Being a small country with a population of just over 600,000, Luxembourg is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, the range of cultural influences from neighbouring Germany, Belgium, and France make for a country which is home to a fascinating blend of architectural and cultural sites. We’ve chosen 5 which make for essential visiting for anyone with an interest in Luxembourg’s fascinating and multifaceted history.
1. Luxembourg National Museum of Military History
The Luxembourg National Museum of Military History in Diekirch focuses particularly on the World War II conflict known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Using a combination of life-size dioramas and its comprehensive collection of US and national items, weapons, equipment, photos and maps, the Luxembourg National Museum of Military History offers an insight into both the military and civilian aspects of this battle. In addition to this main exhibit, the Luxembourg National Museum of Military History also offers up a more general history of its army.
2. Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle in Luxembourg is a picturesque medieval castle begun in the eleventh century. Only completed in the fourteenth century, Vianden Castle became the home of the local counts and countesses.
Interestingly, the site of Vianden Castle actually has a history dating back to Roman times, when it was the location of a fort or ‘castellum’. While several aspects of Vianden Castle seen today date back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, this magnificent site was the subject of extensive renovations in the twentieth century.
3. Bock Casemates
The Bock Casemates are a series of subterranean tunnels and passageways, the first of which were built in 1644, under the Spanish, later being expanded by the French and the Austrians. Delving down to a depth of up to 131 feet underground and spanning 14 miles at their peak, the Bock Casemates were part of Luxembourg’s famed defences.
Today, the Bock Casemates are open to visitors, who can tour them and learn about their past. They also form part of the World Heritage site of the City of Luxembourg.
4. General Patton Memorial Museum - Ettelbruck
The General Patton Memorial Museum in Ettelbruck is a World War II museum focusing on the German invasion of Luxembourg in 1940 and its subsequent liberation by US troops in 1944.
With a range of weapons, equipment, information boards and over a thousand documents and photos, the General Patton Memorial Museum chronicles this episode in history. The museum’s namesake is General George S. Patton Jr., the commander who led the 3rd U.S. Army in freeing Luxembourg.
5. Grand Ducal Palace
Located in the south of Luxembourg City, the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is where he performs most of his duties as head of state of the Grand Duchy.
Dating from 1572, the palace has been the headquarters of the Luxembourg Government since 1817. It was largely ruined during the German occupation in World War Two when the Nazis used it as a concert hall and tavern. It was then redecorated in the 1960s, and today is a comfortable and modern residence.