About Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle (Château De Vianden) in Luxembourg is a picturesque medieval castle begun in the eleventh century. Completed in the fourteenth century, Vianden Castle became the home of the local counts and countesses.
Interestingly, the site of Vianden Castle 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.
History of Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle is one of the largest fortified castles west of the river Rhine. It dominates the town of Vianden, being 310 metres in height and 90 metres long, and overlooks the River Our around 100 metres below.
Vianden Castle was built on the site of an ancient Roman castellum, with the basement appearing to have been a Carolingian refuge.
In around 1100, a square keep was built as well as a kitchen, chapel, and residential rooms which indicate that an aristocratic family resided there at the time. During the first half of the 12th century, a new residential tower and prestigious decagonal chapel were added, and the palace itself was extended.
The Counts of Vianden added a new two-storey palace with a grand gallery connecting it to the chapel, which indicates that they sought to rival the House of Luxembourg. The last great change took place in the middle of the 13th century, when the entire castle was adapted into a Gothic style.
Finally, the Nassau Mansion with its Renaissance-style banqueting hall and bedroom was built by Prince Maurice of Orange-Nassau-Vianden in 1621, and replaced a damaged side wing of the 11th century keep.
The castle was effectively abandoned by the Counts of Vianden in the 16th century until a number of political alliances with the House of Nassau meant that the Count of Nassau took an interest in it in 1564.
He left Vianden Castle in 1566 to lead the Dutch revolt against King Philip II of Spain, which meant that Philip II confiscated it and bestowed it to the Earl of Luxembourg.
In 1820, King William I sold the castle to an alderman, who sold off different parts of the castle, and left it to soon become a ruin.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, attempts to reconstruct the castle were interrupted by the Belgian Revolution of 1830, the First World War, and the Second World War. Finally, the castle was restored via an enormous project that lasted until 1990.
Vianden Castle Today
Today, the castle is open to visitors throughout the year from 10am ’til 4pm. Visitors can enjoy a number of exhibits, as well as note the castle’s history via the combination of both ancient and modern architecture.
Getting to Vianden Castle
From the centre of Vianden, the castle is a 15 minute walk via N17. It also takes 2 minutes by car via the same route.
Luxembourg Historic Sites
With a culture that is highly intertwined with its neighbours, Luxembourg is a country with a host of fascinating historic sites.