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This allowed Germany the military advantage of controlling and expanding the railways there.In August 1914, Imperial Germany violated Luxembourg's neutrality in the war by invading it in the war against France.This allowed Germany to use the railway lines, while at the same time denying them to France.Nevertheless, despite the German occupation, Luxembourg was allowed to maintain much of its independence and political mechanisms.The duchy eventually became part of the Burgundian Circle and then one of the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands.

Although he was supposed to rule the grand duchy as an independent country with an administration of its own, in reality he treated it similarly to a Dutch province.

The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining a personal union between the two countries until 1890.

At the death of William III, the throne of the Netherlands passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (then restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.

While Prussian troops still manned the fortress, in 1861, the Passerelle was opened, the first road bridge spanning the Pétrusse river valley, connecting the Ville Haute and the main fortification on the Bock with Luxembourg railway station, opened in 1859, on the then fortified Bourbon plateau to the south.

After the Luxembourg Crisis of 1866 nearly led to war between Prussia and France, the Grand Duchy's independence and neutrality were again affirmed by the 1867 Second Treaty of London, Prussia's troops were withdrawn from the Fortress of Luxembourg, and its Bock and surrounding fortifications were dismantled.

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In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union (Zollverein).

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