Woodland management and authorizations


Until the begin­ning of the indus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, tim­ber was the most impor­tant com­mod­i­ty, used in many dif­fer­ent domains.

Production of wood charcoal

09_SB_RV (5)The char­coal pro­duc­tion sup­plied the forges and met­al­lur­gi­cal plants. Already the met­al­lur­gi­cal site of Dom­mel­dan­ge need­ed for itself about 6000 steres of tim­ber per year. In a doc­u­ment, addressed to the Cham­bre des Comptes in the year 1740, a com­plaint was for­mu­lat­ed because there was appar­ent­ly no tim­ber wood any­more left in the Grünewald. All the wood had been used as fire­wood or trans­formed into char­coal. It is only in 1865, when the coke began to replace the char­coal, that the exces­sive exploita­tion of the Grünewald took an end.

Timber and firewood

07_GW_GN (2)Not only the con­struc­tion of the Lux­em­bourg fortress but also its exploita­tion need­ed huge quan­ti­ties of fire­wood and tim­ber and for a cer­tain time the Grünewald had only been used for the sup­ply in fire­wood purpose.

Potash factory

07_GW_GN (7)The potash man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­duced the potash as ingre­di­ent of soap and glass.

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Dur­ing cen­turies the Grünewald was the main sup­pli­er in firewood.

The mas­sive wastage of wood asked for an ear­ly and pre­cise sched­ul­ing of for­est man­age­ment. Already in the Mid­dle Ages they tried to slow down the wild exploita­tion of the forests. In 1617 an edict with 125 dif­fer­ent sub­jects about for­est use and autho­riza­tions man­age­ment in our region was issued by the Dutch/Spanish sov­er­eigns, the Arch­duke Albert and the Arch­duchess Isabel­la. The strat­e­gy of tim­ber sup­ply let to a def­i­nite­ly reg­u­lar forestry sys­tem with the prin­ci­ple of sus­tain­abil­i­ty, still valid nowadays.

Permissions to collect the wood

07_GW_GN (6)Dur­ing cen­tu­ries the mon­archs own­ing the Grü­ne­wald had the right to exploit the wood, lat­er they gran­ted these same rights to their sub­jects by the so-​called per­mis­si­ons to col­lect the wood.

Alre­ady in the year 1270, count Hen­ri V gran­ted to the monas­tery of the “Saint Esprit de Luxem­bourg” the right to remove every day the wind­fall of his pro­perty Ande­vane, by means of a one horse-​drawn cart. On August 13th, 1320, Jean the Blind gran­ted to the order of the Cler­gy­men as well as to the order of the Fran­cis­cans, but this at an unk­nown date, per­mis­si­ons to col­lect the wood in the Grünewald.

Per­mis­si­ons to col­lect the wood were also deli­ve­red to the monas­tery of the “Saint Esprit de Luxem­bourg” (22.11.1384), to the abbey of Müns­ter (21.05.1398), to the Order of Fri­ars Minor (in 16.10.1473), to the inha­bi­tants of Luxem­bourg, Hol­le­rich and Bon­ne­voie (in 14.12.1480) and to the order of the Jesuits (in 06.09.1609).

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The last inscrip­tion about the usage rights of the Anwen Farm in the Grünewald can be found in the “Sen­tence Royale” dat­ed 7 Novem­ber 1735. But already in 1362 those rights were reg­u­lat­ed by the “Weis­tum” of the Anwen Farm.

In the “Roy­al Judg­ment” of Novem­ber 7th, 1735 per­mis­sion to exploit pas­tu­res and to col­lect fire­wood was gran­ted to the court Anwen. But the deva­s­ta­tion in the forests con­stantly gave rise to com­plaints. This is why Fer­di­nand d’Espagne, bro­ther of the king of Spain Phil­ippe IV, orde­red Janu­ary 18th, 1638, to end the rights of monas­te­ries as well as of all aut­ho­ri­zed peo­ple in the Grü­ne­wald because the for­est was being destroyed.

Under the Aus­trian reign, the arch­du­ch­ess Marie-​Thérèse orde­red to the Minis­ter Mar­quis de Bot­ta to make an ana­ly­sis of the state of its forests. She tried to obtain in this way an impro­ve­ment in natio­nal forests “because these suf­fe­red a lot from an exces­sive exploi­ta­tion and from a fail­ure to respect the laws “.

Until the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury, the per­mis­si­ons to col­lect wood were impor­tant in the Grü­ne­wald and were liqui­da­ted lit­tle by lit­tle by refunds in the shape of mon­ey or of grounds. So, in the year 1846, the muni­ci­pa­li­ties of Nie­der­an­ven, Stein­sel and Eich infor­med the govern­ment that they were incli­ned to trans­fer their rights in natio­nal forests for the price of 50-​franc ha. On Janu­ary 25th, 1847, this offer was accep­ted by the govern­ment and gran­ted by the king-​grand duke.