As soon as you enter Village limits, you are greeted with a sign boasting, “Village of Belgium, Home of Luxembourgers,” but did you know that Belgium is also home to an international Luxembourgish society boasting more members than the Village of Belgium has residents?
The Luxembourg American Cultural Society (LACS), which just reopened June 1st, is a nonprofit, international membership society started back in 2004 to preserve the “roots” of Luxembourg heritage in America and nurture the “leaves” of continued relationships between Luxembourg and the United States. It supports a membership of over 3,000 from throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America.
The LACS executes a number of events and services to educate others on what it means to be a Luxembourger and to maintain the strong ties between Luxembourg and America. Since its inception, it has helped over 1,000 Luxembourg-Americans obtain their Luxembourg dual citizenship.
It also facilitates a Luxembourg language class for its members, and hosts public events such as Luxembourg beer and wine gardens, which are hosted in the beautiful gardens behind the center. The next tentatively scheduled beer garden is Saturday, September 12th.
The flagship event put on by the LACS is Luxembourg Fest Week. This week of fun Luxembourgish events includes a cultural conference, membership meeting, the Green Heart Gala (the LACS’s annual fundraising event), and Luxembourg Fest. Traditionally taking place the second weekend in August, most of this year's Fest week activities have been altered due to the virus, with the Cultural Conference becoming a webinar and many events postponed to later this year or 2021.
However, in lieu of the Green Heart Gala, the LACS is proud to announce it will be hosting a virtual benefit concert to celebrate Luxembourg’s National Day on Tuesday, June 23rd. “Live from Luxembourg: A Virtual Benefit Concert Featuring Zero Point Five,” features a popular Luxembourg Band, whose pop/folk/Celtic/country sound has been compared to Mumford and Sons and the Zac Brown Band. It will premiere on lacs.lu. There is no charge to listen to the concert, but donations are gratefully being accepted. It is the hope that Zero Point Five will be able to perform live at Luxembourg Fest 2021.
To further celebrate National Day, the LACS is selling National Day party kits, and will be involving local businesses for local listeners looking to celebrate with authentic Luxembourgish food and drinks.
“A year like this provides great opportunities to try new things,” says LACS Operations Director Sara Jacoby. “Zero Point Five is a phenomenal band and a virtual concert with them will be a great way to celebrate Luxembourg’s National Day together with listeners from all over the world. We hope you’ll all join us for this fun evening of live music, right in your own living room.”
The hub of the LACS is the Luxembourg American Cultural Center, built in Belgium’s Village Square in 2009 as a collaborative effort between the LACS, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture, and the Roots and Leaves Society. An impressive building demonstrating the beauty of merging old with new, as frequently seen in modern Luxembourg architecture, the facility is showcased by the 1872-built Mamer-Hansen stone barn, which was moved from its original location on County Highway KW to its new home at 100 Peter Thein Avenue.
The barn now houses the Roots and Leaves Museum, which tells the story of Luxembourg immigration to America and explains the history of the Grand Duchy. The center also is home to the Dooley-Wagner Research Center, which is not only the largest research library for Luxembourg and Luxembourg-American History in North America, but contains an impressive amount of genealogical information about Ozaukee County families of all cultural backgrounds. The JB Krier Welcome Center, Acuity temporary exhibit area, and a gift shop round out the center’s offerings.
Much of the LACC (excluding the Roots and Leaves museum) was just beautifully renovated this past winter (see video linked below), with the newly reopened facility having to close due to the coronavirus just a couple weeks after re-opening in March.
“We’re really pleased with how our renovations turned out and are excited to finally be able to reopen the doors (again) and safely welcome guests back to visit,” says LACS Executive Director Patricia Lutz.
The doors are now open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with a variety of safety precautions in place. Guests will be welcomed in by appointment only to ensure only a limited number of people are in the building at once. The Dooley-Wagner Research Center will not be reopening immediately but the LACS does offer research services to those looking for information in the meantime.