From origin to the present time.
The need for a medical laboratory in Luxembourg dates back to the late nineteenth century, as a follow-up to the development of the natural sciences, especially microbiology.
Prior to 1886, there was an unofficial laboratory at the Medical College in the Rue du Nord, opposite the old courthouse (Palais de Justice). Following a fire, the laboratory was moved to Rue clairefontaine in 1886.
The explanatory memorandum to the draft law introduced in 1897, establishing the practical laboratory for bacteriology, precisely defined the tasks of the laboratory, namely exclusively bacteriological tasks of hygienic nature for medical diagnosis, including certain forensic autopsies and the examination of hair, stains and fingerprints, anthropometric survey and forensic photography.
The first building was situated in the neighbourhood of the Verlorenkost and its construction was completed in 1907. At that time, the core staff of the laboratory was made up of a medical director and an apparitor. If necessary and on a temporary basis, they were supported by a physician, a veterinarian and a chemist, totalling five people.
In 1954, the construction of a second building began in the Rue du Laboratory which opened in 1960.
1965 saw the reorganisation of the laboratory along with a name change to Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (Institut d’Hygiène et de Santé Publique). This name continued to be used until 1980. At that time, there was another reorganisation along with a final name change to the National Health Laboratory – Laboratoire national de santé (LNS).
The construction of the present building in Dudelange began in 2009 and was completed in 2013. At that time, the number of laboratory staff added uo to 200 people.
Since the 7th of August 2012, the Laboratoire national de santé has been a public agency operating under the Ministry of Health in Luxembourg. It is organised as a multidisciplinary institute that includes, along with an administrative department, four scientific departments in the fields of medical biology, microbiology, forensic medicine and health protection, in addition to hosting the National Center of Pathology and the National Center of Genetics.
The purpose of the LNS is to develop analytical activities and scientific expertise related to the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of human diseases. Its mission is to assume the role of a national monitoring laboratory and to provide services of a forensic nature.
It also contributes to the development, coordination and promotion of technical laboratory methodology, in close collaboration with domestic and foreign analytical laboratories. In addition, it also carries out research and teaching activities together with ad hoc partners in Luxembourg and abroad.
It should be noted that the LNS also plays an important role in shaping national health policy and, in some areas, serves as a national reference laboratory. The Laboratory’s many collaborations have enabled it to acquire an international reputation.