Over 800 Americans have applied for Luxembourg Dual Citizenship. Luxembourg national TV broadcaster RTL came to America to find out why. The following is the personal story of LuxCitizenship Founder Daniel Atz on participating in the television special in Luxembourg “More and More Americans Want to Become Luxembourgish”
Back in late June, I got a call from the Consulate-General of Luxembourg in New York informing me that I had been selected by the consular team to participate in a national TV report in Luxembourg about Americans taking on Luxembourg dual citizenship. The call certainly caught me off guard and was a major honor.
Over the following weeks, I communicated back and forth with a TV production crew in Luxembourg working for the national radio and television broadcaster RTL. The producer told me that she understood from talking to me and the team at the Consulate-General in New York that I was very passionate about the Grand Duchy, but she didn’t know how to translate that into good TV. Once again, I was caught off guard.
My great-grandmother from Luxembourg passed away four years before I was born. I wasn’t raised in a home that had any “Luxembourgish traditions” in particular that I could think of. I read the news from Luxembourg every day, talk about Luxembourg a lot, and have a room full of trinkets from the motherland – but I understand good and well none of that would make great TV.
Finally, the producer Raphaëlle Dickes had a stroke of genius, “do you know how to cook?” she asked me. That I could do. Fast forward a few weeks, my trusty Ketty Thull Luxembourgish cooking book in hand, it was the night before the taping of the production and I was collecting all the ingredients for one of Luxembourg’s national dishes called Bouneschlupp, a soup made of string beans, celery root and potatoes garnished with sour cream, smoked sausages and bacon.
The day of the shoot in mid-August it was raining cats and dogs with high humidity in New York, putting a big damper on our plans for the day. As you can see in the video link below, I met the team at my office at the start of the day. There I had my first real “Luxembourgish” lesson with the RTL producer Raphaëlle Dickes. I am a pretty fluent Chinese speaker and French is my second language, but I have to say pronouncing Luxembourgish is very hard. After recording throughout my office, we headed out into gridlocked Manhattan traffic on our way to a friend’s home in Ridgewood, Queens.
We shot the cooking scenes in my friend Jeff Sturdivant’s kitchen. Jeff is a former roommate of mine and actually was the person who suggested that I look into dual citizenship in Luxembourg after he spent a few days working in the country in 2012. The RTL team thought it was all the more meaningful that it was in his kitchen that we shot the video.
What ensued was 4 hours of intensely cooking a Luxembourgish winter food, indoors with four people in a tiny New York kitchen cooled by limited AC in 95 degree, humid weather out. I am not sure if the video communicates how sweaty I was.
One of the hardest parts of the day was getting all the ingredients out of the fridge in the same order 9 different times in order to record 9 different angles of the same thing.
While the soup simmered, I had the opportunity to speak about my great grandmother Marguerite Cruchten who came to the USA after World War 1 with my American soldier great-grandfather and the huge impact she had on my whole family for generations to come.
In the end, this experience was incredibly meaningful to me and was one of the funniest moments in my life. On top of that, both the Americans and Luxembourgers said that they were very impressed with the Bouneschlupp – although the Luxembourgers thought it was strange that I cooked the bacon before cutting it up.
I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to share on TV in her native country the story of my great-grandmother who has in turn given me so many opportunities as a Luxembourger, for the opportunity to share my own story and the possibility to share more about Luxembourg with friends and family who have since seen the video.
I hope that unexpected opportunities like this come up for all my clients that venture into “the unknown” by opening the door to Luxembourg citizenship.
A special thanks goes out to the team at the Consulate General and the crew from RTL for arranging this, as well as congrats to fellow New Yorker Lisa Wilkie who was also featured in the video.
To view the video about Americans with Luxembourg dual citizenship as broadcast on RTL’s De Grand Journal, please visit http://tele.rtl.lu/emissiounen/de-magazin/archiv/3106143.html
For an article in French on the TV show, please visit http://5minutes.rtl.lu/grande-region/laune/1087490.html