Diekirch, or Dikrech as it is known in Luxembourgish, is a town in the northern half of Luxembourg. It lies along the shores of the Sauer River and might be best known for the beer brand that shares its name. In addition to around 6.000 inhabitants, the town also houses the National Operational Headquarters of the Luxembourgish Army.
Our Visit to Diekirch
We visited Diekirch during our European Road Trip in 2017. Together with our, at the time, four-month-old daughter we explored countries like Belgium, France, and Germany. While staying a few days in Metz in northern France, we headed out on a day trip to Luxembourg to explore more of this small country. During the day we also made stops in towns such as Vianden, Echternach, and Esch-sur-Sûre.
A Short History
There have been archeological findings of Roman presence here before the town was mentioned in surviving sources. The Roman settlement is believed to have been abandoned in the 5th century. The name Diekirch can be translated to the “people’s church” and the town is believed to date back to the 8th century. This was when Charlemagne resettled Saxons to the area and a church was built to help in converting the Saxons to Christianity.
More recent events in the town include the crossing of the Sauer River by the US 5th Infantry Division in 1945. This took place during the Battle of the Bulge, one of the last large German offensive campaigns on the Western Front. Another even more recent event took place in 1977. This was when Diekirch got the first pedestrian zone in the whole of Luxembourg.
Things to Do and See
The town’s skyline is one with three high towers. These are the two towers of the new Saint Laurent’s Church and the single tower of the old Saint Laurent’s Church. In addition to walking along the cozy pedestrian streets of the town, maybe even enjoying the local beer at a pub, there is also the possibility to say hi to the local mascot. Yes, the town has a mascot. You will most likely encounter many depictions of donkeys while exploring Diekirch.
National Museum of Military History
The National Museum of Military History is a national museum that was established in 1984. Its main focus is on the Battle of the Bulge of 1944-45, but have also made space for the military history of Luxembourg.
The Sauer River
The Sauer River flows just south of the old town of Diekirch. The river area is a recreational area with parks and other green spaces. Two pedestrian bridges can take you across the river and there is also the larger Pont sur la Sûre that also includes motorized traffic.
Saint Laurent Church
Saint Laurent Church, the old church, is built on the foundation of an older Roman building. The church is believed to date back to the 6th or 7th century.
The old church was joined in 1867 by the decanal church, which was built on the site of a former church of the Franciscan monastery.
How to Get to Diekirch
- Flights: The closest major airport is Luxembourg Airport (LUX) to the south.
- Car: Diekirch lies just to the east of Road E421, just to the northeast of Ettelbruck.