The location of the castle was of strategic importance, overseeing trade routes between Western and Eastern Europe. It quickly grew into a major fortress soon to be called the ‘Gibraltar of the North’. Territories surrounding it were gradually assimilated, turning the country into an independent Duchy by the 14th century.
Luxembourg changed hands several times over the centuries, with European powers (Burgundy, Spain, Austria, France, Prussia) fighting for control of its fortress. Wedged between the German Empire and the French Kingdom, and thanks to its massive fortress, the Duchy of Luxembourg was virtually assured of never being annexed by either. Instead, it remained a pawn in the strategic game being played out between Europe’s major powers until 1867, when the fortress was razed following a near war between the German and French Empires.