The history of the Aarnescht


The Aarnescht in the past


Once Euro­pean black pines were plant­ed for con­struc­tion pur­pose in the mines.

The “Aar­nescht” belongs to the old cul­ti­vat­ed land­scape of once in the com­mu­ni­ty of Nieder­an­ven. Since ever the region has been farmed inten­sive­ly as well in agri­cul­ture as forestry. In the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry grain had been cul­ti­vat­ed there and it is said that the oat fields there had to get reduced because its bad qual­i­ty. Lat­er on the Aar­nescht served as pastures.

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Exten­sive agri­cul­ture had once been run on the Aarnescht
(oat fields and pastures).

From 1920 to 1930, the locals from Ober­an­ven lead their pigs on the Aar­nescht and a man from Ramel­dan­ge always came with his goats. In the thir­ties and for­ties the cows of the farm­ers from Ober­an­ven came there to graze. Since about 30 years no agri­cul­tur­al activ­i­ty is run on the the pro­tect­ed zone of the Aarnescht.


The vine­yards are still shown on the “Hansen Map” of 1905.

The “Hansen Map” of the year 1905 even indi­cates the Aar­nescht as being also a ground of vine­yard. Small vine­yards of about 2ha had been installed and run on the dry south slopes, cod­dled by the sun.

A small part of the site has also been used for forestry. Horn­beam and oak woods were tak­en for fire­wood by the cop­pice-with-stan­dards sys­tem. The old and high oaks were left for a lat­er use in con­struc­tion. After the deser­va­tion of agri­cul­ture, Euro­pean black pines were plant­ed on the fal­lowed land and their wood had been used lat­er in the mines.

The Aarnescht today and its importance in nature protection

Thanks to an inter­ac­tion between human inter­ven­tion and the nat­ur­al pre­dis­po­si­tions on the site, a rare and pre­cious biotope could be cre­at­ed (one of the most impor­tant on the nation­al lev­el). But that has not always been like this.


Pro­fes­sor Leopold Reich­ling, also called “the explorato­ry of the Aar­nescht”, when he received the award “Mérite cul­turel” by the Munic­i­pal­i­ty of Niederanven.

The pro­fes­sor Leopold Reich­ling report­ed that in the ear­ly fifties of the 20th” cen­tu­ry there were only few rare flo­ra spec­i­mens to be found on the Aar­nescht. The site only gained of sci­en­tif­ic impor­tance in the sev­en­ties, when the pro­fes­sors Marie-Josée Wegen­er and Leopold Reich­ling pub­lished anoth­er report about the Aar­nescht say­ing that many rare species of fau­na and flo­ra could then be found. The nation­al Admin­is­tra­tion of Waters and Forests decid­ed here­upon to declare the Aar­nescht a pro­tect­ed zone, which had been inte­grat­ed into the gen­er­al devel­op­ment map of Nieder­an­ven in 1978. In 1986 then the site had been offi­cial­ly declared as being a nation­al Nat­ur­al Reserve. A for­mal reg­u­la­tion of the Grand-Duke on this sub­ject had been released on the 1st of Feb­ru­ary 1988.

Special events on the Aarnescht

Some pre­cise events will always stay in the mem­o­ry of the locals, so proud­ly stick­ing to their Aar­nescht. Some tell about lit­tle and big fires; anoth­er sto­ry tells about a desert­er, hid­ing there in the bush­es in 1944.