Luxembourg began to have a noticeable impact on the political fortunes
of Europe beginning in the 15th century. As a result of various
occupations by Spain and France, the capital city was fortified. After
the French gained control in 1684, Sebastian Vauban made Lutzeburg,
"the little fortress," one of the strongest fortification in Europe.
Luxembourg was restored to Spain, and again occupied by
French troop. Then the Austrians gained possession through the Treaty
of Utrecht in 1713. They held it and strengthened the fortifications
until 1795 when the French captured the fortress.
In 1815 Luxembourg became an independent state under
the sovereignty of the Netherlands, and later a part of the
confederation of German states. In 1866 France declared the intention
of annexing the duchy by force of arms. Diplomatic overtures were made
and the Treaty of London was adopted, declaring Luxembourg a neutral
territory, and requiring its fortress to be dismantled. This was
accomplished by 1872.
Around 1850 a detailed plan of the old fortress was
drawn by Theodore de Cederstolpe, a Prussian military engineer. This
plan is reproduced on the stamp commemorating the Treaty of London.