Luxembourg was founded in the 10th century by Count Sigefroi. Since then, Luxembourg has constantly changed hands among the major European powers, being dominated in turn by the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, and France.
Palace of the Grand Dukes, Luxembourg © Tourist Office Luxembourg
- 1815 The Congress of Vienna sets up the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, but this continues to be attached to the Netherlands, as the 18th province.
- 1839 The Treaty of London confirms Luxembourg’s independence, granted by the Congress of Vienna, while at the same time resolving the situation between Belgium and the Netherlands. It is at this stage that the country takes on its current form.
- 1840-1849 Luxembourg is under the administration of William II.
- 1867 The Treaty of London guarantees the permanent independence of a neutral Luxembourg.
- 1868 Luxembourg adopts a Constitution.
- 1890 End of the personal union between the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The crown passes to Adolf of Nassau.
- 1914-1918 / 1940-1944 Luxembourg is occupied by German troops.
- 1944 The Benelux union is created by the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
- 1949 Luxembourg abandons its neutral status.
- 1949 Luxembourg becomes a founding member of NATO.
- 1957 Along with five other European nations, Luxembourg sets up the EEC.
- 1964 The crown passes from the Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg to her son Jean.
- 1995 Jacques Santer becomes the President of the European Commission.
- 2000 Grand Duke Jean abdicates in favour of his eldest son, Henri.
- 2009 The Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) wins the elections, providing a new term of office for Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who had already been elected in 1995, 1999, and in 2004.
- 2014 Jean-claude Juncker becomes president of the european commission
Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the town of Luxembourg is home to a large number of curiosities. Its tourist trails and its historical sites (the baroque cathedral and the Palace of the Grand Dukes) never fail to delight history lovers. Enjoying a strategic geographical location, Luxembourg is a European crossroads in every sense of the term. The presence of numerous European Union organs and institutions makes the town a leading player on the international scene. These include the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Court of Auditors, the Permanent Secretariat of the European Parliament, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, the Translation Service, the Office for Official Publications, and the European Investment Bank. A relatively small town when compared to other international cities, Luxembourg nevertheless remains a dynamic and cosmopolitan city, and is well worth a visit.
Vue to Luxembourg © Tourist Office Luxembourg
Pierre Werner was one of the guiding lights behind economic and monetary union. This politician from Luxembourg influenced the history of his country as a finance minister and head of government for more than 20 years, but also left his mark on the process of European construction by proposing the creation of a European economic union. In March 1970, he chaired a special study group which drew up a report proposing a three-stage process to introduce a single currency, a plan which was subsequently re-named the “Werner Plan”. Although the aim was to introduce this union before the end of the decade, the project was nevertheless delayed by the world monetary crisis of 1971 and the oil crisis of 1973. Europe therefore had to wait until economic stabilisation occurred in 1979 for the first stage of the Werner plan to be implemented, with the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS). However, it was only on January 1st, 2002, more than 30 years after the plan had first been submitted to the six founding Member States, that Pierre Werner finally saw his dream turned into reality, with the introduction of the euro, just six months before his death.
© European Commission
Coveted over the centuries by major foreign powers, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg found it necessary to build many castles. Of the 109 castles listed in the Middle Ages, 76 have stood the test of time and are in various states of repair. From both a historical and touristic point of view, the most interesting of these are the castles of Beaufort, Bourglinster, Bourscheid, Clervaux, and Vianden. The castle of Beaufort was built around 1200. Its ruins are spectacular and well-maintained, located in an attractive setting. The castle of Bourglinster is built on a rocky spur, at a height of 350 meters. The castle of Bourscheid, the largest of the country, is located between the Rhine and the Meuse. In 1430, the great outer wall was added, with its many towers. The medieval castle of Clervaux is also well worth a visit. Built in a winding valley, this feudal castle dates from the 12th century. The castle of Vianden was one of the largest and finest feudal residences in Europe during the Romanesque and Gothic periods. For anyone keen to get back to the days of knights in shining armour, nothing can rival a stay in Luxembourg!
© Tourist Office Luxembourg