A castle became a university
The Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education occupies a picturesque site that is rich in history: Walferdange Castle. And it’s been an eventful history, marked by changing destinies.
This leafy location was originally occupied by the stud farm that the King and Grand Duke William I built between 1824 and 1828 in order to breed his horses. He never set foot in Luxembourg and was highly unpopular. After the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and William I’s abdication, the buildings remained empty. When his son William II came to Luxembourg in 1841, he proposed to turn it into a royal residence for his visits to the Grand Duchy. He stayed here on several occasions.
But the Castle is above all associated with the name of his successor’s second-in-command and younger brother, Prince Henry and his wife Amalia of Saxe-Weimar. The royal couple came to live here in 1853 and were much loved by the people of Luxembourg. The buildings were extended, the inside luxuriously refurbished and the gardens enlarged. Good Prince Henry was very generous to the commune of Walferdange; for instance he had gifts distributed to children in the area each Christmas. It’s even said that it was on such an occasion that he caught the measles that killed him in 1879.
The building remained empty after Henry’s death. The commune used it to house a fire pump and a small post office. In 1891, the Grand-Duke Adolphe reclaimed the castle as his summer residence and totally refurbished it. A huge park was laid out with greenhouses; the orangery was reconverted into accommodation
The Castle was used for various different purposes in the 20th century: it was a teacher training college, an army barracks and an educational institute before becoming the University. But there are constant reminders of its past as a royal residence, such as the restored fountain in the main courtyard and the name given to the cultural centre (Prince Henry) and some local clubs such as the famous Résidence Walfer basketball club.