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FeaturesLuxembourg

Betzdorf Castle: Birthplace of Grand Duke Henri


© Grand Ducal Court / Sophie Margue

Betzdorf Castle is located in eastern Luxembourg, in the commune of Betzdorf. Built between 1911-19 by an engineer named René Müller Laval, the costs of the property forced Müller Laval to rent it out but the Great Depression struck and the home sat empty. After his death, his brother opened the house up to the Red Cross as a vacation home and retreat centre. The Nazis took over the castle during World War II, turning it into a housekeeping school. This allowed the property to make it through the war unscathed.

After the war, the Luxembourg government took control of the house. It became a reformatory for prostitutes. The property was slated to become a women’s prison when the then-Hereditary Grand Duke Jean became engaged to Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. They needed a home and Betzdorf Castle was one of the few royal properties that was not undergoing renovations because of the war.

All of Hereditary Grand Duke Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte’s children were born at Betzdorf Castle, including Grand Duke Henri, the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who arrived on April 16, 1955. His siblings include older sister, Princess Marie-Astrid, younger sister Princess Margaretha and younger brothers Prince Jean and Prince Guillaume. In 1964, when Jean ascended the throne, becoming Grand Duke Jean, the family left Betzdorf for the Grand Ducal Palace.

When the Grand Duke’s family left, Betzdorf became a nursing home. After almost 20 years of being a nursing home, the property sat empty once again. Four years later in 1986, the Luxembourg government sold Betzdorf to SES. SES is the world’s largest satellite operator and today Betzdorf Castle is SES headquarters. Since the castle’s location is remote enough, SES built its satellite ground station on the property.