Tuesday, April 29, 2014

175 Years of Independence

Tonight, members of the Grand Ducal Family together with a number of officials such as the government and representatives of the parliament will attend a special festive ceremony to mark the 175th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Grand Duke Henri is expected to hold a speech at the event that will also be attended by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Grand Duke Jean, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. You will be able to watch a livestream of the event, which is going to start at 5pm, on the website of the government.

Already the Congress of Vienna in 1815 had granted Luxembourg formal autonomy. Being considered one of the strongest fortifications in Europe, several states had an interest in the newly created Grand Duchy. In the end, King Willem I of the Netherlands was given the country in exchange for the Principality of Orange-Nassau that went to the Prussian kings. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Condeferation and Prussian troops took over the fortress.

In 1830, however, much of the Luxembourgish population joined the Belgian revolution against Dutch rule and in 1839, through the Treaty of London, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was declared an independent state though its size was nearly cut into a half as the west of the country became newly independent Belgium's Province of Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands were ruled in personal union by King-Grand Duke Willem I and two of his descendants until 1890 when the House of Orange-Nassau died out in male line and Luxembourg fell to the Walram branch of the House of Nassau.

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