Lying at the heart of Western Europe between Belgium, France and Germany, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg has been an independent State ever since the Treaty of London of 19 April 1839. The origins of Luxembourg stretch back to AD 963 when Count Sigfried founded the castle of Lutzilinburhurch. The House of Luxembourg was most prominent on the European scene during the 14th and 15th centuries, when four Counts of the House of Luxembourg became Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and Kings of Bohemia. The House of Luxembourg subsequently went into decline and was successively occupied by Burgundy, Spain, Austria and finally by revolutionary France. In 1815 the Vienna Treaty decided that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg would come under the Netherlands ruling house of Orange-Nassau. In 1839 the Walloon-speaking area was joined to Belgium. The union with the Netherlands ended in 1890. In both world wars (1914–18 and 1939–45) Luxembourg, a neutral country, was invaded and occupied by German forces. In June 1942 Luxembourg became the only Nazi-occupied country to stage a general strike against the occupation. In 1948 a Benelux customs union formed by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg allowed for standardization of prices, taxes and wages and the free movement of labour among the three countries.
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