Infobox Luxembourg commune
name = Vianden
luxname = Veianen

arms = Coat of arms vianden luxbrg.png LAU2 = 04003
canton = Vianden
district = Diekirch
Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Grafschaft Vianden"
conventional_long_name = County of Vianden
common_name = Vianden|
continent = Europe
region = Low Countries
country = Luxembourg
era = Middle Ages
status = Vassal
empire = Holy Roman Empire
government_type = Principality|
year_start = 11th century
year_end = 1414|
event_start =
date_start =
event_end = Passed to Sponheim
date_end = |
p1 =
image_p1 =
s1 = Sponheim
image_s1 = |

capital = Vianden
title_leader = Count
leader1 = "See list"|
footnotes =
Vianden ( _lb. Veianen) is a commune with city status in the Oesling, north-eastern Luxembourg, with over 1,500 inhabitants. It is the capital of the canton of Vianden, which is part of the district of Diekirch. Vianden lies on the Our river, near the border between Luxembourg and Germany.

As of 2001, the town of Vianden, which lies in the east of the commune, has a population of 1,511. It is known for its impressive castle and beautiful location in the Our valley.


The origins of Vianden date back to the Gallo-Roman era when there was a castellum on the site of the present castle. The original name of Vianden was Viennensis or Vienna, probably derived from the Celtic "vien", rock. The first historical reference to Vianden was in 698 when there is a record of a gift in the form of a vineyard "in Monte Viennense" made by Saint Irmina to the Abbey of Echternach [Jean Milmeister quoting Edmond de la Fontaine in "Vianden, Cité médiévale", ISBN 3-88957-036-4] . Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by Philip II, count of Vianden, from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang, and who was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange [ [ Genealogy of the House Orange-Nassau] ; retrieved 12 January 2007] .

In the Middle Ages, Vianden's craftsmen were recognised for their skills as tanners, drapers, weavers, barrelmakers, masons, locksmiths and goldsmiths. In 1490, they created guilds for their various trades. Over the years leathermaking became the major industry with the establishment of two tanneries at the end of the 19th century which finally closed in the mid 1950s.

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. Not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jean ceded 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. A memorial to the west of the town, overlooking the castle, commemorates this final battle.

Historic monuments

In addition to the castle, Vianden has a number of interesting historic monuments.
* The "Hockelstur" or belltower (1603) on a rock close to the castle was originally part of the fortifications.
* The ramparts which have been partly restored.
* The Church of the Trinitarians (1248) built in the Gothic style with two parallel naves and the adjacent cloister. It was built by Count Henry I in thanks to the Trinitarians who arranged for the release of his father, Count Frederic II, who had been captured during a crusade.
* The Cross of Justice close to the Church of the Trinitarians recalling the chartering of Vianden by Philip II in 1308.
* The towered "castle houses" built for the nobility including the City Hall (1579) and the house where the pharmacy is now situated (1475).
* The Church of St Nicholas (13th century) partly destroyed by fire in 1723 and rebuilt the following year.

Coat of arms

The arms of Vianden (see top right-hand box) have not changed since 1288 when Godefroid I adopted the arms of Louvain-Perwez. The city was granted the right to use the same arms sometime during the 14th century. The arms were registered in the "armorial général de France" in 1696 by order of the King of France [Dr Jean-Claude Loutsch, "Armorial Communal du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg", Luxembourg 1989; pp248 and 249. ISBN 2-87969-000-5.] .

Famous people

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:

* Yolande or Yolanda of Vianden, (1231–83), youngest daughter of Count Henry I, who joined the Convent of Marienthal against the wishes of her parents when she was very young and later became its devout prioress [ [ Iölanda, anonymous poem in English based on the life of the countess.] D'Land Luxembourg. Retrieved 15 January 2007] now a legend in Luxembourg's history.
* Victor Hugo (1802–85), the famous French author, 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.
* Edmond de la Fontaine (1823–91) otherwise known as Dicks, Luxembourg's national poet, who also wrote Vianden's first travel guide.
* René Engelmann (1880–1915), a linguist and novelist, who established the basic grammar of the Luxembourgish dialect, later to become a national language.

Vianden today


Vianden is one of Luxembourg's main tourist centres with large numbers of holidaymakers and local visitors at all times of the year. 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. 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 hilly, historic streets or as a centre for walking, camping or cycling in the north of Luxembourg. There is a pleasant PDFlink| [ cycle route] |971 KB up the Sauer and Our valleys to Vianden and there are many signposted walks in the area.

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

Vianden also has a number of annual [ events and celebrations] . The most famous of these is the nut market in October when the local walnuts are on sale together with walnut cakes, walnut confectionary, walnut brandy and walnut liqueurs. The streets are completely packed with visitors and if you come by car, you should try to arrive before lunch unless you want a five kilometer walk to the town!

Finally, there is an interesting attraction a few kilometers to the north of Vianden, Europe's biggest [ hydro-electric pumping station] which provides storage and generation systems to benefit from the cheaper electric power rates at night.

Local economy

The fairytale atmosphere and various local attractions have made Vianden the jewel of Luxembourg's tourist industry with many tens of thousands of visitors every year, especially from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. With its 14 hotels, four campsites and youth hostel, there is a wide selection of accommodation. In addition, Vianden benefits from the large numbers of day-trippers who take advantage of its restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops and sports facilities. 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 closure of the Electrolux plant a couple of years ago has resulted in a considerable loss of jobs. The commune is now planning to encourage the establishment of skilled craft industries in the area by making land available for development [ [ Artisant et Commerce in Déclaration du collège échevinal pour la période législative 2005-2011, Commune de Vianden] . Retrieved 15 January 2007] .


Vianden is a 47 km drive from Luxembourg city. It can also be reached by bus from Diekirch or Clervaux which have rail connections to Luxembourg city. There are also buses to Bitburg in Germany.Many visitors arrive by bicycle taking the signposted cycle tracks from the south along the Our valley.


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


External links

* [ Vianden tourist information]
* [ Vianden Castle]
* [,6.209335&spn=0.106744,0.275345&om=1 Vianden and surroundings from Google Maps]
* [ Official Vianden Commune site] fr icon


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Look at other dictionaries:

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