Medieval legends about a legendary figure known as the melusine or melusina can be found throughout Europe, from Germany to Albania. Similar to a water elemental or fairy, the melusine is typically depicted as a mermaid, sometimes with a dragon’s tail from the waist down.
In Luxembourg, legend has it that Count Siegfried, who founded the city of Luxembourg in 963, married one of the legendary creatures. After hearing the singing of a beautiful maiden, Siegfried was entranced. The maiden agreed to marry the Count as long as she was allowed to be left alone every Saturday. The morning after their wedding, a castle, known as Lucilinburhuc, magically appeared on Bock, an area in the northeastern corner of Luxembourg City’s historic district. Eventually, after the pair had seven children, curiosity got the better of Siegfried. He snuck in and took a peek at his wife while she bathed through the keyhole.
Siegfried saw his wife combing her long hair in a tub of water, but when he looked down at her legs, he say they were replaced with a long serpent’s tail. In an instant, she was gone, disappearing into the depths of the Alzette river. Since then, it has been said that melusine returns every seven years in human form to seek redemption. Another version of the story says she holds a key, and that she can only leave the river if the key is taken from her.
If you take a walk along the Alzette, you may find a magenta, polygonal statue of the mythic mermaid seated on the bank. Local artist Serge Ecker created the statue in 2015, utilizing 3D printing, to belatedly celebrate the country’s 105th anniversary. The statue was also featured on the commemorative 10-Euro gold coin issued in 2021 for a limited number of 1,500.