History in Luxembourg city

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The history of Lucilinburhuc (i.e. Luxembourg) starts in the year 963, when Siegfried, Count of the Ardennes, and founder of the Luxembourg dynasty, had a castle built on the territory of the present-day capital of Luxembourg. This castle was the origin of the establishment of a town, which later developed into a formidable fortress, known by the name of 'Gibraltar of the North'. At its height, the fortress was girdled by three ring-walls studded with 24 forts and linked underground by a 23 kilometre network of Casemates.

After a long period of foreign sovereignty (Burgundian/ Spanish/ French/ Austrian), the Congress of Vienna settled the destiny of the country by raising it to the rank of Grand Duchy and by giving it as personal property to the King of the Netherlands William I of Orange-Nassau. The personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands lasted until 1890.

On the 11th of May 1867, the Treaty of London was signed. This treaty reaffirmed Luxembourg's territorial integrity and the political autonomy, which had already been granted by the Treaty of Vienna in 1839. Furthermore, Luxembourg was declared permanently neutral and the great powers agreed to guarantee and to protect the neutrality of the Grand Duchy. Since 1890, when the Crown of the Grand Duchy passed to the elder branch of the House of Nassau, Luxembourg has had its own dynasty.

Despite its neutrality, Luxembourg was occupied twice by German troops during the two World Wars. The Battle of the Bulge was to a great extent fought on Luxembourg territory. In 1948, the country gave up its neutrality to join the various economic, political and military organisations of Europe. Already forming a close economic union with Belgium since 1921, the Grand Duchy is a founder member of the EU and was host to the first European institutions in 1953.

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