Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hereditary Princess Sophie Opens a School Art Exhibit

Source: Paul Trummer / Volksblatt / Volksblatt.li
Today, Hereditary Princess Sophie was the opening speaker at an art exhibit presented by schools in Schaan. The event, with the motto "Lights on!", is presented in support of those suffering from vision problems. Student artwork features bright colors, with the goal of bringing particularly vivid light and colors into the lives of those who face reduced vision.

Photo and more information available from Volksblatt.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Strengthening Relations Between Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Today, Hereditary Prince Alois received Alain Berset, a member of the Swiss Federal Council and the Interior Minister. Also in attendance to receive Berset were Prime Minister Adrian Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurelia Frick, and Minister of Social Affairs Mauro Pedrazzini.

Federal Councillor Berset was also in Liechtenstein to speak at the multi-country Unternehmertag event that is also being held in Voralberg (Austria) and the Rhine Valley region of Switzerland. Before his speaking engagement, he visited the government building with Prime Minister Hasler and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aurelia Frick to explore cooperative efforts in music education between Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Specifically, the two countries will be focusing on bringing music education into youth programs.

Additionally, Federal Councillor Berset met with Mauro Pedrazzini for a working lunch, during which they discussed, among other things, the upcoming art exhibit Lohnmobil. Federal Councillor Berset will open the exhibit in St. Gallen, and it will be on view in Liechtenstein during August.

No photos of Hereditary Prince Alois, but a photo of Alain Berset and Aurelia Frick, as well as more about the federal councillor's visit, here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: The Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

The Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was created by Grand-Ducal decree on 23rd January 1961, which marked the 65th birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte after five to ten years of discussion. It is the youngest of the Grand Duchy's orders. After the end of the second World War the Cour Grand Ducal as well as the Luxemburgish government saw the need to create an order to reward professional achievements or meritious services in other sectors. Before the Order of the Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was created the Order of the Oak Crown was normally awarded for these kind of things, but between 1945 and the early 1960s it was awarded quite too often and the officials thought that the value of the order was risked.

There are five grades of the order: Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight. In addition to the grades a silver-gilt medal is also annexed to the order. While the reigning Grand Duke or Grand Duchess is the Grand Master of this order, the Prime Minister serves as its chancellor.

The badge of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg consists of a cross with four white-enamelled armes with blue edges.

On the obverse, the central medallion bears the lion of the Grand Duchy. The lion is crowned, open-clawed and langued gold. It is surrounded by a laurel crown on a blue-enamelled Background.

The reverse shows two golden, interlaced and gilded "C" for Charlotte and the grand-ducal crown on a red background. It is surrounded by a blue-enamelled border.

The plaque is a silver-gilt star with twelve rays. The badge of the order is in its centre. The ribbon is red with white and blue edges. The ribbon wideness varies between 105 mm for the Grand Cross to 37 mm for the other four classes. The medal is in silver-gilt and consists of a four-armed cross angled by five rays.

The Order of Merit is awarded on National Day to deputies, state councillors, civil servants, elected representatives and personnel of municipal administrations, key players of the economic, social, cultural or sport sectors as well as volunteers. It can also be awarded to foreigners, though the foreign government has to approve. The silver-gilt medal is awarded to centenarians and acts of rescue. It is awarded by the Grand Duke with the countersignature of the Minister of State, who also nominates people for the order. It is considered to be the lowest of the Grand Duchy's orders, the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau being the highest.

When a member of the order dies or is raised into a higher class, the insignia have to be restored to the state.  

Prince Louis and Prince Gabriel Out and About

Photo: Fédération Aéronautique Luxembourgeoise
Yesterday afternoon, Prince Louis and his older son, Prince Gabriel, attended the general assembly of the Fédération Aéronautique Luxembourgeoise. The event took place at the Centre Culturel in Beckerich. Prince Louis has been the patron of the Luxembourgish aeronautic federation since 2011. Even in non-royal patronage life, the Grand Duke's third son is very interested in the matter: While living in the United States a few years ago, Prince Louis took courses in Aeronautics and Aeronautical Management and gained a "Private pilot certificate".

No pictures are available yet but will be added if they do. There you go.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hereditary Princess Sophie and "the Average Trap"

Austrian geneticist Markus Hengstschläger was in Liechtenstein last night where he gave a lecture at the education forum in Triesen. Among the guests for the talk entitled "The average trap: Do we set false priorities?" was no other than Hereditary Princess Sophie. More on the lecture at Volksblatt.

Grand Ducal Couple Visits L'Amicale des Amis

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
A week ago, on Friday March 20 to be precise, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited the fleeting exhibition L'Amicale des Amis. During their visit, the Grand Ducal Couple met with some creators of pavilions, designers and representatives of the Luxembourg Center for Architecture (LUCA). Together with the artists, they had an informal lunch exchanged ideas, stories and perspectives related to architecture and design of the Grand Duchy.

A few more pictures on the websites of the cour and LUCA.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie at the European Investment Bank

Source: European Investment Bank (EIB)
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Kirchberg for a working visit to the European Investment Bank. The President of the Bank, Werner Hoyer, was there to welcome them for their visit.

This banking-focused event comes on the heels of the hereditary grand ducal couple's recent visit to the Middle East to establish stronger financial ties between Luxembourg and countries in that region. The focus of the visit to the EIB was primarily about the bank's role in furthering the Investment Plan for Europe.

No photos have shown up yet, but they'll be added here if they do.

Photos now available on the EIB website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Sends Letters of Condolence

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri sent two letters of condolence, one to the President of Germany and the other to the King of Spain. Both letters expressed sadness for the tragic airplane accident that occurred in the French Alps.

The text of both letters reads as follows:

C’est avec une très grande émotion que la Grande-Duchesse et moi-même avons appris la nouvelle du terrible accident d’avion survenu aujourd’hui à Barcelonnette dans les Alpes françaises.

Au nom du peuple luxembourgeois, nous Vous exprimons nos plus sincères condoléances. Nos pensées et nos sentiments de compassion les plus émus vont aux familles et aux proches touchés parce drame.

Grand-Duc de Luxembourg

In translation:

It is with great emotion that the Grand Duchess and I have learned about the terrible airplane accident that occurred today in Barcelonnette in the French Alps.

On behalf of the people of Luxembourg, we express our deepest condolences. Our thoughts and our greatest feelings of compassion are with the families and friends of those affected by this dramatic event.

Henri Receives the Korean Ambassador for a Farewell Audience

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri received Chang-beom Kim, the Ambassador for the Republic of Korea, at the Palais Grand Ducal for a farewell audience. Chang-beom Kim has held the position of Head of Mission of the Republic of Korea to the European Union since 2012. His greetings and comments on his role can be read here.

No photos at this time. Should any be made available, they'll be added.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Painting of Archduke Alexander and Prince Wenceslas Unveiled by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Photos: Corporal Steve Blake RLC
On March 17, St Patrick's Day that is, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand for the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot during which the Duchess the traditional sprigs of shamrock to the Officers and Guardsmen on parade. Together with her husband also known as Prince William she also unveiled a painting of some thirty Irish Guards officers by Lindy Allfrey.

Among those on the painting reportedly also are two fellow royals, Archduke Alexander of Austria and Prince Wenceslas of Nassau. You might recall that the sons of Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Jean of Luxembourg respectively both attended and had their passing out from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst three years ago. While I'm fairly certain that Archduke Alexander is the sixth from the right standing, I have a bit of a Where's Waldo moment when it comes to Prince Wenceslas... (Is he the fourth from the left standing? Or the fifth, in the matching, possibly Luxembourgish uniform to Alexander?) What I can tell you for certain is that as per the artist Prince Wenceslas actually travelled from Africa for his sitting. (Thanks heavens it wasn't the other way around...)
Where's Wenceslas?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Prince Max Presents Annual Balance

Photo: Keystone
During a media briefing today, the LGT Group, the Princely Family's bank, announced that net profits rose more than 18 percent last year as the bank attracted fresh funds and acquired a large portfolio of accounts from HSBC's private bank. During the meeting, Prince Max stated that he believes that "some, and I count Liechtenstein among them, will have gone from A to B in a relatively smooth sensible way, understanding pretty early on in the process what the trends are and positioning themselves accordingly, and others will struggle much harder" when asked about Liechtenstein positioning itself as a financial centre for clean money during the past few years.

Pictures of the press meeting in Zurich at Volksblatt and Vaterland.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prince Hans-Adam: "All My Sons Are Sensible. Much More Than I Am."

Photo: Nicola Pitaro / Schweiz am Sonntag
Prince Hans-Adam has given an interview to Swiss Sunday newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, which was published this weekend. In it, he talks about why the monarchy has such a great support in Liechtenstein's population, that he believes that monarchy will have a renaissance in these uncertain and changing times, and that his sons are much more sensible than he ever was attesting them diplomatic skills he does not have himself. The full interview is available here. It also mentions that Prince Hans-Adam recently attended an alumni event by his alma mater University of St. Gallen.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Two Audiences for Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa

Source: Marc Schmit / Cour grand-ducale
On Friday, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa received in audience historian Charles Barthel, who is also the author of Au service de l’humanité – Histoire de la Croix-Rouge luxembourgeoise. This history of the Luxembourg Red Cross honors the organization's Centenary celebrations.

Additionally, the Grand Duchess received the steering committee that is planning the different festivals and activities to mark the 100th anniversary. Maria-Teresa has been the president of the Luxembourg Red Cross since 2005 and will mark her 10th anniversary in that position on April 8th of this year. Additionally, she chairs the organization's Board of Directors, as well as the Executive Committee.

Then later in the afternoon, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa received in audience Oswald Schroeder and Tom Bellion. Mr. Schroeder is the vice-president, and Mr. Bellion the director, of the Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO), and they received a check for the revenues received from guided tours of the Palais Grand Ducal. The funds will be donated to the Fondation du Grand-Duc et de la Grande-Duchesse.

No photos so far. But they'll be added if any are made available.

Photos from the Cour website here and here.

A Luxembourg and Liechtensteins in Morocco

The 25th Crans Montana Forum took place between March 12 and March 14 in Dakhla, a city in Western Sahara under Moroccan control. Founded in 1986 in Crans Montana, the Swiss organisation's aim is to give a platform for direct contacts between business, government and political leaders of from around the world. 

This year's forum was themed “South-South cooperation and the development of Africa” and counted King Mohammed VI of Morocco among its speakers. Now finally getting to the point why this point made it onto the blog: Prince Jean, who has long been involved with the Crans Montana Forum, also was in Morocco for the occasion. Other regular and not-so-regular Luxarazzi faces involved with the organisation include Hereditary Prince Alois as well as his second cousin once removed Prince Anton of Liechtenstein. According to reports, a Prince Georg of Liechtenstein was also present for this year's event. I'm inclined to believe it was Prince Anton's son as Hereditary Prince Alois' son Georg is probably a bit too young to appreciate such an event.

Luxembourg Royals Attend Memorial for Prince and Duke Ernest-Charles d'Arenberg

Yesterday, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla attended a memorial mass for Prince and Duke Ernest-Charles d'Arenberg who was killed in battle on March 21, 1915, fighting for France during the First World War. The memorial mass took place at the Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides in Paris. The scion of the French branch of the family was married to Thérèse de La Rochefoucauld d'Estissac, who died in 1958. According to this 1915 New York Times article he was the 10th member of the French aristocracy to die in World War I.

Getty Images has a gallery of visuals of the mass also attended by a number of other royals and nobles.

Luxarazzi 101: House of Kálnoky

There are currently not one but two Liechtenstein princes married to members of the Kálnoky de Kőröspatak family: Prince Constantin, third son of Prince Hans-Adam II, married in 1999 Countess Marie Kálnoky de Kőröspatak. Already in 1995, Prince Emanuel, Constantin's fifth cousin and brother of Liechtenstein's ambassador to Germany, Prince Stefan, had married Marie's older sister Countess Alexandra Kálnoky de Kőröspatak. Reason enough to trace a bit of their family's history.

The Kálnokys are one of the oldest magnate families of Transylvania. Their ancestor Akadás was the first chieftain of a Szekler tribe to appear in history. The Székelys are a subgroup of the Hungarian people living mostly in the Székely Land, a historic and ethnographic area in eastern Transylvania in today's Romania. In the Middle Ages, the Székelys, along with the Saxons, played a key role in the defense of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Ottomans. The Kálnoky family was firstly mentioned in 1252 as "comes" (chief) of the Szekler 'Sepsi' tribe in the person of Vincent Kálnoky, Akadás' son.

The family reached comital status within the Holy Roman Empire through Sámuel Kálnoky (1640-1706). He became the first chancellor of Transylvania in Vienna and was created Count Kálnoky Baron of Kőröspatak in 1697. The family is usually known by an abbreviation of their title, Count Kálnoky of (de or von) Kőröspatak. 

In the following decades, the Kálnokys made a number of advantageous marriages to daughters of noble families on the verge of extinction, thus considerably increasing the family's assets and influence in central and western Europe. Apart from their rather smallish ancestral homes in the Székely Land, the Kálnokys also owned three large estates in Moravia and today's Slovakia by the end of the monarchy in 1918.

At the beginning of the 18th century, through multiple marriages, the Kálnokys became close to Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, ruler of Wallachia. An entire generation grew up in Bucharest at the prince's court and held public functions there. Through Countess Claudine Rhédey de Kis-Rhéde, grandmother of Mary of Teck, consort of King George V of the United Kingdom, the Kálnokys are actually even ancestors of the British royal family.

In 1741, Count Antal Kálnoky, Sámuel's son, established the first Transylvanian regiment of hussars to help Empress Maria Theresia in the Austrian war of succession. The regiment, which was also named after the Kálnoky family, remained in service until the end of World War I and thus end of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was the last to successfully apply war tactics inherited by the ancient Szekler riding tribes of the steppes, during the 7-year-war.

For the next two hundred years, the family served in military and political posts under the Habsburg rulers. The Kálnokys were one of the 64 comital families who had a hereditary seat in the House of Lords in Vienna. The probably most famous member of the family was Count Gustav Kálnoky, who presided over the joint (Austrian and Hungarian) council of ministers, was minister of the Imperial House and of Foreign Affairs under Emperor Franz Joseph I. Gustav's brother Hugo Leopold was considered the best and most famous horseman in the whole empire.

Towards the end of the 1930's, one branch of the family was banished from their ancestral homes in Romania by the government for allegedly spying for the Hungarians. They moved to Budapest but later fled due to the Nazi invasion, then based on the Commununist take-over. One of their descendants, Count Tibor Kálnoky, has returned to Transylvania and even runs the Prince of Wales' guesthouses there. Another branch of the family also lost there possession in what today is Slovakia after World War II but has returned for their daughters' weddings to Csicsó (Číčov) since the fall of communism. And thus, also two weddings of Liechtenstein princes took place there.

Liechtenstein MPs Visit Schloss Wilfersdorf

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A delegation of members of Liechtenstein's Landtag, the Principality's parliament, was in Vienna and South Moravia for a working visit between March 16 and March 18. During their visit they were accompanied by Liechtenstein's ambassador to Austria and the Czech Republic, Maria-Pia Kothbauer, Princess of Liechtenstein. 

The grouo of MPs, which also included the President of Parliament Albert Frick, also met with a more familiar princely face to this blog, Prince Constantin. He gave them a tour of Schloss Wilfersdorf in Lower Austria. The castle has belonged to the Princely Family since 1436 and is famous for its wine cellars.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Jeans and One Guillaume at Mérite Jeunesse

Photo: Chronicle.lu
Last night Grand Duke Jean and his youngest son, Prince Guillaume, as well as his youngest grandson, Prince Jean, son of aforementioned Prince Guillaume, were on hand to hand out this year's Mérite Jeunesse at the Forum Geesseknäppchen. While Luxembourg's former Grand Duke is the patron of the Mérite Jeunesse, an organisation and award similiar to The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Prince Guillaume works as the president of the administrative board. The young Prince Jean was probably simply there to join his father and grandfather. Also present was Claude Meisch, Luxembourg's Minister for Education, Children and Youth.

Students Interview Hereditary Prince Alois

A few days ago, Hereditary Prince Alois was interviewed by a group of seven international students studying at the University of Liechtenstein. The aim of their interview series is to draw a picture of Liechtenstein from an internal and external point of view. To do so, they talked a number of political issues. The full interview (in English) can be found here.

Prince Max Meets Crown Prince of Bahrain

Photo: Bahrain News Agency
Prince Max is currently on a visit to Bahrain. In his capacity as CEO of the LGT Group he met with the Crown Prince of the island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, at at Gudaibiya palace to talk finance and business. They also touched on the subjects of Bahrain-Liechtenstein relations, the LGT Group's involvement in the region and ongoing economic reforms in Bahrain. The LGT is the world's largest private banking and asset management group.

Grand Ducal Couple Honors 25th Anniversary of Omega 90

Source: Antoine Morin / Cour grand-ducale
Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa were at the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg to attend the academic session honoring the 25th anniversary of Omega 90.

Also in attendance were Mars di Bartolomeo, the President of the Chamber of Deputies; Romain Schneider, the Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action; Lydia Mutsch, the Minister of Health; and Corinne Cahen, the Minister of Family and Integration and the Greater Region. 

No photos from the event yet, but they'll be added if anything becomes available.

UPDATE: Photo added, with more at the Cour website.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Burg Liechtenstein

Photo: Karl Gruber / Wikimedia Commons
Not many castles in this world can probably pride themselves in being the name giver of an entire country. A country that is about 500 kilometres beeline (that's about 310 miles) away at that. However, Burg Liechtenstein located in Maria Enzersdorf south of Vienna can boast such an unique characteristic. It first gave its name to the noble Liechtenstein family and through them to what today is known as the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Photo: Josef Moser /
Wikimedia Commons
Literally meaning "bright stone castle", the origins of Burg Liechtenstein lie in the 12th century. It was built around the year 1130 as an extensive castle complex and not as often described, a fortified tower featuring a chapel. Its builder was no other than Hugo von Petronell, progenitur of the Princely House of Liechtenstein who later took his name from the castle. A Roman chapel as well as some mostly heavily revised walls from the 12th century are still in existence.

Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the Burg was revised and expanded multiple times. The material was mostly taken from the Römersteinbruch stone pit in Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland famous for the lightness of the stones, hence the name Liechtenstein. During the second half of the 13th century the Liechtenstein family, however, lost possession of the castle based on inheritance and during the following centuries it went through many different hands until it came back into possession of the Liechtensteins, where it remains to this day.

In 1350, the castle was owned by the noble Wallsee family and in 1367, by Ulrich de Pair. In 1384. the Stadecks pledged Burg Liechtenstein to Counts Wilhelm and Hermann of Cilli. Until 1477 it was owned by Count Knight Hans of Holobarzy, when it fell into the hands of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary and Croatia. Later it was also owned at different points in time by Konrad Auer of Herrenkirchen, Holy Roman Emperor Matthias I, the Prüschenk brothers as well as Bartholomäus Freysleben before it was destroyed during the Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire in 1529. Already in 1480, the Burg had been heavily damaged by the Ottomans.

Photo: Josef Moser /
Wikimedia Commons
After the end of the Siege, the remains of the castle were given back to the Freysleben family requiring them to rebuilt it. In 1569, it was owned by Baron Andreas of Pögl, then his brother-in-law Wilhelm of Hofkirchen as well as the Barons of Aichelberg. In 1592, Count Hans of Khevenhüller-Frankenstein received Burg Liechtenstein as a fiefdom. Like his other estates, the castle was administered by Georg Wiesing. Wiesing built a Meierhof, a farm or building occupied by the administrator (the Meier) of a noble or ecclesiastical estate, in place of today's Schloss Liechtenstein. In 1606, the castle was once again heavily damaged during yet another Siege of Vienna under the leadership of Stephan Bocskai. In 1613, the Khevenhüllers received the castle as an allod. However, it was once again destroyed during the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

In 1684, the noble Waffenberg family bought the ruins. In 1777, Baron Josef of Penkler became the owner of Burg Liechtenstein and while he made the castle accessible via staircases and aisles, he did not have the necessary money to carry out renovation works. 22 years after Penkler purchased the castle, he sold it to Prince Stanislaus of Poniantovsky. And in 1806, the castle finally came back into the possession of the family who had once taken its name from the Burg: It was Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein who purchased his family's ancestral home. In the following years, he had a nature park created around the ruined castle. He also commissioned a romantic restoration of the castle, which, however, was halted when architect Joseph Hartmuth died in 1816.

Photo: Karl Gruber / Wikimedia Commons
During the second half of the 19th century, Prince Johann II had Viennese architect Carl Gangolf Kayser rebuilt Burg Liechtenstein in accordance with the ideas of historism. After Kayser's death, his plans were finished by Humbert Walcher Knight of Moltheim and Egon Rheinberger. The works on the castle were finished in 1903.

Towards the end of the Second World War, the Burg was heavily damaged once again and the archives and furnishings looted by the Soviets. Some renovations works on the castle were carried out between 1949 and 1953. Between 1968 and 2007, Burg Liechtenstein was administered by the municipality of Maria Enzersdorf and used by the local boy scouts. As the municipality could not afford the necessary renovation works, the lease was ended in 2007 and the Prince Liechtenstein Foundation, which also owns many other Austrian properties of the Princely Family including the Stadtpalais, the Gartenpalais as well as the Sommerpalais, took over management.

For the following two years, the Burg was closed to the general public due to security concerns. In 2008 and 2009, the castle was renovated and given a new roof. In the spring of the following year, Burg Liechtenstein was once again opened to visitors.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Grand Ducal Couple Visits Festival of Migration, Cultures and Citizenship

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were out and about today visiting the 32nd edition of the Festival des migrations, des cultures et de la citoyenneté at Luxexpo. The festival of migration, cultures and citizenship, which was already also visited by the Hereditary Grand Duke two years ago, features around 400 stands representing literature, music, food, dance and more from countries all over the world. It runs until Sunday evening.

Pictures of the day at Wort and RTL

Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple Celebrates Hospitals Federation

Photo: Alfonso Salgueiro Photography
On Wednesday evening, the Fédération des Hôpitaux luxembourgeois celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg-Kirchberg and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were on hand to celebrate with them. 

The hospitals federation comprises of ten hospitals, which operate a total of 2,730 beds for acute care and average-term stay, including 109 geriatric rehabilitation beds. It employs more than 9,000 staff and doctors. Their anniversary event was used to revisit the history of the hospital sector in Luxembourg and discuss the many challenges of the future.

More pictures at the cour.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Go Social

Photo: Emmanuel Claude / Focalize
On Thursday night, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were among the guests for the 3rd annual 1,2,3 GO SOCIAL award that encourages innovation with a social emphasis. For the event, the Hereditary Grand Duchess wore a repeated dress by Sandro and a pair of earrings I'd love to get a better look at. A few more visuals can be found at the cour and Chronicle.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Grand Duke Henri in Cape Verde - Day 2 and 3

Photo: 2015 SIP / Luc Deflorenne
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Grand Duke Henri wrapped up his official visit to Cape Verde. Highlights of the second and third day of his visit included some sightseeing in Cidade Velha, the old capital of Cape Verde near its current capital Praia, as well as on the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antão on Wednesday, and the signing of a new cooperation agreement between the Luxembourg and Cape Verde. The island nation in the Atlantic ocean has been a preferred partner of the Grand Duchy's foreign aid for many years.

For more information, pictures and videos of the Grand Duke's Cape Verdean adventures, have a look at RTL, Wort #1, Wort #2, Wort #3, Tageblatt, the government and the cour.

Hereditary Prince Receives New Ambassadors

Hereditary Prince Alois received for new ambassadors to Liechtenstein at Schloss Vaduz today. Marios P. Ieronymides from Cyprus, Paulo Tiago Jeronimo da Silva of Portugal, Jorge Alberto Meyer Long of Uruguay and Silvia Marchetti of San Marino all presented their letters of credence to the Principality's regent during their respective audiences. In advance, all of them had met with Liechtenstein's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture, Aurelia Frick.

Prince Felix at the Opening of Waïkues am Norden 2015

Source: Nico Muller / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Yesterday, Prince Felix participated in the official opening of Waïkues am Norden 2015 at Däichhal Ettelbruck.

The event showcased more than 300 wines from 25 winemakers, among them wines from Prince Felix and Princess Claire's vineyard Château Les Crostes. Accompanying Prince Felix at the event was Fernand Etgen, the Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer Protection.

More photos of the event are available at Wort.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Prince Hans-Adam Made an Honorary Professor

Source: Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Today at noon, Prince Hans-Adam II was awarded two titles at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania: honorary professor and honorary senator.

The award was proposed by the university's Faculty of Business to recognize Prince Hans-Adam for his focused efforts in international trade and financial improvements, among other achievements. The official statement from the school reads, in translation: "in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of academic research to develop the classical principles of self-determination, democracy and free international trade, as well as substantial financial support to Romania to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries". See here for the original, in Romanian.

The Faculty of Business lecturer Ioan Alin Nistor, who is standing second from the right in the photo above, presented the award.

Babeș-Bolyai University is the largest university in Romania, with nearly 40,000 students, and is ranked as one of the best higher education institutions in that country.

UPDATE: Some more photos from the Romanian press. It should be noted that Prince Radu was there as well (and photographed above).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stéphanie Visits National History and Art Museum

Photo: MNHA / Éric Chenal
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie paid a visit to the Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art, or simply MNHA, today. Together with Les Amis des Musées d'Art et d'Histoire Luxembourg, she was given a tour of the newly renovated Wiltheim wing of the museum for history and art. While the museum's new wing will be officially opened to the public on March 19, members of Les Amis des Musées d'Art et d'Histoire Luxembourg were given sneak peak of it today. The Hereditary Grand Duchess has been the patron of the friends' association of several state museums since March 2013.

During the last four years, the Wiltheim wing of the MNHA was renovated for around four million euros after it was became apparent in 2008 that the building was liable to collapse. In the future, the renovated wing will house four different exhibitions as well as an Atelier pédagogique for educational workshops for children.

A few visuals of the visit at Wort.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Receive a Pretzel

Source: Cour grand-ducale
Today at the Palais Grand Ducal, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were presented with a pretzel from the Fédération des Patrons Boulangers-Pâtissiers du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, in honor of Bretzelsonndeg 2015.

The pretzel represents an Easter tradition unique to Luxembourg and part of Bretzelsonndeg, or Pretzel Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday of Lent. According to tradition, this Sunday is an opportunity for young men to demonstrate their interest in young ladies by giving them a decorated pastry in the shape of a pretzel. In the event that the young lady reciprocates the interest, she can give the young man a chocolate egg in return, on Easter Sunday. The size of the response gift also tends to correspond to the original: that is, the young lady gives a large egg if the young man has given her a large pretzel cake.

However, the tradition states that everything is reversed during a Leap Year: the young lady presents the pretzel, while the young man presents the chocolate egg.

This particular exchange of gifts may have originated with young people expressing their interest in one another, but it's now more universal, and married couples also participate (with the assumption that, among spouses, the chocolate egg is always given in response to the pretzel).

Official Visit to Cap Verde - Arrival and Day 1

Photo: Pierre Matge / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Last night Grand Duke Henri arrived for his three-day official visit to Cape Verde in the island country in the middle of Atlantic Ocean some 30 minutes early. He and his delegation, which includes Romain Schneider, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, as well as Francine Closener, Secretary of State in the Ministry for the Economy, were welcomed at Praia airport by President Jorge Carlos Fonseca and his wife, Lígia.  
Photo: Pierre Matge / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Although they already arrived last night, the real programme of the official visit kicked off this morning. Thus another official welcome of the Grand Duke at the presidential palace in Praia was in order this morning. It was followed by private talks between Grand Duke Henri and President Fonseca as well as enlarged talks also including the Grand Duke's political delegation.
Photo: Pierre Matge / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
The Luxembourg delegation was then received by the mayor of the capital Praia, Ulisses Correia e Silva, who offered the keys to the city to Grand Duke Henri. In the late morning, the Grand Duke laid a wreath of flowers at a monument dedicated to Amílcar Cabral, founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.
Photo: Pierre Matge / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Afterwards Grand Duke Henri met with the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves. Their exchange also attended by Minister Schneider and Secretary of State Closener was followed by a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in the banquet room of the government palace. After luncheon, the Grand Duke attended a special session of parliament, during which he gave a speech, and also had the chance to meet the President of the Surpreme Court of Justice.
Photo: Pierre Matge / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu

These political meetings were followed by the inauguration of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI), a project co-financed by the Grand Duchy, as well as an economic forum. Grand Duke Henri was also given the chance to discover a bit of the capital of Cape Verde, Praia, by visiting a local market. The day's event will be rounded off by a gala dinner hosted at the presidential palace tonight.
Pictures of yesterday and today at Wort #1, Wort #2, Wort #3, Tageblatt, L'essentiel and the government.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Departs from Luxembourg

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Grand Duke Henri departed Luxembourg earlier today for his three-day official visit to Cape Verde.  The Grand Duke and his delegation including Romain Schneider, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Social Security, and Sport as well as Francine Closener, Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Economy, were seen off at Findel Airport by Laurent Mosar, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, and Corinne Cahen, Minister for Family and Integration.

A news report of the departure plus a country profile of Cape Verde is available at RTL (starting at 12:55). More pictures at Wort and Tageblatt.

Hereditary Grand Duke Hands Out More Diplomas

Photo: Chambre des Métiers / Marc Schmit
For the second Sunday in a row, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was on hand to hand out some diplomas yesterday. This time around the diplomas went to Luxembourg's newest master craftsmen as well as to awardees of the Promotion du Travail. The event took place at the Grand Théâtre. For the occasion, the Hereditary Grand Duke was accompanied by the Minister for Labour Nicolas Schmit and Secretary of State in the Ministry for Children and Youth, Higher Education and Research, and National Education.

RTL has a video of the event (skip ahead to 8:20) and the cour pictures.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Grand Ducal Family Hosts Official Dinner for President Hollande

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
In a bit of a nice surprise, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess hosted an official dinner for French President François Hollande at the palais this evening to round off his official visit. They were also joined for the event by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie fresh off their economic mission to the Middle East

Alas, as this wasn't a full-blown state visit - you know, the three-day kind of thing - there were no tiaras. Here's hoping for the real deal to come up soon though in another alas - the Grand Duchess apparently not joining her husband's official visit to Cabo Verde next week - I guess we will need to wait for a tiara-filled state occasion. (There's always national day coming up in June as well as possibly the wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden but both of those just seem so far away for the tiara-lovers among us.)

More pictures of the dinner at Wort and Tageblatt.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Grand Duchess Attends Conference on Domestic Violence

Photo: Photoneu
Yesterday morning, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was among the guests for a conference entitled "Domestic violence in Luxembourg" at the cultural centre opderschmelz in Dudelange. She was accompanied by the Minister for Equal Opportunities and Minister for Health, Lydia Mutsch. The conference was organised on the occasion of International Women's Day coming up on March 8. Its main aim was to present and discuss the results of a recent study on the matter of domestic violence  by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH). 

More pictures at the cour.

French President Visits Luxembourg

Photo: 2015 SIP / Charles Caratini
Bienvenue, Monsieur le Président: François Hollande, the President of France, was in Luxembourg for an official visit today. He was welcomed by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa with military honours in front of the palais grand-ducal this morning. This was followed by a private meeting in the palace. After the laying of a wreath of flowers at the Monument National de la Solidarité Luxembourgeoise, President Hollande also had political and economic meetings. In the afternoon, he visited SES, a global satellite owner and operator based in Betzdorf, as well as the Belval-branch of the University of Luxembourg. He was accompanied by the Grand Duke for those visits.

Pictures and videos of the day at Wort, Tageblatt, L'essentiel, RTL and the cour.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie Wrap Up Their Trip to the Middle East

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie
with Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa, the Deputy Emir of Qatar /
Source: Wort / MFIN
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie completed their trip to the Middle East on Thursday with a final day of activities in Doha, Qatar.

The goal of the last day was to highlight Fintech opportunities in Islamic finance and establish a collaborative relationship between financial institutions in Luxembourg and the Middle East. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume opened the seminar, which included approximately 100 members of the finance world in Qatar.

The hereditary grand ducal couple then flew out of Hamad International Airport, where Dr. Hamad Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage), Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al-Thani (Qatar's ambassador to Belgium), and Yvette van Eechoud (the Dutch ambassador to Qatar) saw them off.

More photos at Wort.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Prince Hans-Adam Celebrates Birthday with Children

Photo: Elma Korac / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Prince Hans-Adam II turned 70 back on February 14. Today he had a celebration for his birthday with the children of Liechtenstein. Princess Marie was also present for the small party including balloons and jam doughnuts at the Vaduzer Saal in Liechtenstein's capital. The children between the ages of four and eleven gifted the Prince with some 643 drawings, letters and postcards. Many of small artworks also made it into the book Hoi Förscht (Hi Prince in local dialect) published on the occasion of the Prince's birthday. Naturally Prince Hans-Adam was also gifted with one of these books.

Pictures of today's party at Vaterland and Volksblatt.

Guillaume and Stéphanie in Qatar

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume is received by Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad
Al-Thani / Source: Qatar News Agency (QNA)
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Doha, Qatar, where they were received by the Deputy Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Among today's activities, Guillaume and Stéphanie visited several local institutions. Among the events was a tour of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which highlighted ongoing scientific research in sustainability programs.

Additionally, the couple visited the Museum of Islamic Art and viewed exhibits featuring early Islamic art in varying media as well as a new exhibit on legendary animals within Islamic art. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was presented with a book about the museums collections.

Guillaume and Stéphanie were accompanied by Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al-Thani, Qatar's ambassador to Belgium, during both visits.

QNA photo, with detail, here.

A Twitter photo, below, of the grand ducal couple's visit to the Qatar Foundation.