History

The foundations of today’s city took root in AD 963 when Sigefroi (Siegfried), Count of the Ardennes, built a castle. From 1354 the region was an independent duchy; conquered by Burgundy in 1443, it was later incorporated into the Habsburg empire. The city’s remarkable fortifications proved particularly impressive during the French revolutionary wars, although not quite good enough to survive a seven-month French siege in 1792–93. After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Luxembourg was declared a Grand Duchy under the Dutch king, though it eventually split in two after Belgian independence.

When the Dutch King William III died in 1890, his daughter Wilhelmina became queen of the Netherlands. However, by Luxembourg’s then-current rules of succession, only males could rule the Grand Duchy. This quirk resulted in Luxembourg’s previously nominal independence becoming a reality, and thus Luxembourg City emerged as a fully fledged European capital.

Germany occupied the city during both world wars, and despite shelling in WWII, the city remained largely intact. In the second half of the 20th century, Luxembourg City’s shiny glass Kirchberg area became host to several major EU organisations, including the European Investment Bank and European Court of Justice.