For centuries, Luxembourg City was Europe’s most impregnable fortress – discover its remains and relive the conflicts that marked its history.
Military heritage in Luxembourg
Do you like exploring bunkers, familiarising yourself with defence strategies and reliving the conflicts that have taken place down the centuries? Military operations and occupying armies can leave an indelible mark on geography and the natural environment, sometimes even leading to the foundation and growth of whole cities. The legacy they leave is often a large number of structures that have lasted down the centuries.
Luxembourg City has more than its share of these structures. Just take a quick stroll around the city and you can’t miss them: ramparts, underground galleries and other fortifications characteristic of 17th-century master military engineer Vauban are a reminder that the city was once a stronghold. There are various walking tours and cycle paths enabling you to visit these remnants of the city’s military past, which also offer unusual but unobstructed views out over Luxembourg City.
Clear traces have been left in the country by other major international events, not least the two world wars. These days, there are numerous tributes to and reminders of those conflicts, enabling visitors to look back and gain an understanding of how the people of Luxembourg experienced them. One way of doing this would be to put yourself in the shoes of a Luxembourg resistance fighter, by walking the Smugglers’ Trail in Troisvierges or the Bunker hike in Schlindermanderscheid. If that whets your appetite for more detail about the struggle against Nazi occupation, try visiting the National Resistance Museum in Esch-sur-Alzette.
The National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, the Battle of the Bulge Museum in Wiltz and the Museum of the Ardennes Counteroffensive in Clervaux all focus on the fighting in the Ardennes during the Second World War. Right next to Luxembourg City are the military cemeteries in Hamm and Sandweiler, which bear witness to the presence of foreign troops during the War and serve as a place of remembrance of the soldiers who fell on Luxembourg soil, many of them in the Ardennes.