The first day of the Concours Mondial was rounded off by a walking tour of the ancient fortress city founded over a millennium ago in the armpit formed by France, Germany and Belgium, a country which no longer exists (the EU is the only functioning government in Brussels) and seems no worse for it – a symbol for the rest of the world, perhaps. But what a luxurious armpit it is: soft, leafy and green, like the set for The Hobbit. In fact the whole country looks like Euro-Disney with less parking.
The only bits that prickle are the public art of towering American supernova like Frank Stella (a pile of steel junk called Sarreguemines outside the former German Hypo bank, now owned by Italians, a perfect metaphor for Europe at the minute) and seven upended steel plates from Richard Serra in the middle of a traffic island. Looks like American avant garde gave Luxembourg a job lot discount. Quite a contrast to the knobbly bronze cats of Dylan Lewis that pass for public art in SA.
SA does wildlife in the same way that Luxembourg does banks. And just like criminals poach rhinos, banksters poach banks, now on the red list at 150, down from 230 in the free spending safaris of only a few years ago. The banks are all clustered on top of Cherry Hill (Kirschberg, sic! see comments) cheek-by-jowl with social housing that is so middleclass, you wouldn’t know it. Now why can’t squatter camps look so suburban?