History

The turbulent history of Luxembourg's palace

Photo: Shutterstock

Today we know it as the Grand Ducal Palace, but did you know when the building was first constructed around 1418, it was actually Luxembourg's town hall?

It was in 1418 the building was mentioned in official documents for the first time as the town hall, however just over a century later, the building and much of Luxembourg city was destroyed when lightning struck the Church of the Franciscan monks and ignited a stockpile gunpowder stored in the basement.

The explosion was powerful enough to set the town hall and many other buildings alight.

It wasn't until 1573 the town hall was reconstructed, when city architect Adam Roberti was asked to complete the task.

Photo: Shutterstock

However, fate hit the building once again in 1683 as it was attacked by soldiers of French King Louis XIV as the  cellars were used to hide the City's inhabitants during attacks.

Once again the building had to be restored, and for the next two and half centuries it was used to house first the government commission and later the royal family.

As if the turbulent past wasn't enough, the palace was converted into a concert hall and tavern by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Damage was done to much of the furniture and rich art collections, sets of oriental and Dutch china and precious vases were removed, but fortunately recovered later.

Since 1964 the interior has been regularly decorated to match modern tastes and standards of comfort, and it was completely renovated again between 1991 and 1996,

It now serves as the official residence of the Grand Duke, where he and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, welcome  foreign heads of states and other guests of the family. However their private residence is Chateau de Colmar-Berg

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