© Pulsa Pictures_ORT Sud

A part of nature

The biosphere reserve Minett Unesco Biosphere is a part of the international UNESCO MAB network counting 738 members

The biosphere reserve "Minett UNESCO Biosphere"

In October of 2020, the Minett region became a biosphere reserve recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Luxembourg is now part of the scientific MAB programme which was first established in the 1970s. In early 2020, the total number of biosphere reserves was up to 701, spanning 124 countries. Thanks to a global network, they are able to exchange and share their experiences and skills. The Minett Region is proud to be a part of the vast network of - at this stage in 2023 - a total of 738 different registered biosphere reserves.

To be internationally recognised as a biosphere reserve, territories must have features that demonstrate the impact humans have on nature. These sites are used to test and develop methods that reduce the impact of socioeconomic activity on the environment and inspire collective action. By experimenting with new modes of regional management, biosphere reserves aim to redress the balance between humans and nature.

The Minett UNESCO Biosphere shows the impact humans have on nature and the resurgence of nature in areas shaped by humans. As a region forged by industrial activity, the extraction of the iron ore an its subsequent abandonment left their mark on the landscape. The region’s architecture, wastelands, mines and immigration reflects this. Today, the densely populated territory has recovered its biodiversity, features historical heritage in need of preservation and is the site of important urban renovation projects.

The Minett Trail - many years in the Making

As part of the candidature for the adherence to the UNESCO Biosphere programme, an idea was born: A regional trail, connecting all the important cities, hubs and historical sites of the region into one singular stretch of hiking trails. Relaying and connecting the existing network of footpaths criss-crossing the vast expanses of the nature reserves, the "Minett Trail" was to allow its visitors to experience the unique Minett region - both from a new point of view, or for the very first time. Its goal: Highlight the common identity of an always-changing region.

In order to mark the new common identity of a region, the Minett Trail should act as a beacon product; together with the UNESCO label, the Trail should put the Minett Region on the map of quality european tourism destinations. An emblematic project that combines natural attractions, industrial history and future-oriented activities…. accompanied by a start in the historical year of 2022, when the entire region acted as the European Capital of Culture in Esch 2022.

The "Minett Trail" and its different stages were created with one simple goal in mind: Connecting and promoting the existing hiking trail infrastructure of the old iron ore exploitation and industrial hub region in the south of Luxembourg. To this end, the large network of existing trails was carefully reimagined as a regional, multi-stage hiking trail connecting all of the major cities and towns of the region and reinforcing their common heritage. 

© Pulsa Pictures_ORT Sud

Work started at the beginning of 2017 within the framework of the candidature project for the UNESCO's "Man and the Biosphere" program, with idea exchanges and preliminary works of research being conducted. Together with the community of southern communes Pro-Sud, the submission to adhere to the MAB program was handed in in September 2019.

It immediately became obvious to evaluate and improve the existing network of trails and paths that have already been used by hikers and mountainbikers. This existing infrastructure, criss-crossing all throughout the nature reserves and former mining areas of the region, would not be replaced or changed, but rather revalued and their variety valorized. A goal that immediately crystallized was the creation of a group of different hiking huts, welcoming new guests to their region, well situated all along the course of the trail and existing well beyond 2022, forming the basis of a new, long-term, sustainable accomodation model - these became the "Kabaisercher" of today.

You'll be able to traverse former open-pit mining areas, discover how the industrial past has shaped the region to this day and see with your own eyes how nature has long since reclaimed what was forcefully taken from it. The disused mining areas have become diverse nature reserves with a fresh air of life. 

The Minett region and its rich history are on full display throughout the different stages of the "Minett Trail". If you want to find out more about its history, why not book one of our guided tours and get accompanied by a trained guide?

Hungry for more?