Seeing as Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world, it follows that it is the only country with a Grand Ducal Palace. The royal palace opens its doors to the public for a few weeks during the summer, when visitors can experience the lavish interior of this iconic building first-hand. You are invited to climb the stairs of honor, step inside the Grand Duke’s office, see where state banquets are held, and admire the artwork.
A symbol of Luxembourg’s unity and stability, the Grand Duke’s official town residence is easy to stumble across in the heart of the city center. Its intricate stone facade sits elegantly among the lively pedestrian streets around the rue des Marchés-aux-Herbes. Originally built in the 16th century as a city hall, it has had more than a few transformations over the years. Today’s structure exhibits some of the finest Flemish renaissance architecture in Luxembourg.
The building has been home to the dukes and duchesses of Luxembourg since 1890, although during the World War II Nazi occupation, it was used as a beer and concert hall, and much of the original art and furniture were destroyed. Grand Duchess Charlotte redecorated the rooms in 1960, but it was only fully renovated in the 1990s.
For the people of Luxembourg, the palace embodies the sense of national independence; for historians, it represents a component of continuity in the working of municipal and national administrative powers through centuries of foreign domination or independence. Art lovers view its facade as a reflection of the influence of Hispano-Moorish style in our region, while tourists see it as a picturesque monument where the Sovereign resides. The visitor sees an edifice, evocative of a rich past, where many of the official activities of the Head of State take place nowadays. Two essential aspects of a constitutional monarchy, the Sovereign and the Chamber of Deputies, find themselves neighbors in the same architectural complex.
The Grand Ducal Family
The Grand Duke represents Luxembourg’s identity. He is the symbol of the country’s unity and independence. The current sovereign, Grand Duke Henri, succeeded his father, Grand Duke Jean, on October 7th, 2000. Grand Duke Jean acceded to the throne on November 12th, 1964, after the abdication of Grand Duchess Charlotte. He died on April 23rd, 2019, at the age of 98. His loss was deeply mourned by the people of Luxembourg.
Grand Duke Henri is the current Head of State and is considered the cornerstone of the institutional system while respecting the maxim that “the Sovereign reigns but does not govern”. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa is involved in numerous associations and initiatives both in Luxembourg and abroad.
Luxembourg’s National Day is on June 23rd, and when the festivities begin the day before June, members of the Grand Ducal Family wave to the crowds from the Palace.
Visit the Grand Ducal Palace on guided tours organized by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office in July and August.