The Head of State

The residences

According to Article 44 of the Constitution, the Grand Duke has residences at his disposal to carry out his duties. The Grand Ducal Palace serves as his place of work and Berg Castle as his residence.

© Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli
The Grand Ducal Palace

The Grand Ducal Palace has been the official residence of the Grand Duke and the place where he carries out his duties for over a century. Located at the heart of Luxembourg City, it embodies the closeness between the Grand Ducal Family and the country’s population.

From city hall to government building

On 11 June 1554, a fire destroyed a large part of town, when lightning struck the Church of the Franciscans and ignited the gunpowder that was stored in the attic. It was only in 1572 that city architect Adam Roberti started the reconstruction work on the city hall. The work was completed in 1573.

In 1683 and 1684, the city hall once again sustained heavy damage during the siege of Luxembourg by French troops. During the bombardments, its cellars were being used by the population as shelters.

In 1728, the city was able to reinvest in repair work. In 1741, the city hall was extended by adding a building known as La Balance. When the French administration occupied the city from 1795 to 1814, the city hall became the headquarters of the Département des Forêts (Forestry Department).

From 1817, the King’s governor lived and worked in the city hall, then known as the Hôtel de gouvernement. In 1848, it became the seat of Luxembourg’s first Government. It was extended between 1825 and 1856, thanks to the Government’s acquisition of several houses situated around the building. The building also housed the Chamber of Deputies until 1860, when the Deputies were able to move into their own building to the right of the Palace. The newly created Council of State was located on the second floor from 1857 onwards, next to the Musée archéologique (Archeological Museum), the Service agricole (Agricultural Department) and the Commission de l’Instruction publique (Commission for Public Instruction). In 1883, at the occasion of the visit to Luxembourg of King Grand Duke William III of the Netherlands and his wife, the rooms were refurbished.

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

The Grand Ducal coach in front of the main entrance of the Palace at the Place du Marché-aux-Herbes, Luxembourg City, 1900s

The Grand Duke’s residence

From 1890, the former city hall became the exclusive residence of Grand Duke Adolphe. The Palace underwent major renovation work and an additional wing was built in the courtyard, under the supervision of the Belgian architect Gédéon Bordiau and the state architect Charles Arendt. The Grand Duke bore most of the costs and had furniture brought in from his residences in Bieberich.

Vue de la façade principale du Palais grand-ducal - 1890

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

The Grand Ducal Palace undergoing restoration in 1895

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

Popular parade in front of the Grand Ducal Palace with members of the Grand Ducal Family on the balcony – with Grand Duchess Regent Maria Ana in 1909

During World War II, the Grand Ducal Palace was seized by the German occupying forces and converted into a concert hall and Schlossschenke (tavern). Furniture, jewellery and works of art were looted. Swastika flags were displayed on the facade. It was not until 14 April 1945 that Luxembourgers were once again able to cheer the Grand Duchess on the balcony of the Palace, which had become the architectural symbol of the Monarchy. The interior of the Palace was meticulously renovated in 1964 by Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.

The facade of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
View on the facade of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
A turret of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
View of the facade of the Grand Ducal Palace © José-Noel Doumont

View of the facade of the Grand Ducal Palace

 

Between 1991 and 1996, major renovation work restored the Palace to its former glory.

These days, the Grand Ducal Palace serves as the Grand Duke’s workplace. The administration of the Maison du Grand-Duc is also located within the Palace and its annexes.

During the summer, the Palace is open to the public and visits are organised by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office. All proceeds go to the Fondation du Grand-Duc et de la Grande-Duchesse.

Visiting the Grand Ducal Palace
Aerial views of the Grand Ducal Palace
Aerial views of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
Aerial views of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
Aerial views of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
Aerial views of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
 
Inside the Grand Ducal Palace
The salle d’armes (weapons room) of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The salle d’armes (weapons room)

The petite salle d’armes (small weapons room) of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
The petite salle d’armes (small weapons room)
The escalier d’honneur (the grand staircase) of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The escalier d’honneur (the grand staircase)

The reception hall on the first floor of the Grand Ducal Palace © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The reception hall on the first floor

The dining room of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The dining room

The ministers’ office of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The ministers’ office

The card room of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue
The card room
The King’s room of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The King’s room

The yellow room of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The yellow room

The salle des fêtes (ballroom) of the Palais grand-ducal © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

The salle des fêtes (ballroom)

 
Berg Castle
© Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

Set in a privileged location overlooking the Alzette valley, Berg Castle has since the Middle Ages gone through numerous transformations and even demolitions. The architecture of the building has remained unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century. Since World War II, the castle has served as the exclusive residence of the Grand Duke.

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

View from the gardens of the former façade of Berg Castle in 1895

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

View of the inner courtyard of the former Berg Castle in 1895

The history of Berg Castle

The earliest mention of a lord of Berg(he) dates back to 1311.

Berg Castle changed hands frequently until King Grand Duke William II purchased the estate from Baron Claude du Pasquier in 1845. During the reign of William III, the castle was renovated in the neo-gothic style.

Then, in 1891, Grand Duke Adolphe purchased the King’s private estates. The same year, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume IV settled in Berg Castle, where six daughters were born of his marriage with the Infanta Maria Ana of Braganza. On his accession to the throne, Guillaume IV had the old castle demolished and replaced it with a building better suited to his needs. The plans for the new castle were drawn up by Munich architect Max Ostenrieder and executed by the Luxembourg architect Pierre Funck-Eydt. Work started in 1907 and was completed in 1911. Since Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, all sovereigns lived here during their reigns.

© Collection Cour grand-ducale / C. Krantz

Start of demolition work on the old castle in 1907

© Collection Cour grand-ducale

Demolition and reconstruction of Berg Castle, 1910

Berg Castle in the 20th century

The Luxembourg State acquired the castle in 1934 and put it at the disposal of the Grand Ducal Family. The castle, which is surrounded by a park, consists of around one hundred rooms, including a large number of official apartments.

During World War II, the Nazis set up an elite school for young girls in the castle. The transformations they imposed caused great damage and, like the Grand Ducal Palace, the furniture and many works of art were looted. Even today, bullet holes from the war can still be seen on the facade on the garden side of Berg Castle.

© Private collection

Photograph of Berg Castle in the 1930s

Berg Castle after its reconstruction in 1919

During the restoration work undertaken after the war, Grand Duchess Charlotte and her family moved to Fischbach Castle until 1964. From 1964 to 2000, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte resided at Berg Castle.

Berg Castle was partially renovated after Grand Duke Henri acceded to the throne.

Given the Grand Duke’s concern for the environment, the maintenance of the park is based on ecological and sustainable principles without the use of pesticides and with respect for nature.

 

As part of the National Day festivities, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess invite people from Luxemburgish society to receptions in the castle gardens.

Outside views of Berg Castle
Winter impressions of Berg Castle © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

Winter impressions of Berg Castle

Exterior view of Berg Castle - Autumn © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli
Exterior view of Berg Castle
Berg Castle by night © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

Berg Castle by night

View of the castle gardens © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

View of the castle gardens

The gardens of Berg Castle © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

The gardens of Berg Castle

Aerial view of the Berg Castle gardens © Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli

Aerial view of the Berg Castle gardens

 
Picture gallery of floral decorations and gardens
Fischbach Castle
© Cour grand-ducale / Sophie Margue
Fischbach Castle

The Fischbach estate is one of the oldest in Luxembourg and seems to date back to the time when the property belonged to the Echternach Abbey. The first known Lord, Udo of Fischbach, is recorded in 1050. Like Berg Castle, it had many owners and was subjected to transformations and even demolitions, as when it was set on fire by the Poles in the army of Duke François of Lorraine in 1635.

In 1850, King William III acquired the estate and ordered the demolition of the majority of the industrial installations that had been added when the previous owner, industrialist Auguste Garnier, had granted ownership to the company S.A. Belge des Hauts Fourneaux. In 1891, Grand Duke Adolphe became the owner.

During World War II, the Nazis converted the castle into a rest home for artists and called it Künstlerheim Fischbach. Much of the furniture and works of art were looted.

Fischbach Castle remained Grand Duchess Charlotte’s favourite residence from 1945 until the end of her days. Crown Prince Henri and his wife lived in the Castle from 1987 to 2000 and Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte moved in in 2002.

Since the death of Grand Duke Jean in 2019, Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie reside at the Castle with their son, Prince Charles, born in 2020.

Unlike the other two residences, Fischbach Castle is not a State property. However, in accordance with the Grand Ducal Order of 9 October 2020 establishing the Maison du Grand-Duc, maintenance and renovation works are paid for by the State for the periods during which the Castle serves as residence to the Crown Prince, the Lieutenant-Représentant or the former Grand Duke.

View on the main entrance to Fischbach Castle © Cour grand-ducale / Sophie Margue

The main entrance to Fischbach Castle

Wide angle view of Fischbach Castle © Cour grand-ducale / Sophie Margue
View of Fischbach Castle
Detail of the facade of Fischbach Castle © Cour grand-ducale / Sophie Margue

Detail of the facade of Fischbach Castle

Fischbach Castle in the snow © Collection Cour grand-ducale / Jochen Herling
Fischbach Castle in the snow
Postcard from Fischbach Castle © Collection Cour grand-ducale
Postcard from Fischbach Castle
Postcard from Fischbach Castle © Collection Cour grand-ducale

Postcard from Fischbach Castle

 
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