Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and his wife Stephanie are on an economic mission to the United States this week. Before they headed for talks in New York City, they visited Belgium, Wisconsin, though called Belgium, it has very close ties with Luxembourg. Every year the town has a Luxembourg Fest, and there is a Grand Duke Henri Plaza and also a statue of the Grand Duke.
The couple were there as patrons of the Luxembourg- American Cultural Centre, in his speech the Duke said he had a feeling of familiarity and Déjà Vu while visiting. He went on to remind the audience of those people from Luxembourg who had fled to America and regions like Wisconsin in the early part of the nineteenth century in search of a better life. He compared it with the current situation in Europe where migrants from a number of places are fleeing war and hardship to seek a better future in Europe.
Both the Grand Duke and his wife are multi-lingual and frequently represent Luxembourg across the World, Grand Duke Guillaume is Honourary
Chairman of the Board of Economic Development of Luxembourg. Earlier this year he led a delegation to Silicon Valley in California, as reported in Royal Central.
The town of Belgium Wisconsin dates back to around the 1840’s and the population is predominately of white European descent, and these people originate from Belgium and Luxembourg. It is a little difficult to differentiate, as following shortly after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo (in 1815) the control of Luxembourg was disputed between Holland and Prussia. In the 1830’s this was further complicated by Belgium fighting for, and gaining independence from Holland and some of the lands of Luxembourg were lost to the new Belgium.
It is easy to see against this backdrop of turmoil, why people would seek a new life elsewhere. Also the historical knowledge of the Hereditary Duke, where some others have perhaps been on less solid historical ground with their recent comments.
Video & Photo credit: Jonah Kaplan WTMJ-TV