Luxembourg's history dates back to 963, when the castle
of Luxembourg was fortified and a city community developed
around it. In 1354 the country became a duchy, and from 1443
Luxembourg came under various European countries and
In 1830, Luxembourg was divided and the Walloon part
became subject to Belgium. When Belgium disbanded from the
Netherlands in 1839, Luxembourg lost more than half its
area, but became more independent. In 1867, Luxembourg's
independence and neutrality was declared in the London
Convention. The country achieved full independence in 1890,
when the Dutch king William III died.
Luxembourg was occupied by Germany in 1914–1918 (World
War I) and in 1940–1944 (World War II). See
abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Luxembourg. This led to the
country abandoning the principle of neutrality in 1948 and
becoming one of the founding nations of the UN, EU and NATO.
Luxembourg is one of the 3 members of the Benelux.
Luxembourg became an independent political entity in 963,
when the castle of Luxembourg was fortified and a city
community developed around it. The country was then a county
that included both the present Grand Duchy and the Belgian
province of Luxembourg, as well as some neighboring parts of
France and Germany. From 963, Luxembourg emerged as an
independent political entity, and the country became a duchy
In 1443, Luxembourg came under Burgundy, and together
with much of this principality, the land was inherited by
the Habsburg House in 1477. From then on, Luxembourg was
administered together with the rest of the Netherlands
(roughly today's Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands).
The duchy was part of Karl V's kingdom until 1555, and then
joined the rest of the Netherlands to his son Philip II, who
administered the area from Spain. During the 1980 war, the
Netherlands broke out of this union, while the southern
Netherlands continued under Spanish rule. During the Spanish
regime, France didseveral conquests at Spain's expense,
including capturing part of Luxembourg in 1659. France
invaded the Principality in 1684, but had to give it back to
the Habsburg House after the subsequent Palatinate War.
After the Spanish succession war, Luxembourg came under
Austria, along with the rest of the southern Netherlands,
and the country remained under Austrian rule until
revolutionary France conquered it in 1795.
In 1815, Luxembourg became Grand Duchy and German federal
state under William 1 of the Netherlands. When Belgium
declared independence from the Netherlands in 1830,
Luxembourg followed, but the country was divided by the
Treaty of London in 1839: The western, Walloon-speaking part
came under Belgium, while the eastern part got its present
boundaries, and became a sovereign grand duchy in the
personal union with the Netherlands.. In 1866, Luxembourg
was separated by the German Federation, but was still in the
German Customs Union, and in 1867 was declared neutral.
When King William 3 of the Netherlands died in 1890, the
relationship with the Netherlands ceased, because the Salian
heirs of Luxembourg put male heirs ahead of women.
Luxembourg now became independent. While the Netherlands
inherited Vilhelm 3's daughter Wilhelmina, Luxembourg passed
to the distant relative Adolf of Nassau. His line is still
the head of state in the country.
Adolf was Grand Duke in the period 1890-1905, and was
succeeded by his son Vilhelm. Grand Duke Vilhelm had no
sons, so Elder Marie Adelheid was declared heir in 1907. She
ruled from 1912 to 1919, when she resigned in favor of
World War I and World War II
Luxembourg was occupied by German troops throughout the
First World War. A referendum in 1919 showed a large
majority to uphold the Grand Duke's constitution. There was
also a majority for an economic union with France, which
however rejected such a scheme. Luxembourg then entered into
an agreement on economic union with Belgium which entered
into force on 1 May 1922.
During World War II, during the German offensive in the
west on May 10, 1940, Luxembourg was again occupied by
German troops. Grand Duchess Charlotte fled with her
government to London. The Allies liberated Luxembourg in the
years 1944–1945, and Duchess Charlotte returned.
After reigning for 45 years, in 1964 Grand Duchess
Charlotte transferred her post of head of state to her
eldest son, Prince Jean. He reigned until 2000, when his son
Henri took over as Grand Duke.
Luxembourg's economy and foreign policy are closely
linked to Belgium and the Netherlands through the Benelux
Union, and the country has played a very active role in the
creation of the EU, NATO and other Western European and
Atlantic cooperation organizations after the Second World
War. The country's important steel industry was hit hard by
the economic crisis of the mid-1970s. However, it has
succeeded in keeping unemployment at the lowest level in
Western Europe, which is partly due to the establishment of
new high-tech industry.
Luxembourg is also one of the most important financial
centers in Europe, and several international organizations
are based in the country, including the European Court of
Justice. The country has been involved in the euro since its
inception, and a referendum in 2005 provided a majority for
the new EU constitution - a few weeks after it was rejected
by French and Dutch voters.
The capital of Luxembourg was the European Capital of
Culture in 2007, together with Sibiu.
Luxembourg has stable political conditions, and for a
long time a coalition of the two major parties, the liberal
and the Christian social, has been in power. Xavier Bettel
has been prime minister since 2013.