The Gëlle Fra is situated in Constitution Square, in the Ville Haute quarter of central Luxembourg City.
The centrepiece of the monument is a 21 metre-tall granite obelisk. Atop of the obelisk stands a gilded bronze statue of a lady, holding out a laurel wreath as if placing it upon the head of the nation. At the foot of the obelisk are two (ungilded) bronze figures, representing those Luxembourgish soldiers that volunteered to serve for France; one lies at the base of the statue, having died in service of his country, whilst the other sits, mourning his dead compatriot.
The sculptor of the three bronze figures was Claus Cito, a native Luxembourger. The model for the Gëlle Fra is unknown.
First World War
During the First World War, Luxembourg pledged itself to neutrality, but was occupied by Germany, which justified its actions by citing military necessity. However, most Luxembourgers did not believe Germany's good intentions, fearing that Germany would annex their country in the event of a German victory; these claims were substantiated by Bethmann Hollweg's Septemberprogramm.
Although Luxembourgers left under German occupation at home could do little to aid the Allies, those overseas, outside Germany's control, could volunteer to serve against Germany. In total, 3,200 Luxembourgian nationals served in the French army, of whom, 2,800 died. As Luxembourg's pre-war population was only 266,000, this death toll amounted to more than 1% of the entire national population, which is a relatively greater percentage for many combatant nations (see: World War I casualties).
The statue of the gilded lady will be exhibited at the entrance of the Luxembourg pavillion of the Expo 2010 wold exhibition in Shanghai.
ReferencesThis article incorporates information from the revision as of 28 July 2006 of on the .
- (French)/(German) German occupation of Luxembourg. GWPDA, 21 May 1998. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.