Saturday, February 28, 2015

Grand Duke Meets New and Old Ambassadors

Photo: Republic of Togo
On Wednesday, Grand Duke Henri received outgoing U.S. ambassador Robert A. Mandell for a farewell audience. Mandell has served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg for the past three and a half years and will now return home. In addition, new ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Mauritania, Togo (Kokou Nayo Mbeou, above together with Grand Duke Henri), Slovakia and Zimbabwe presented their letters of credence to the Grand Duke on Wednesday as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Grand Duke to Visit Cabo Verde

Grand Duke Henri will make a three-day official visit to the Republic of Cabo Verde between March 10 and 12. He will not be accompanied by the Grand Duchess on this visit. The delegation will also consist of Romain Schneider in his function as Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action and Francine Closener, Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Economy. The trio will visit the islands of Santiago, Santo Antão and São Vicente. Around 7,000 people from Cabo Verde, an island country of the Western coast of Africa, live in the Grand Duchy.

Blog Selected by Luxemburger Wort

Photo: Screenshot Wort.lu
You might have noticed that something about the blog has changed during the past few days. No, we neither added a new royal family to cover nor did we invent a new feature or gave the blog a visual make-over. Instead, we added a badge of the right hand side: Blog selected by Luxemburger Wort the Grand Duchy's biggest newspaper. 

As the badge says, Luxarazzi is one of a number of blogs selected by the English-language version of Luxemburger Wort's online version, Wort.lu, to be featured in a special section on their website, the Blogosphere. The aim of the new Wort.lu section is to group "the most useful or entertaining blogs about Luxembourg in one place". Naturally, we are thrilled to be included in this group. So, head over to Wort and check out the other featured blogs.

Luxarazzi 101: Queen Fabiola's Circle Earrings

84 days ago today, Queen Fabiola of Belgium passed away. Today, we are going to remember her in a way I'm not quite sure she would have liked to be remembered by, some of her jewels: A pair of three circle earrings adorned by a multitude of coloured and non-coloured stones, namely diamonds, rubies and emeralds. These earrings, which don't seem to be old heirloom pieces, are today owned by Princess Margaretha, Queen Fabiola's niece. 

Princess Margaretha first publicly wore her aunt's circle earrings for the traditional mass for deceased members of the Belgian royal family in February of last year, even before Queen Fabiola's death. After Belgium's former Queen passed away on December 5th, there was much speculation as to what would happen to her jewels. Especially as it had been announced that all her private possessions would go to the Hulpfonds van de Koningin, a charity she set up at the time of her wedding in 1960. However, considering that Princess Margaretha owns some of her aunts jewels and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians does as well, I like to think that Queen Fabiola simply gifted her jewels to her nieces and nieces-in-law during the last years of her life. I guess that time will only tell though.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Receives the Swiss President

Source: Cour grand-ducale
Today, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Simonetta Sommaruga, the President of the Swiss Confederation. She assumed office on January 1st of 2015, after serving as Vice President of the Swiss Confederation for the previous year.

Liechtenstein Royals at Vernon Smith Prize

Photo: Nils Vollmar / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
Prince Hans-Adam II, his brother Prince Philipp and their cousin Prince Michael all attended the the 7th International Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics in Liechtenstein this week. The event is organised by the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation (ECAEF). Both Prince Philipp and Prince Michael are members of the board of directors of the ECAEF and Prince Hans-Adam has also been long involved with the foundation and so he was the one who actually handed out the award.

The topic of this year's essay competition was "Trusting Politicians with Our Money is like Leaving a Cat in Charge of a Cream Jug". The first prize went to David J. Hebert from the United States of America ahead of Daniel Sanchez Pinol Yulee from Spain and Andreas Kohl Martinez from France. 

A video including interviews with Prince Philipp and Prince Michael can be found at 1 FL TV.

Grand Duke Henri Receives a Delegation from Bremen

Source: Cour grand-ducale
On Wednesday, Grand Duke Henri received in audience a 20-member delegation from Bremen, headed by Jens Böhrnsen who holds the titles of President of the Senate and Mayor of Bremen. The delegation is in Luxembourg for two days to strengthen economic ties between Bremen and Luxembourg and exchange ideas about current scientific research. In particular, the two share interest in materials research and options for renewable energy.

The delegation will also expected to meet with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who is also the Minister of the Economy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prince Philipp Gives Out LGT Media Award

Source: OTS / L-R: Prince Philipp, Nikolaus Jilch, Eva Steindorfer, Markus Schauta
(standing in for Jakob Arnim-Ellissen), and Meinhard Platzer
On Tuesday, Prince Philipp was in Vienna to give out the LGT Media Award at the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein. This award, which recognizes outstanding economic reporting, selected from articles published between January 1, 2014, and November 14, 2014.

The main award went to Eva Steindorfer of Die Presse for her report "Gründer gehen dorthin, wo das Geld ist" from October 5th of 2014. This article featured start-ups in Austria and highlighted the winner of Startup Fonds Speedinvest II.

Honorable mentions, in the form of recognition awards, also went to Jakob Arnim-Ellissen of Format and Nikolaus Jilch of Die Presse. Jakob Arnim-Ellissen's article "Bürokratie in Rot-Weiß-Rot", dated August 14th of 2014, focused on the challenges that skilled workers face in leaping over bureaucratic hurdles. Nikolaus Jilch received his second recognition award for the article "Die Teuerung kommt früher oder später", which used the lessons from the dot-com breakdown, as well as other historical economic events, to suggest that inflation should be a growing concern.

Prince Philipp, who is the chairmain of the LGT Group, was joined by Meinhard Platzer, the CEO of LGT Bank Austria, to present the awards. The winners of the LGT Media Award and the recognition awards were determined by a five-member panel that reviewed the different submissions.

Photo and more information from OTS.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hereditary Princess Sophie and the Day of the Book

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt / Volksblatt.li
Yesterday, the Principality celebrated its day of the book and on the occasion Hereditary Princess Sophie attended an event honouring Liechtenstein's most beautiful books of the last year. The event took place at the auditorium of the University of Liechtenstein. Pictures of it can be found at Volksblatt and Vaterland. 1 FL TV has a video.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Castle Church and Ducal Crypt in Weilburg

Photos: Luxarazzi
The Baroque castle church, or Schlosskirche, in Weilburg dates back to the the year 1707 when it was commissioned by Count Ernst-Johann of Nassau-Weilburg as part of numerous changes to both town and castle. The church was built according to plans of Julius Ludwig Rothweil and finished in 1712. The Protestant church was consecrated in August 1713 even though the first baptism had already taken place there several months earlier.

Beneath the altar of the church lies the crypt that holds members of the Nassau family. A crypt holding royal ancestors is hardly a novelty, but this particular crypt plays a unique role for the House of Nassau. Appreciating the role that the crypt has played for the family of Nassau requires first understanding how the town of Weilburg developed. Weilburg today, with 14,000 residents, is the third largest city in Limburg-Weilburg Kreis (or district) in the State of Hesse. Weilburg has been heavily influenced by the Nassau family. The town underwent extensive renovations under Count Johann Ernst of Nassau-Weilburg (1664-1719), who added various new buildings, created a park area, and expanded the medieval castle that already sat in the town.

Today Weilburg is considered one of the best preserved towns dating from Germany’s era of Baroque urban planning, though it's castle is actually built in Renaissaince-style. It has the luxury of being little touched during the wars and still maintains an aura of another time.

In 1806, Weilburg became the seat of power for the Dukes of Nassau, who had just assigned themselves this title from the traditional title of Counts of Nassau. (This new seat of power did not remain in Weilburg long. By 1816, Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau, moved the seat of power to Biebrich.) By 1866, the power of the Nassau family was on the decline, when Prussia annexed the entire Duchy after the Austro-Prussian War. The crypt within the castle church of Weilburg, however, remained in the legal control of the Nassau-Weilburg family and in the possession of their descendants even as they transferred to other political domains. Today, those who step inside the crypt step – however briefly – out of Germany and into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as the crypt in considered Luxembourgish exterritorial area.

In fact, the entrance to the crypt, when opened, is draped with the colors of the House of Nassau (blue and orange) and flanked by an honor guard usually formed by the Bürgergarde Weilburg. Before the entrance there is a stone slab inset into the ground and engraved with the following Latin inscription:

HOC SUB ALTARE
RESSURRECTIONEM EXSPESTANT 
NOBILISSIMI 
POTENTISSIMI AC ILLUSTRISSIMI 
DOMINI ATQE DOMINAE 
EX ANTIQUA STIRPE NASSOVICA 
COMITES AC PRINCIPES NASSOVIAE-WILINIBURGENSIS 
DUCES NASSOVIAE MAGNI-DUCES LUCEMBURGENSIS 
R.I.P.

Beneath this altar await resurrection, the most noble, the most powerful and most illustrious masters and mistresses of the ancient line of Nassau, Counts and Princes of Nassau-Weilburg, Dukes of Nassau, Grand Dukes of Luxembourg. Rest in peace.

Already prior to the construction of today's church, there had been a castle church and family crypt in Weilburg. When the previous church was deconstructed in 1707, the remains of 17 members of the Nassau family were moved to a location near the church entrance from the castle garden. For a long time, they seem to have been lost to memory, particularly after the Prussian annexation, but were rediscovered during reconstruction work on the church in 1909. The remains were then moved to the new crypt below the altar of the castle church which occupies a space of 12 meters long (39 feet long) and 7.5 meters wide (24.5 feet wide) with six cross vaults, each supported by two sturdy pillars, spanning the ceiling.

Flowers from Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, laid
on the grave of Grand Duke Wilhelm.
After being originally buried at Schloss Hohenburg near Lenggries in Bavaria, the remains of Grand Duke Adolph of Luxembourg, who was also the last reigning Duke of Nassau, were transferred to the crypt of the castle church in Weilburg in 1953. Already two years earlier, the same had happened to the remains of his son and successor, Grand Duke Wilhelm IV. All in all, there are around thirty (Protestant) members of the Nassau family, including aforementioned Count Johann Ernst and his wife, who are buried at the family's crypt in Weilburg. Their Catholic relatives starting with Wilhelm's wife, Grand Duchess Maria-Ana, are buried at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg.