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Visiting the huge flag of Luxembourg, Boulevard F.D.Roosevelt, Luxembourg City: Grand Duke and nation united in symbol

Updated on January 7, 2014
Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
View of flags from Metz Square, Luxembourg City
View of flags from Metz Square, Luxembourg City | Source
Topography of Luxembourg
Topography of Luxembourg | Source
A view of Luxembourg City
A view of Luxembourg City | Source

Meaningful and colourful stripes, meaningful and deeply rooted history

You can't miss this enormous flag, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Boulevard Franklin-Delano-Roosevelt (1), in Luxembourg City, the Grand Duchy's historic and picturesque capital. With its base in well manicured garden terraces overlooking the scenic Pétrusse (Létzebuergesch: Péitruss; German: Petruss), this huge vexillological statement adds both colour and symbolism to the heart of the City.

At first glance, the flag of Luxembourg might seem identical to that of The Netherlands: horizontal stripes of red, white and blue (2).

However, in actual fact, both in detail and historically they are rather different, despite their superficial similarity. The Luxembourg flag is more elongated, and its shade of blue is lighter. The precise form of the current national flag of Luxembourg was officially confirmed in 1972.

While for much of the 19th century the King of The Netherlands held Luxembourg in personal union as its Grand Duke, the application of the former Salic Law in 1890 meant that the dynasties were separated, with the advent of Grand Duke Adolphe I.

This flag, then, is the national flag of Luxembourg. But its colours are derived from the ancient arms of the Dukes of Luxembourg: a red lion rampant on a background of blue and white.

So one can say that the colours of the enormous flag which floats high above Boulevard Franklin-Delano-Roosevelt overlooking the Pétrusse Valley within Luxembourg City have close links with both the Grand Duke and the nation. In short, there is a real element of symbolism by which Grand Duke and nation are united.

I have included some photos of this huge flag and its flagpole. The main photo (right, above) is taken from across the Pétrusse Valley at the place de Metz. Both the first and the second photos demonstrate how its flagpole dwarfs a row of several other flags; the second photo also shows the surrounding gardens, and the bridge known as the Pont Adolphe beyond. In the third photo, the spires of Luxembourg's Cathedral may be seen in the background.

November 19, 2013


(1) The naming of this promenent street in the Grand Duchy's capital city is particularly derived from the the fact that it was with President Roosevelt as Commander-in-Chief that the territory and profoundly grateful people of Luxembourg were liberated mainly by the US Army in 1944/45, including during the Battle of the Bulge. During this historic and costly Battle, US forces suffered heavy casualties. (Interestingly, at the end of World War Two, US General Omar Bradley had his headquarters at the place de Metz, from which the main photo - above, right - has been taken.) President Franklin D. Roosevelt had also previously received exiled Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg in Washington, DC. This period marked the end of Luxembourg's policy of neutralism, which began in 1867; to this day, Luxembourg, a founder member of NATO, maintains close military links with the US.

(2) The Dutch flag's colours were derived from those of William of Orange (William the Silent) in the 16th century, and originally had an orange rather than a red horizontal stripe. On closer study, one soon understands, therefore, that the flags of The Netherlands and Luxembourg are actually quite distinct historically. Without doubt, however, officials in the capitals of member countries of the European Union, to which both The Netherlands and Luxembourg belong, must exercise care in the course of flag flying ceremonies during visits by these countries' respective leaders!

Map of Luxembourg
Map of Luxembourg | Source

Also worth seeing

In Luxembourg City itself, its numerous visitor attractions include: the Cathedral; the birthplace of Robert Schuman at rue Jules-Wilhelm ; the Pont Adolphe over the picturesque Pétrusse Valley; the Grand Ducal Palace; the Chamber of Deputies building; Place Guillaume II ; the Gelle Fra monument; the Saint-Quirin chapel; the monumental railroad station; the former ARBED building; the towered, former State Savings Bank building at the place de Metz; and many others.


How to get there: From Luxembourg Airport (Aéroport de Luxembourg), at Findel, car rental is available. For North American travellers who make the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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