Lex Krieps was born in Guildford, England in 1946. Why in England? Because his mother – a native of Ireland – felt comfortable giving birth to her three children there. Even though a year earlier she had gone to live with her husband – the Resistance member, officer and later minister Emile Krieps – to Luxembourg. That is why Lex’s passport says AlexandER and not AlexandRE.
The family lived in the capital. Lex played handball for ‘Standard Bonnevoie’, but mainly football for the Red Boys Differdingen. When Luxembourg played against Denmark in the 1964 European Championship in Amsterdam, his father even wrote him an excuse to travel with him to the Netherlands.
English and Luxembourgish were spoken at home. The family had lived in Belair since 1950. Lex had a great youth: “We played a lot, we shook cherries from the trees at Petrusse and rode bicycles a lot. It was the time of Charly Gaul.” Lex makes his ‘Premiere C classique’ at the Athenaeum in Luxembourg.
On television he sees reports by Pierre Lazareff and Igor Barrère on medicine. This fascinated Lex so much that he goes to Montpellier to study medicine. It was a time of great change in medicine. At that time, friend and brother-in-law Carlo Bock, Jean Bisdorff, Jean Beissel and Bob Steinmetzer were also studying in Montpellier. Those were good years. Lex and his friends work a lot, but they also enjoy themselves.
46 years in the railway station district
In 1975, Lex set up as a general practitioner in the railway station district of Luxembourg City. In the beginning, he also lived there. In the end, he worked in his practice for 46 years.
“In the first years I made many house calls, those were long days. I also went out at night to issue death certificates at Petrusse…” During this time, Lex built a good reputation among expats who were about to come to the country. He takes a more pragmatic view of the problems in the railway station district.
“There are more drugs in general. Other centres like Esch or Ettelbrück have been reluctant to provide the necessary facilities for drug addicts. Street prostitution came when the brothels were closed.
It is just a railway station district, with all its advantages and disadvantages!
Not to be confused with Charly’s Gare.” 😉
On 13 December 1999, Lex gave his first speech as a Liberal MP at the ‘Krautmaart’. In 2018 he did not run again in the general election. He remembers those years fondly: “I got on well with almost everyone.” In the municipality of Contern – where he raised three of his children with his wife Mieke – he also served briefly on the municipal council.
Lex’s areas of responsibility have always been health and work. The general practitioner has very clear principles: “Public health is fundamental to our country. I reject the attempt to take any part of it out of the public sector.” He is also concerned about the shortage of GPs: “Yet it is a beautiful and important profession.” A profession in which you have to be constantly up to date. To this day, Lex gets important international publications sent home: “I read them all, they’re not there for show.” He attended the big congresses in Boston, Baltimore and Chicago for many years to keep up to date: “We need a regulation for lifelong learning in the profession. That would be very important.”
More Doctor Nati and less Doctor Pizzaferri
The beginning of Lex’s retirement coincided with the Corona pandemic. The government would do a pretty good job. However, he believes that now is the time for compulsory vaccination. At least for people who are in contact with other people. So employees in the care and health sector, in the ‘Maison Relais’ or in the crèches. But also for people in the public service who deal directly with the public. Lex cannot understand why labour law takes precedence over health law. “The health minister should listen more to Dr Nati from the CHL than to Dr Pizzaferri!” And when Marc Fischbach claims that COPAS has been in a good position since last summer, Lex thinks that was probably a summer too late.
Lex inherited a strong social streak from home. That is why he has always been an advocate of opportunity and social justice. What he doesn’t understand is that aspirations are moving towards equality of opportunity. “I insist on performance equity. It cannot be that a part of the population lives at the expense of the state and has to make no compensation for it. Everyone has a contribution to make to the whole.”
18 years as president
Solidarity and fairness are also principles Lex values in rugby. He was president of the Luxembourg Rugby Federation for 18 years. Not a year goes by without him attending at least one match of the Six Nations tournament. Together with his friends. Because rugby is above all conviviality and friendship. And Lex can’t get enough of that…