The rich history of Luxembourg begins during the Roman age, when a fortress was built in the region in view of guarding the cross point of two commercial roads of great significance for the Empire.

By a treaty signed in 963, Siegfried I of Ardennes, a close relative of King Lois II of France, acquired the land on which the Lucilinburhuc Castle (the Small Castle) was to be built. In 987, the Archbishop of Trier consecrated here the first five altars, in the Church of Saint Michel.

Due to its positioning, the city has always been coveted after by all the neighboring empires. The first fortifications were built during the 10th century, and until the late 12th century, the city had already expanded westwards, around the Church of Saint Nicholas (nowadays, the Notre Dame Cathedral). Around 1443, Luxembourg was conquered by Burgundians and became part of the Duchy of Burgundy. Subsequently, the region fell to the Spaniards and Austrians, and the Habsburg rule repeatedly reinforced the Luxembourg Castle. Thus, the castle represented one of the most solid fortresses in the entire Europe during the 16th century.

In time, the city was constantly attacked by Burgundians, Spaniards, French and then again by Spaniards, Austrians and French. Last but not least, Prussians too attacked the fortress.

During the 16th century, the first casemates were also built in Luxembourg. At first, Spaniards built a 23 kilometers long tunnel which was enlarged by the French and Austrians, in 1730 and 1740.

During the French Revolution (1792-1802), Luxembourg was occupied twice and annexed to the French Republic. Yet, in 1815, after the end of Napoleonic wars, the city fell under the Prussian military control and considered part of the German Confederation. Subsequently to the Luxembourg Crisis in 1867, London required that the fortresses within the city be reallocated. Their dismantling took about 16 years, some 24 kilometers of underground tunnels and 40,000 square meters of casemates and barracks having been destroyed.

In 1890, Grad Duke William III died leaving no male successors. Thus, Luxembourg got off the Dutch rule, becoming a truly independent country.

World War I did not pass without leaving its marks on Luxembourg. Thus, despite its will to maintain neuter, Luxembourg was occupied by Germans on August the 2nd, 1914, and for four years is was home to sundry German operations.

Luxembourg saw an expansion in 1921. The communes of Eich, Hamm, Hollerich and Rollingergrund were annexed to the city during this period. The peace did not last long, as in 1940 Germany occupied the city again. Luxembourg had already become an integral part of Germany under Hitler until 1942, but this conquest neither was definite, the city being freed from occupation on September the 10th in 1944.

After the end of World War II, Luxembourg became one of the founding members of certain super-governmental and inter-governmental institutions. As from 1952, the city has been hosting the main headquarters of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community. The High Authority merged with a series of other institutions in 1967. At present, Luxembourg is home to some of the most significant institutions of the European Union: the European Court of Justice, the European Audit Court, as well as the European Investment Bank.

Go to top