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Balmoral International Group - Luxembourg Tourism

Balmoral International Group is an online tourism magazine dedicated to all the sights and places of Luxembourg. We keep our blogs updated with fresh tourist destinations that can be found in Luxembourg.
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Vianden (LuxembourgishVeianen) is with over 1,800 inhabitants, tourist tradition for more than a hundred years.  Lies on the Our river. This is near the border between Luxembourg and Germany.  Known for its impressive castle and beautiful location in the Our valley. It is a commune with city status in north-eastern Luxembourg,  the Oesling,  the capital of the canton of Vianden, a part of the district of Diekirch.  Embedded in the splendid landscape of the Ardennes, Vianden hat.  It  is a 47 kilometres (29 miles) drive from Luxembourg city. It can also be reached by bus from  Clervaux orDiekirch which have rail connections to Luxembourg city. There are also buses to Bitburg in Germany. Many visitors arrive by bicycle from the south along  the valley taking the signposted cycle tracks.

Climate

Less than 10 days per month on average it rains. Vianden (altitude ca. 200 m) has and chilly winters (daytime average 5 °C but sometimes as low as −15 °C at night).  a temperate climate with warm summers (average day temperature around 24°C, on occasion as high as 35 °C) Rainfall is moderate.  The vegetation seldom loses its rich green for very long. south-westerly  is where the prevailing wind is. Often around 25 °C temperatures of until 11 pm the summer evenings are particularly pleasant. Very occasionally there are short periods of drought. Daylight extends from about 5 am to 10.30 pm in June and from 8 am to 4.30 pm in December.

Like the famous French poet Victor Hugo.

Thousands of visitors are charmed each year by:

  1. The narrow and paved lanes
  2. The gothic churches
  3. The ramparts and fortified towers of the small medieval town
  4. Dominated by the magnificent, restored castle.
  5. Well-maintained tracks
  6. Offers spectacular panoramic views
  7. Inviting for the the passionate walkers to meet the fauna and flora in the wide forests and narrow valleys.

History

The origins of Vianden which has the original name of Viennensis, date back to the Gallo-Roman age when there was a castellum on the site of the present castle. In the year of 698, it was the first historical reference to Vianden when there is a record of a gift made by Saint Irmina in the form of a vineyard in Monte Viennense  to the Abbey of Echternach.

Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by the count of Vianden, Philip II.  He was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange,  from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang.

In the Middle Ages, Vianden’s craftsmen were recognized for their skills as:

  1. Tanners
  2. Drapers
  3. Weavers
  4. Barrel makers
  5. Masons
  6. Locksmiths

Over the years leather making 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

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.

Victor Hugo lived in the castle for three months in 1871. Not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jeanceded the castle to the State, was it possible to undertake large-scale work, most of which has now been completed.

Vianden is also remembered as the last place in Luxembourg to be freed from the Germans in World War II in February 1945 when the Americans completed Luxembourg’s liberation.(See also the Battle of Vianden). A memorial to the west of the town, overlooking the castle, commemorates this final battle.

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

.Historic monuments

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

  • The Hockelsturor belltower (1603) on a rock close to the castle was originally part of the fortifications.
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Hockelstur, the 1603 bell tower, Vianden

  • The ramparts which have been partly restored.
  • The Church of the Trinitarians is one of the finest expressions of Gothic art in Luxembourg, with two parallel naves and the adjacent cloister. Built entirely in 1248. The main altar, made in 1758 in Rococo style, is the work of the artist Michel Weiler. Beside the church, the former cloister of the Trinitarians (1250). The recumbent effigy of Marie de Spanheim (approx. 1400) preserves the memory of the last descendant of the Counts of Vianden.  It was built by Count Henry I in thanks to the Trinitarians who arranged for the release Count Frederic II, his father, who had been captured during a crusade.  In 1644, The large choir was added.
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Trinitarian church and cloister Vianden

  • The feudal justice of former times, Cross of Justice close to the Church of the Trinitarians recalling the chartering of Vianden in 1308 by Philip II.
  • The towered castle housesbuilt for the nobility including the City Hall (1579) and the house where the pharmacy is now situated (1475).
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Towered Castle House

  • The Church of St Nicholas (13th century) partly destroyed by fire in 1723 and rebuilt the following year.
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Church of St Nicholas

 

Coat of arms

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Coat of arms

By order of the King of France, the arms were registered in the armorial général de France in 1696. During the 14th century the city was granted the right to use the same arms sometime. The arms of Vianden when Godefroid I adopted the arms of Louvain-Perwez have not changed since 1288.

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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:

1231–83 : Yolande or Yolanda of Vianden, who joined the Convent of Marienthal against the wishes of her parents when she was very young, youngest daughter of Count Henry I, and later became its devout prioress, now a legend in Luxembourg’s history.

1802–85 : Victor Hugo  who stayed in Vianden on several occasions between 1862 and 1871, recording its beauty and setting in prose, poetry and sketches. Hugo did much to promote the attractions of Vianden to the outside world, the famous French author.

1823–91:  Edmond de la Fontaine , Luxembourg’s national poet, who also wrote Vianden’s first travel guide, otherwise known as Dicks.

1880–1915 : René Engelmann , established the basic grammar of the Luxembourgish dialect, a novelist and linguist, later to become a national language.

Attraction Today

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View of the town from the chairlift

Vianden is one of Luxembourg’s main tourist centres.  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. It is with large numbers of holidaymakers and local visitors at all times of the year.

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:

  1. Hilly
  2. Historic streets
  3. As a centre for walking
  4. Camping
  5. Cycling

All in the north of Luxembourg with a pleasant cycle route up the Sauer and Our valleys to Vianden and many signposted walks in the area.

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

Vianden also has a number of annual events and celebrations,  Nut market in October.  The local walnuts are on sale together:

  1. Walnut cakes
  2. Walnut confectionary
  3. Walnut brandy
  4. Walnut liqueurs

Finally, there is an interesting attraction a few kilometers to the north of Vianden:

Vianden Pumped Storage Plant – provides extra energy during peak hours and pumped-storage hydroelectricity storage and generation systems to benefit from the surplus electric power at night.

Local economy

Vianden became the jewel of Luxembourg’s tourist industry:

  1. 14 hotels
  2. Four campsites
  3. Youth hostel
  4. Wide selection of accommodation.
  5. Many tens of thousands of visitors every year
    1. Belgium
    2. Netherlands
  6. Various local attractions have made
  7. Large numbers of day-tripperswho take advantage of its:
    1. Sports facilities.
    2. Cafés
    3. Souvenir shops
    4. Restaurants
  8. The fairytale atmosphere

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 Electrolux plant had closure a couple of years ago has resulted in a loss of jobs.

By making land available for development , the commune is now planning to encourage the establishment of skilled in the area of craft industries.

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