Treaty of London (1867)

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Signatures on the Treaty of London.

The Treaty of London (French: Traité de Londres), often called the Second Treaty of London after the 1839 Treaty, was an international treaty signed on 11 May 1867. Agreed in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War and the Luxembourg Crisis, it had wide-reaching consequences for Luxembourg and for relations between Europe's Great Powers.


The immediate effect of the treaty, established in Article I, was the reaffirmation of the personal union between the Netherlands and Luxembourg under the House of Orange-Nassau.[1] The Luxembourg Crisis had erupted after French Emperor Napoleon III attempted to buy Luxembourg from the Dutch King William III. Consequently, maintaining Dutch ownership of Luxembourg, free from French interference, was of paramount importance to Prussia.

The neutrality of Luxembourg, established by the First Treaty of London, was also reaffirmed. Those parties that did not sign the earlier treaty were to become guarantors of Luxembourg's neutrality (an exception was Belgium, which was, itself, bound to neutrality).[2]

To ensure Luxembourg's neutrality, the fortifications of Luxembourg City, known as the 'Gibraltar of the North' , were to be demolished and never to be rebuilt.[3] Dismantling the fortifications took sixteen years, cost 1.5 million gold francs, and required the destruction of over 24 km (15 mi) of underground defences and 40,000 m² (10 acres) of casemates, batteries, barracks, etc.[4] Furthermore, the Prussian garrison, which had been sited in Luxembourg since the 1815 Congress of Vienna, was to be withdrawn.[5]

The Seven Weeks' War had led to the collapse of the German Confederation. Two former members, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Duchy of Limburg, were possessions of the Dutch king. To clarify the position in the wake of the death of the Confederation further, the Treaty of London affirmed the end of the Confederation and stated that Luxembourg and Limburg were henceforth to be considered 'integral parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands'.[6] Luxembourg would rejoin the newly re-established German customs union, the Zollverein, in which it would remain until 1 January 1919.


The treaty was signed by representatives of all of the Great Powers of Europe:

Italy was originally not invited, but King Victor Emmanuel II persuaded the other kings and emperors to invite his representative. Italy had little relation to Luxembourg, and the treaty did not directly affect Italy in any appreciable manner. However, it marked the first occasion on which Italy was invited to partake in an international conference on the basis of being a Great Power, and, therefore, was of symbolic value to the fledgling Italian kingdom.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Treaty of London, Article I
  2. ^ Treaty of London, Article II
  3. ^ Treaty of London, Article V
  4. ^ World Heritage List - Luxembourg. UNESCO, 1 October 1993. Retrieved on 2 July 2006.
  5. ^ Treaty of London, Article IV
  6. ^ Treaty of London, Article VI