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Documentation Center for Human Migrations


Migration History

Established in 1996, in the Gare-Usines station that serves the “Italie” district in Dudelange, the Document Centre for Human Migrations (CDMH) is managed by a non-profit organisation. Its purpose is the study of migration in Luxembourg and in the Grande-Région, encompassing the past and the present. Focused on Luxembourg society and its diversity, it resolutely pursues these objectives, acting as an interface between heritage institutions (archives, libraries, museums), the voluntary sector, research, and the general public.

The activities of the CDMH are financed by multi-annual agreements with the Ministry of Culture and the Ville de Dudelange.

The CDMH collects archives, manages a specialist library, initiates and supports research, takes part in the dissemination of academic knowledge by all appropriate means (lectures, study days. seminars, workshops, publications, and exhibitions). The traditional “Sunday meetings” serve in particular as a framework for the discussion of scientific, literary and artistic work on the subject of migration.

The CDMH has a particular interest in the heritage associated with migration and highlights this aspect by presenting it through specific itineraries.

The implementation of the activities of CDMH depends largely on volunteer work. This is incorporated from day to day by the presence of two employees who provide the general co-ordination of activities as well as the running of the library.

The Document Centre takes part in scientific and heritage networks (archives, museums, libraries) at regional and international level on subjects relating to migration, and in particular the “Institut für Migrations- und Regionalgeschichte (IRM)” and the “Association of European Migration Institutions (AEMI)”.

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A place of history for an understanding the present

The “Italie” working-class neighbourhood, “Italien” in Luxembourgish, dates from the end of the 19th century when it grew up next to the iron and steel works in Dudelange. This was where, for the first time, the many Italian immigrants arrived on Luxembourg soil, having arrived to earn a living in the mines and factories. Most often seasonal workers, they would arrive in spring and return to their families in winter. “Italie” is a special place where Italian immigrants have gathered, but also accommodates people of many different nationalities.

From the 1880s, emigration and immigration became major factors for the economy and for society, but also for Luxembourg’s cultural identity. Before the steel and ironworks was established a number of Luxembourgers went to the Americas (the United States, Argentina, Brazil) or went to work in the neighbouring France or Belgium. The arrival of the steel and ironworks reversed this trend. Workers from neighbouring countries then began to converge upon Luxembourg from neighbouring countries (Germany, France, Belgium) or from further afield, such as from Italy.

Wedged between the factory and the mines, on the hillside, the “Italie” district is now a major place for recording the memory of migrations to the Grand-Duchy. Its typical terrace constructions are linked by a network of external steps and internal passageways.

The Gare-Usines station was built in 1897 with the railway line supplying coke and minerals for the new steel and ironworks as well as the transport of products out of the factory. It is still operating regularly, and provides access to the “Italie” district and serves the headquarters of the CDMH.

After the dismantling of the factory, the traditional inhabitants of the “Italie” district mostly left. From the 1970s there was an influx of Portuguese speakers (from Portugal, and Cape Verde), due to a labour agreement between Luxembourg and Portugal. 

Currently, the population of the district forms part of the diversity that is due to the globalisation of migratory flows.

The "Italie" district, a living museum

The purpose of the CDMH is to make known the history of the inhabitants of the “Italie” district on the context of a “museum without walls”.

This museological concept is the fruit of a series of interactive workshops run by an international group of students from the departments of architecture and urban and regional planning of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) under the direction of professor John Reynolds (1995-2005). Their work did not claim to provide immediately transposable architectural solutions but called upon a reflection on the memory of the places they were exploring. The central concept used consists of extending the museum area of the Document Centre beyond the walls of the Gare-Usines, and including the “Italie” district in a living museum. It is in this context that the CDMH regularly organises trips in the district to discover its individual architecture and its monuments. The CDMH also encourages partnerships with the inhabitants of the location, particularly through the publication of a district newspaper.

Available Offers

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Documentation Centre for Human Migrations

  • Guided tour of the "Italie" district on request
  • Exhibition about the migration history


Phone: (+352) 51 69 85

Email: info@cdmh.lu

Website: www.cdmh.lu

How to get there

Documentation Centre for Human Migrations


L-3481 Dudelange

By car

Motorway A3, direction France, exit 3 Dudelange, follow signs to train station

Free parking available

By train

Train line 60a direction Volmerange-les-Mines, exit "Dudelange Gare-Usines"


Opening Hours

Mon 09.30 - 16.30

Tue 09.30 - 16.30

Wed 09.30 - 16.30

Thu 09.30 - 16.30

Fri closed

Sat closed

Sun closed

Please always check opening hours before your visit