Is wild camping prohibited in Luxembourg? A brief internet search leads one to believe: Yes, generally speaking, it is. But this little word "generally" raises the question: "Does that mean it is sometimes allowed?" Join the Journal as it searches for a loophole in the law and tries to answer the question of whether wild camping is in fact really forbidden in the Grand Duchy.
Those who want to camp in the wild with a clear conscience generally look towards the north-east: Scandinavia is considered the place to go for anyone seeking unfiltered, fresh camping air, far away from campsites. Western and central European countries generally prohibit camping in the great outdoors, even if it is sometimes “tolerated”, as long the campers exhibit respectful behaviour towards nature. So, apparently, does Luxembourg. At least that is the impression one gets when superficially searching for regulations: “Generally prohibited”, most sources write with reference to the country's numerous campsites, which one is supposed to visit instead. Now “generally” is a highly unsatisfactory word that invites questioning. For it implies: “Sometimes it may be allowed.”
The first stop on this journey of discovery into the unknown is the Camping Act of 1957. It turns out to be of little help for our question, but will come up repeatedly. The text describes regulations around public campsites in great detail, but “camping” as an activity itself comes up short: “ Pour camper sur tous terrains privés, autres que ceux qui sont visés par la présente loi, il faut la permission du propriétaire, de la personne qui en a la jouissance ou de son représentant. La permission peut être tacite.” In short, anyone who wants to camp on private property needs permission to do so. (There is a fine of 50 to 500 Luxembourg francs and/or 1to 7days in prison). However, camping in public forest outside a campsite, which covers about half of the country's forests, is not mentioned at all. So any possible prohibitions seem to be hidden elsewhere. Only where, is the question?
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The search for the wild camp ban
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