Monday, March 30, 2015

Strengthening Relations Between Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Today, Hereditary Prince Alois received Alain Berset, a member of the Swiss Federal Council and the Interior Minister. Also in attendance to receive Berset were Prime Minister Adrian Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurelia Frick, and Minister of Social Affairs Mauro Pedrazzini.

Federal Councillor Berset was also in Liechtenstein to speak at the multi-country Unternehmertag event that is also being held in Voralberg (Austria) and the Rhine Valley region of Switzerland. Before his speaking engagement, he visited the government building with Prime Minister Hasler and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aurelia Frick to explore cooperative efforts in music education between Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Specifically, the two countries will be focusing on bringing music education into youth programs.

Additionally, Federal Councillor Berset met with Mauro Pedrazzini for a working lunch, during which they discussed, among other things, the upcoming art exhibit Lohnmobil. Federal Councillor Berset will open the exhibit in St. Gallen, and it will be on view in Liechtenstein during August.

No photos of Hereditary Prince Alois, but a photo of Alain Berset and Aurelia Frick, as well as more about the federal councillor's visit, here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: The Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

The Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was created by Grand-Ducal decree on 23rd January 1961, which marked the 65th birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte after five to ten years of discussion. It is the youngest of the Grand Duchy's orders. After the end of the second World War the Cour Grand Ducal as well as the Luxemburgish government saw the need to create an order to reward professional achievements or meritious services in other sectors. Before the Order of the Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was created the Order of the Oak Crown was normally awarded for these kind of things, but between 1945 and the early 1960s it was awarded quite too often and the officials thought that the value of the order was risked.

There are five grades of the order: Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight. In addition to the grades a silver-gilt medal is also annexed to the order. While the reigning Grand Duke or Grand Duchess is the Grand Master of this order, the Prime Minister serves as its chancellor.

The badge of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg consists of a cross with four white-enamelled armes with blue edges.

observe
reverse
On the obverse, the central medallion bears the lion of the Grand Duchy. The lion is crowned, open-clawed and langued gold. It is surrounded by a laurel crown on a blue-enamelled Background.

The reverse shows two golden, interlaced and gilded "C" for Charlotte and the grand-ducal crown on a red background. It is surrounded by a blue-enamelled border.

The plaque is a silver-gilt star with twelve rays. The badge of the order is in its centre. The ribbon is red with white and blue edges. The ribbon wideness varies between 105 mm for the Grand Cross to 37 mm for the other four classes. The medal is in silver-gilt and consists of a four-armed cross angled by five rays.

The Order of Merit is awarded on National Day to deputies, state councillors, civil servants, elected representatives and personnel of municipal administrations, key players of the economic, social, cultural or sport sectors as well as volunteers. It can also be awarded to foreigners, though the foreign government has to approve. The silver-gilt medal is awarded to centenarians and acts of rescue. It is awarded by the Grand Duke with the countersignature of the Minister of State, who also nominates people for the order. It is considered to be the lowest of the Grand Duchy's orders, the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau being the highest.

When a member of the order dies or is raised into a higher class, the insignia have to be restored to the state.  

Prince Louis and Prince Gabriel Out and About

Yesterday afternoon, Prince Louis and his older son, Prince Gabriel, attended the general assembly of the Fédération Aéronautique Luxembourgeoise. The event took place at the Centre Culturel in Beckerich. Prince Louis has been the patron of the Luxembourgish aeronautic federation since 2011. Even in non-royal patronage life, the Grand Duke's third son is very interested in the matter: While living in the United States a few years ago, Prince Louis took courses in Aeronautics and Aeronautical Management and gained a "Private pilot certificate".

No pictures are available yet but will be added if they do.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hereditary Princess Sophie and "the Average Trap"

Austrian geneticist Markus Hengstschläger was in Liechtenstein last night where he gave a lecture at the education forum in Triesen. Among the guests for the talk entitled "The average trap: Do we set false priorities?" was no other than Hereditary Princess Sophie. More on the lecture at Volksblatt.

Grand Ducal Couple Visits L'Amicale des Amis

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
A week ago, on Friday March 20 to be precise, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited the fleeting exhibition L'Amicale des Amis. During their visit, the Grand Ducal Couple met with some creators of pavilions, designers and representatives of the Luxembourg Center for Architecture (LUCA). Together with the artists, they had an informal lunch exchanged ideas, stories and perspectives related to architecture and design of the Grand Duchy.

A few more pictures on the websites of the cour and LUCA.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie at the European Investment Bank

Source: European Investment Bank (EIB)
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Kirchberg for a working visit to the European Investment Bank. The President of the Bank, Werner Hoyer, was there to welcome them for their visit.

This banking-focused event comes on the heels of the hereditary grand ducal couple's recent visit to the Middle East to establish stronger financial ties between Luxembourg and countries in that region. The focus of the visit to the EIB was primarily about the bank's role in furthering the Investment Plan for Europe.

No photos have shown up yet, but they'll be added here if they do.

Photos now available on the EIB website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Sends Letters of Condolence

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri sent two letters of condolence, one to the President of Germany and the other to the King of Spain. Both letters expressed sadness for the tragic airplane accident that occurred in the French Alps.

The text of both letters reads as follows:

C’est avec une très grande émotion que la Grande-Duchesse et moi-même avons appris la nouvelle du terrible accident d’avion survenu aujourd’hui à Barcelonnette dans les Alpes françaises.

Au nom du peuple luxembourgeois, nous Vous exprimons nos plus sincères condoléances. Nos pensées et nos sentiments de compassion les plus émus vont aux familles et aux proches touchés parce drame.

Henri
Grand-Duc de Luxembourg

In translation:

It is with great emotion that the Grand Duchess and I have learned about the terrible airplane accident that occurred today in Barcelonnette in the French Alps.

On behalf of the people of Luxembourg, we express our deepest condolences. Our thoughts and our greatest feelings of compassion are with the families and friends of those affected by this dramatic event.


Henri Receives the Korean Ambassador for a Farewell Audience

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri received Chang-beom Kim, the Ambassador for the Republic of Korea, at the Palais Grand Ducal for a farewell audience. Chang-beom Kim has held the position of Head of Mission of the Republic of Korea to the European Union since 2012. His greetings and comments on his role can be read here.

No photos at this time. Should any be made available, they'll be added.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Painting of Archduke Alexander and Prince Wenceslas Unveiled by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Photos: Corporal Steve Blake RLC
On March 17, St Patrick's Day that is, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand for the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot during which the Duchess the traditional sprigs of shamrock to the Officers and Guardsmen on parade. Together with her husband also known as Prince William she also unveiled a painting of some thirty Irish Guards officers by Lindy Allfrey.

Among those on the painting reportedly also are two fellow royals, Archduke Alexander of Austria and Prince Wenceslas of Nassau. You might recall that the sons of Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Jean of Luxembourg respectively both attended and had their passing out from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst three years ago. While I'm fairly certain that Archduke Alexander is the sixth from the right standing, I have a bit of a Where's Waldo moment when it comes to Prince Wenceslas... (Is he the fourth from the left standing? Or the fifth, in the matching, possibly Luxembourgish uniform to Alexander?) What I can tell you for certain is that as per the artist Prince Wenceslas actually travelled from Africa for his sitting. (Thanks heavens it wasn't the other way around...)
Where's Wenceslas?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Prince Max Presents Annual Balance

Photo: Keystone
During a media briefing today, the LGT Group, the Princely Family's bank, announced that net profits rose more than 18 percent last year as the bank attracted fresh funds and acquired a large portfolio of accounts from HSBC's private bank. During the meeting, Prince Max stated that he believes that "some, and I count Liechtenstein among them, will have gone from A to B in a relatively smooth sensible way, understanding pretty early on in the process what the trends are and positioning themselves accordingly, and others will struggle much harder" when asked about Liechtenstein positioning itself as a financial centre for clean money during the past few years.

Pictures of the press meeting in Zurich at Volksblatt and Vaterland.