Luxemburg and Limburg


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Luxemburg and Limburg is Number 27 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The first part of the study covers the political history of and social and political conditions in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, an independent European state whose origins go back to the 13th century. In 1814, at the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars, Luxembourg was created a grand duchy under the sovereignty of the House of Orange-Nassau (the ruling house of the Netherlands) and also made a part of the German Confederation. At the Conference of London in May 1867, Luxembourg’s connection with the German Confederation was dissolved and it became a neutral state under the collective guarantee of the Great Powers. In August 1914, at the start of World War I, the German army violated Luxembourg’s neutrality and occupied the grand duchy. The second and much briefer part of the study deals with the province of Limburg, a sliver of land, bordered on the west by the Meuse River and the east by Prussia, which was acquired by the Netherlands from Belgium in the 1830s. The appendix contains extracts from 18 separate treaties and agreements signed between 1783 and 1883 relating to the territorial and political status of Luxembourg and Limburg.

Last updated: November 14, 2017