Last updated

Vianden overview.jpg
Vianden from above
Blason de Vianden.svg
Coat of arms
Map Vianden.PNG
Map of Luxembourg with Vianden highlighted in orange, and the canton in dark red
Coordinates: 49°56′01″N6°12′27″E / 49.933611°N 6.2075°E / 49.933611; 6.2075 Coordinates: 49°56′01″N6°12′27″E / 49.933611°N 6.2075°E / 49.933611; 6.2075
Country Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg
Canton Vianden
  Total9.67 km2 (3.73 sq mi)
Area rank 96th of 102
Highest elevation
515 m (1,690 ft)
  Rank 15th of 102
Lowest elevation
198 m (650 ft)
  Rank 24th of 102
  Rank 74th of 102
  Density210/km2 (540/sq mi)
  Density rank 35th of 102
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
LAU 2 LU0000903

Vianden (Luxembourgish : Veianen) is a commune with town status in the Oesling, north-eastern Luxembourg, with over 1,800 inhabitants. It is the capital of the canton of Vianden, which is part of the district of Diekirch. Vianden lies on the Our river, near the border between Luxembourg and Germany.

Communes of Luxembourg

Luxembourg's 102 Communes conform to LAU Level 2 and are the country's lowest administrative divisions.

The Oesling or Ösling is a region covering the northern part of both the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, within the greater Ardennes area that also covers parts of Belgium and France. The Oesling covers 32% of the territory of Luxembourg; to the south of the Oesling lies the Gutland, which covers the remaining 68% of the Grand Duchy as well as the southern part of the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm.

Luxembourg Grand duchy in western Europe

Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the four official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation's three official languages: French, German, and the national language of Luxembourgish. The repeated invasions by Germany, especially in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union.


As of 2013, the town of Vianden, which lies in the east of the commune, has a population of 1,811. It is known for its impressive castle and beautiful location in the Our valley.

Vianden Castle castle

Vianden Castle, located in Vianden in the north of Luxembourg, is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine. With origins dating from the 10th century, the castle was built in the Romanesque style from the 11th to 14th centuries. Gothic transformations and trimmings were added at the end of this period. A Renaissance mansion was added in the 17th century but thereafter the castle was allowed to fall into ruins. It has, however, recently been fully restored and is open to visitors.


County of Vianden

Grafschaft Vianden
4th century–1414
Status State of the Holy Roman Empire
Historical era Middle Ages
4th century
 Passed to Sponheim
Succeeded by
County of Sponheim Wappen Starkenburg.svg

The origins of Vianden date back to the Gallo-Roman age when there was a castellum on the site of the present castle. The original name of Vianden was Viennensis. The valley was covered in vineyards in Roman times, the first historical reference to Vianden was in 698 when there is a record of a gift in the form of a vineyard in Monte Viennense made by Saint Irmina to the Abbey of Echternach. [1] Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by Philip II, count of Vianden, from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang, and who was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange. [2]

Castellum Small tower or a aqueduct tank in ancient Rome

A castellum in Latin is usually:

Abbey of Echternach monastery

The Abbey of Echternach is a Benedictine monastery in the town of Echternach, in eastern Luxembourg. The Abbey was founded in the 7th century by St Willibrord, the patron saint of Luxembourg. For three hundred years, it benefited from the patronage of a succession of rulers, and was the most powerful institution in Luxembourg.

House of Orange-Nassau branch of the European House of Nassau

The House of Orange-Nassau, a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.

In the Middle Ages, Vianden's craftsmen were recognised for their skills as tanners, drapers, weavers, barrelmakers, masons, locksmiths and goldsmiths. In 1490, they created guilds for their various trades. Over the years pig-farming and leathermaking became the major industry with the establishment of two tanneries at the end of the 19th century which finally closed in the mid-1950s.

Vianden Castle Vianden castle.jpg
Vianden Castle

The castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and became the seat of the counts of Vianden. It was further developed until the 18th century but with the departure of the Counts of Luxembourg to the Netherlands combined with the effects of fire and an earthquake, it slowly deteriorated. The final blow came in 1820 when William I of the Netherlands sold it to a local merchant who in turn sold off its contents and masonry piecemeal, reducing it to a ruin. There were several attempts at restoration but these were hampered by problems of ownership. Still, the chapel which forms part of it was restored in 1849 by Prince Henry of the Netherlands, [3] and during one of his visits to the town Victor Hugo lived in the castle for three months in 1871. [4] Not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jean ceded the castle to the State, was it possible to undertake large-scale work, most of which has now been completed.

Counts of Vianden Wikimedia list article

The Counts of Vianden, ancestors of the House of Orange-Nassau, were associated with the castle of Vianden in Luxembourg.

William I of the Netherlands King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg 1815 - 1840

William I was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Prince Henry of the Netherlands (1820–1879) son of King William II of the Netherlands

Prince William Frederick Henry of the Netherlands was the third son of King William II of the Netherlands and his wife, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia. He was born at Soestdijk Palace.

Vianden is also remembered as the site of multiple battles in World War II. In November 1944 it saw fierce combat between the Luxembourg Resistance and German forces. It was the last place in Luxembourg to be freed from the Germans in February 1945 when the Americans completed Luxembourg's liberation. A memorial to the west of the town, overlooking the castle, commemorates this final battle.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Battle of Vianden

The battle of Vianden took place November 19, 1944 in the small town of Vianden, in northern Luxembourg. It was one of the most important battles of the Luxembourg Resistance during World War II.

When Luxembourg was invaded and annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940, a national consciousness started to come about. From 1941 onwards, the first resistance groups, such as the Letzeburger Ro'de Lé'w or the PI-Men, were founded. Operating underground, they secretly worked against the German occupation, helping to bring political refugees and those trying to avoid being conscripted into the German forces across the border, and put out patriotic leaflets encouraging the population of Luxembourg to pull through.

The first Boeing 747-8F built, RC501, is named "City of Vianden" and is operated by Cargolux Airlines.


Vianden is a 47 kilometres (29 miles) drive from Luxembourg town. It can also be reached by bus from Diekirch or Clervaux which have rail connections to the city of Luxembourg. There are also buses to Bitburg in Germany. Many visitors arrive by bicycle taking the signposted cycle tracks from the south along the Our valley.


Like the city of Luxembourg, Vianden (altitude ca. 200 m) has a temperate climate with warm summers (average day temperature around 24°C, on occasion as high as 35 °C) and chilly winters (daytime average 5 °C but sometimes as low as −15 °C at night). Rainfall is moderate, but on average it rains less than 10 days per month. The prevailing wind is south-westerly. The summer evenings are particularly pleasant, often with temperatures of around 25 °C until 11 pm. Very occasionally there are short periods of drought but the vegetation seldom loses its rich green for very long.

Daylight extends from about 5 am to 10.30 pm in June and from 8 am to 4.30 pm in December.

In the summer, temperatures can be quite warm and in the case that the preceding winter is particularly mild, there is a higher chance that insect populations will over-reproduce. During these summers, fruit fly and mosquito populations increase significantly becoming a nuisance for residents and tourists.


The scenic atmosphere and various local attractions have made Vianden a popular tourist destination in Luxembourg with many tens of thousands of visitors every year, especially from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. With its 14 hotels, four campsites and youth hostel, there is a wide selection of accommodation. In addition, Vianden benefits from the large numbers of day-trippers who take advantage of its restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops and sports facilities. The economy is however not without problems. While the hydro-electric pumping plant continues directly and indirectly to provide employment for the local population, the closure of the Electrolux plant a couple of years ago has resulted in a considerable loss of jobs. The commune is now planning to encourage the establishment of skilled craft industries in the area by making land available for development. [5]


View of the town from the chairlift Vianden-chairlift.jpg
View of the town from the chairlift

Vianden is one of Luxembourg's main tourist centres with large numbers of holidaymakers and local visitors at all times of the year. In particular, the recently restored castle set spectactularly on the rocks above the town has become a museum which traces its history and its links with the royal families of Europe back to the Middle Ages. Then there are links with Victor Hugo who visited Luxembourg in 1862 and 1865 and spent a longer period in Vianden in 1871. His sketches and letters can be seen in the museum located in the house where he stayed next to the bridge over the Our. There is also a museum of arts and crafts (Musée d'Art rustique) and a doll and toy museum (Musée de la Poupée et du Jouet).

But many people just visit Vianden to wander through its hilly, historic streets or as a centre for walking, camping or cycling in the north of Luxembourg. There is a pleasant cycle route up the Sauer and Our valleys to Vianden and there are many signposted walks in the area.

During the summer months, a chairlift operates from the banks of the river in the lower part of the town taking you high above the castle with magnificent views over the landscape.

Vianden also has a number of annual events and celebrations. The most famous of these is the nut market in October when the local walnuts are on sale together with walnut cakes, walnut confectionery, walnut brandy and walnut liqueurs.

Finally, there is an interesting attraction a few kilometers to the north of Vianden, the Vianden Pumped Storage Plant, which provides pumped-storage hydroelectricity storage and generation systems to benefit from the surplus electric power at night, and provide extra energy during peak hours.

Historic monuments

In addition to the castle, Vianden has a number of interesting historic monuments.

Coat of arms

The arms of Vianden (see top right-hand box) have not changed since 1288 when Godefroid I adopted the arms of Louvain-Perwez. The city was granted the right to use the same arms sometime during the 14th century. The arms were registered in the armorial général de France in 1696 by order of the King of France. [6]

Famous people

Vianden's Victor Hugo Museum Vianden-hugo-museum.JPG
Vianden's Victor Hugo Museum

Many royal families and heads of state have associations with Vianden or have at least visited it. However, several other figures are worthy of note:

Twin towns — sister cities

Vianden is twinned with: [9] [10]

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Mother Yolanda of Vianden, O.P., (1231–1283) was the youngest daughter of Count Henry I of Vianden and Margaret, Marchioness of Namur. She joined the Dominican monastery in Marienthal, Luxembourg, against the wishes of her parents when she was very young. She later became its devout prioress and is now a legend in the history of that nation.

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  1. Jean Milmeister quoting Edmond de la Fontaine in Vianden, Cité médiévale, ISBN   3-88957-036-4
  2. Genealogy of the House Orange-Nassau; retrieved 12 January 2007
  3. PD-icon.svg  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vianden". Encyclopædia Britannica . 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–17.
  5. Artisant et Commerce in Déclaration du collège échevinal pour la période législative 2005-2011, Commune de Vianden Archived 2007-02-06 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 15 January 2007
  6. Dr Jean-Claude Loutsch, Armorial Communal du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Luxembourg 1989; pp248 and 249. ISBN   2-87969-000-5.
  7. Iölanda, anonymous poem in English based on the life of the countess. Archived June 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine D'Land Luxembourg. Retrieved 15 January 2007
  8. Chisholm 1911.
  9. "Villes jumelées". (in French). Compiègne. Retrieved 2019-09-04.
  10. "Jumelages". (in French). Huy. Retrieved 2019-09-04.