which is the majoritarian religion in Luxembourg. For this reason many students could not opt in, therefore the school introduced the study of Ethics to students of Christian Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, and other religions.

Guinness World Records[edit]

In 2002, as part of a special program called Science Week that was presented by several teachers of different sciences (physics, biology, and chemistry), Mr. John Watson who holds a Master of Science in Biology, had organized together with the school management and almost 3,000 of its pupils, a giant human DNA in an attempt to receive an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. The DNA which is made up of four simple building blocks called nucleotides, identified by the letters A, T, C, and G, was made with the help of pupils from both primary and secondary school cycles who stepped out in the courtyard, forming two rows facing the opposite direction and extending their right arms towards each other, wearing colored paper cuffs on their forearms, which represented the four letters of the building blocks of the DNA; their left arms resting on the shoulders of the pupils in front of them.[8]

The world record for the largest human DNA helix was held in 2013 by the Hacettepe University in Turkey, with 3,034 participants, and as of 2016 it is held by the students from the Medical University of Varna in Bulgaria, with 4,000 participants.[9]


In the mid 2000s, a false bomb alert caused the closure of the school's premises in the early mornings before the start of the classes.[10] An unprecedented police presence ensued in collaboration with a special forces unit of the Luxembourgish police arriving by helicopter with bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect students' lockers. RTL, Luxembourg's main TV channel was also quick to arrive on the school grounds. Teachers from the school collaborated with the police in the first hour of their arrival to identify the perpetrator via a recording of his phone call.

The individual responsible for the incident was a student enrolled at the school. Shortly before his scheduled class, he utilized a payphone located in downtown Luxembourg to contact the school's administrative office. His intention was to avoid taking an exam scheduled for that morning. When the school failed to close immediately in response to his call, he proceeded to contact a local police department to initiate the alarm. Subsequently, the student faced disciplinary consequences, including at least a few years of expulsion from the school.

Amongst the students, there was widespread criticism about how the Luxembourgish police managed the emergency situation by landing a police helicopter on a basketball court, which was seen as reckless, given that primary school pupils were still actively playing in the area.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Board of Governors of the European Schools. "Facts and figures on the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year in the European Schools" (PDF). Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools. p. 2. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Schola Europaea". EURSC. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "European School of Luxembourg 1953-2003" (PDF). Library of the University of Latvia (archive).
  5. ^ Heusch, Albert (Luxembourg). "Die Europäische Schule in Luxemburg." Archiv des Völkerrechts, Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co. KG, 8. Bd., No. 1 (July 1959), pp. 71-86. CITED: p. 71. "Nach dem Inkrafttreten des Vertrages über die Gründung der Europäischen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl (23. Juli 1952) nahmen die Bediensteten der neuen Institution mit ihren Familien Wohnsitz in Luxemburg. Bald zeigte sich das Schulproblem in seiner ganzen Dringlichkeit. Schon aus sprachlichen Gründen kam eine allgemeine Integration aller Schüler aus fünf Nationen mit verschiedenen Muttersprachen in die luxemburgischen Unter- richtsinstitute nicht in Betracht."
  6. ^ "European Schools to accept more French and English students" (Archived 29 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine). Luxemburger Wort. Monday 19 May 2014. Retrieved on 30 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Language sections at the European School of Luxembourg" (PDF). Admissions Policy for the European Schools of Luxembourg.
  8. ^ "European School of Luxembourg Science Week (page 116)" (PDF). Library of the University of Latvia (archive) (in German).
  9. ^ "Guinness World Records for largest human DNA helix". Guinness World Records. 4 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Mention of the false bomb alert in Kirchberg, about 10 years prior". RTL (in French). Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Henk van der Zwan". Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch). 25 June 2020. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Meet Lara Heller". VoyageLA. Retrieved 11 June 2019.

External links[edit]