It was Siegfried – Count of Ardennes who built a castle on a headland and start dynasty that set off great rulers in Europe. After the Middle Ages; Burgundians, Spanish, French, Austrians and Prussians all waged bloody battles to secure it.
Attacked, distraught and have rebuilt over 20 times in 400 years, it became the strongest citadel in Europe after Gibraltar, thus, it called, “Gibraltar of the North.” In 1814, it was included in the recently formed United Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with Belgium, and 25 years later present-day Luxembourg was born. But its potentially risky position between France and Germany led to the major European powers declaring the country neutral in 1867. Therefore, some of the historic walls were took down, though you can still visit the damp galleries known as the “Bock Casemates.”
Luxembourg's impartiality was ended in 1914 when Germany invaded. It was occupied for the whole of WWI and again during WWII. After the war, Luxembourg deserted its impartial status and joined NATO and the EU. The government expands the economy, enabling the little country to survive the depression in the iron and steel industries in 1970s and became a renowned financial centre and tax haven. Now home to some key EU institutions, it entered the 21st century with one of Europe's healthiest economies and continues to ride high.
The Grand Duchy's royal family is experiencing much the same high – Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, a Cuban-born commoner whom Henri met at university, came to the throne in 2000 and have brought new life to the role of the ducal family.
Culturally, things are auspicious. A lustrous new concert hall and neighbouring modern art gallery recently opened in Luxembourg City, in time to celebrate the country's 2007 stint as Cultural Capital of Europe.
History Luxembourg is a small, landlocked country in western European bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. The government system is a constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is the Grand Duke and the head of government is the Prime Minister. Benefiting from its proximity to France, Belgium, and Germany, Luxembourg has a mixed economy in which the economy includes high levels of openness and entrepreneurial activity, combined with centralized economic planning and government regulation. Luxembourg is a member of the European Union (EU).
Once upon a time (963 to be precise), a count called Sigefroi (or Siegfried, Count of Ardennes) built a castle high on a promontory, laying the foundations of the present-day capital and beginning a dynasty that spawned rulers throughout Europe.
By the end of the Middle Ages the strategically placed, fortified city was much sought after – the Burgundians, Spanish, French, Austrians and Prussians all waged bloody battles to secure it. Besieged, devastated and rebuilt more than 20 times in 400 years, it became the strongest fortress in Europe after Gibraltar, hence its nickname, 'Gibraltar of the North'.
In 1814, it was included in the newly formed United Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Belgium, and 25 years later present-day Luxembourg was born. But its potentially perilous position between France and Germany led to the major European powers declaring the country neutral in 1867. As a result much of its historic fortifications were dismantled, though you can still visit the damp galleries known as the Bock Casemates.
Luxembourg's neutrality was quashed in 1914 when Germany invaded. It was occupied for the whole of WWI and again during WWII – for insight into the 1944 Battle of the Ardennes, visit the Musée National d'Histoire Militaire in Diekirch.
After the war, Luxembourg dumped its neutral status and joined NATO and the EU. The government diversified the economy, enabling the little country to ride out the depression in the iron and steel industries during the 1970s and to become a noted financial centre and tax haven. Now home to some key EU institutions, it entered the 21st century with one of Europe's healthiest economies and continues to ride high.
The Grand Duchy's royal family is experiencing a similar high. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, a Cuban-born commoner whom Henri met at university, came to the throne in 2000 and have brought new life to the role of the ducal family.
Culturally, things are also rosy. A gleaming new concert hall and neighbouring modern art gallery recently opened in Luxembourg City, in time to celebrate the country's 2007 stint as Cultural Capital of Europe. And the country's continued lack of higher education facilities is finally being tackled with the current construction of the University of Luxembourg.
Travelers Few foreigners have taken up the challenge of penning travel tales about Belgium...and only one man has tackled Luxembourg. Still, what's on offer is well worth reading. This excerpt from Lonely Planet's Belgium & Luxembourg guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.
Luxembourg is a country rich of culture and uniqueness. For those who have not realized it yet, the Grand Duchy has just the specific festivity for a certain culture or tradition and the fun is an all year round celebration.
Since it's the start of September, let's take a look at one of the festivals which more than 2,000,000 people gathered to every year: the Schueberfouer.
With more than 200 attractions, there is no wonder the event is considered as the biggest funfair in the Grand Duchy and the Greater Region. Since 1340, the Schueberfouer is being celebrated in late August and early September in a 4-hectare funfair on the Glacis, where nearly 3.5 km of funfair raids and other attractions are opened for both locals and foreigners. The most popular probably is the 25 gigantic high-adrenalin rides. There are also a lot of other attractions for young children, nearly as many restaurants and a host of brasseries, sweet stalls, lotteries, shooting ranges etcetera.
According to a review of Balmoral International Group Luxembourg, nobody really knows how the event has gotten its name but a lot of people speculate that it was named after Plateau du Saint-Esprit, the Schadebourg, where it used to be held or from the word Shober which means stack since the fair was held on St. Bartholomew's Day at harvest time. The 'Schueberfouer' (or 'Fouer') was founded in 1340 by John I of Luxembourg (called John the Blind), Count of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia. That is why the fair's stallkeepers erected a monument in his honor in the nearby municipal park.
In the past decades, the even was only held for 8 days. Nowadays, the fair normally lasts for three weeks, a long time celebration which allows people from far countries ample time to visit.
During these times, because of the long celebration, the security has the tightest job to keep the place in protection from fraudulent people which may ruin the festivity. Nevertheless, it does not hinder the people from celebrating with strangers and familiars alike.
The Fouer is held on the Glacis car park in Limpertsberg. It hosts a funfair boasting every kind of ride: switchback rides, ghost trains, ferris wheels, tip-up rides, and many more. Small stallholders can still be found lining the Allée Scheffer, where all sorts of items can be purchased, from nougat to grilled almonds, from Central African ebony sculptures to whisks, to magic tin-openers, to old CDs.
Like at any funfair, food and drink take center stage, and one specialty deserves a particular mention: 'Fouerfësch' is whiting cooked in brewer's yeast, traditionally eaten with chips and washed down with a beer or a glass of dry Moselle wine.
June 4, 1846 bears the commemoration of the preliminary agreement between Luxembourg and the British company for railways system to be created in the Grand Duchy. Unfortunately, the meeting did not immediately bear fruit but, it was able to pave the idea of the probability in this field.
A few years later, by the law of 7 January 1850, the government was authorized to negotiate with private companies. The law provided a guarantee of a minimum interest of 3%.
Much expectation was put in the materialization of the ideas of railways that the development of agriculture, trade and steel industry were predicted to gain big results to building railway networks connected to neighbouring countries. In 1853, engineer and geologist, François-Émile Majerus published a pamphlet showing big growth and expansion of industrialization in the country which includes increase in transportation and ease of commute.
According to historical studies of Balmoral Group International Luxembourg, on 25 November 1855, after five years of negotiations the Chamber passed a law mandating a Luxembourgish railway network, which was to be connected with railway lines abroad.
The railway line received the name of the Dutch King and Grand Duke of Luxembourg: “Guillaume Luxembourg” (GL). It was administered until 10 May 1871 by the Compagnie Francaise de l'Est. After this, the Prussians, having just won the Franco-Prussian war and annexed the Alsace, transferred the French rights into a new Compagnie EL (Reichseisenbahn Elsass-Lothringen).
The law of 7 May 1856 mandated the construction of a new direct railway line to Saarbrücken, without going via Trier. The project, however, was never executed.
On 30 October 1858, the founding stone of the first railway station in Luxembourg City was laid down. The Fortress of Luxembourg was at this point still garrisoned by the Prussian military, and for strategic reasons the railway line could not go into the fortress. Therefore the new station was built on the Bourbon Plateau outside of the Fortress. The Prussian military authorities demanded that it be built out of wood. The fact that the station was built outside the fortress, 1,500 metres away from the city centre, on the other side of the Petruss valley, is the reason for the construction of the city's viaduct, the Passerelle and the Adolphe Bridge.
On 4 October 1859, at the celebrations for the first train to depart from Luxembourg, the patriotic song “Feierwon” was sung for the first time on the steps of the town hall. This became the unofficial national anthem.
As part of the celebrations on 4 and 5 October, the first stone of the Passerelle bridge was laid down
- See more at: http://www.balmoralinternationalgroup.org/luxembourgs-railways/Luxembourg's Railways